Looking around, it’s easy to see the casualties of COVID. At the height of the holiday season, stores and restaurants lack the familiar buzz. Its been that way for months.
Less visible — but no less dramatic — are the economic effects on others.
Like personal trainers.
Before the pandemic, Amy France had a thriving business. A competitive runner growing up in Ridgefield and an elite racer who also spent 15 years as a senior executive assistant for hedge funds, she pivoted in 2008 to a career in fitness.
After certification, she worked as a Saugatuck Rowing Club trainer for 4 years, then moved to the Westport Weston Family YMCA.
Before COVID, she had up to 70 clients. Young female athletes, men and women in their 80s, and everyone in between — all enjoyed personalized sessions.
The Y closed in March. France taught herself Zoom, and trained clients remotely. Some lacked home weights, so she took some from her basement gym, and put them in her mailbox for pickup.
When the Y reopened, only half her clients returned. She trained them in person; others. via Zoom.
The Y follows strict protocols. Everyone entering the building is screened. There are strict limits on numbers; appropriate distance is maintained; masks must always be worn, and training equipment is constantly cleaned.
Adhering to all those protocols — and moving between live and Zoom sessions — is physically and mentally exhausting.
Yet her work is important, France says. Deprived of regular workouts, clients have gained up to 30 pounds. Emotionally, they’re depressed.
As the number of cases continues to rise, physical and mental health are more important than ever, she notes.
“You can’t store up fitness to be called on later. Somehow we have to persevere and maintain fitness, no matter the obstacles.”