Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: Owen

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from Owen. We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in lockdown

Side plank tip: keep your hips high enough for a mid sized dog to rest her chin on your hips…

At 5:30pm on the evening of March 20 – a day before my birthday – I heard that our business was being shut down.

I moved back to Cardiff about five years ago to open The Studio. Previously, I ran my own personal training business in London, but slowly became increasingly disillusioned with the traditional gym model. The fitness industry is guilty of peddling dangerous fads and useless quick fixes. At The Studio we strive to offer the highest standard of training in a welcoming, boutique environment for all ages, genders and abilities. We opened in November 2016 and our community has grown ever since. We’re more than a gym, we’re working on linking the medical and fitness communities, working alongside GPs, Women’s Health Physios and Musculoskeletal Physios.
Especially under the current circumstances, we believe gyms need to offer more than the typical ’12 Week Transformation’. (100 burpies and that nauseous feeling after a workout isn’t ‘health and fitness’, that’s a PT trying to warrant their hourly rate by making you sweat, subsequently making you feel like you’ve worked hard.) This is so far removed from what we should be offering. We have a responsibility to help clients achieve their goals in a sustainable, intelligent way, helping them develop lifelong habits of healthy eating and regular exercise.

We’ve only ever had one goal at The Studio: to provide the highest quality training and customer service with honesty and integrity. And this is the first time that we find ourselves without any certain future.

I did the only thing I could at the time and distributed my equipment as fairly as possible between clients. The response was as overwhelming as it was unexpected. It struck me that many clients chose to take a barbell, when only a few months ago, they’d never even used one.

I’ve come to realise the connection my members have with a barbell. Those who have been training for any length of time appreciate its importance.

Many clients have achieved things they never thought they were capable of under a barbell. They’ve grown stronger, happier, healthier and more able. The barbell is a tool to maintain and improve health, and clients knew this would be threatened if they were forced to stop training.

My members’ unwavering support has been incredible, the generosity of continued monthly payments for the month of April, the purchase of credit packages, the offer of marketing help and even the offer of video editing. Looking around at my empty gym, after all my equipment had disappeared to grateful members, I realised that our clients’ connection with The Studio was stronger than I’d ever imagined. The response to online training and our latest program has been overwhelming. As a coach, you dedicate yourself to helping people achieve things they’ve never thought physically possible, and knowing that our clients have discovered something that they love, I am reassured that our small community of lifters will be there when this is all over.

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