Fitness in the Age of COVID

Male Fitness Influencers Share the Highs and Lows of 2020

Name: Justin Ehling

Title:  Owner & Head Coach, Leaner Fitness

Instagram: @LeanerFitness

Biggest challenge of 2020?

2020 was a formative year for my wife, Jordana, and me. Newly married. Newly pregnant (with our first). Newly unemployed. With gyms closed, we had to get creative. I quickly built a website and began building an online training business. It’s been an adjustment, but it’s also been amazing to create efficient new workout options and connect with clients outside the state and country.

What are you hopeful for in 2021?
2021 is shaping up to be truly epic! Our virtual and mobile coaching business has grown and allowed us to open up our own fitness studio here in Bellevue. At the Leaner Fitness studio, we offer a mix of customizable fitness options for individuals and families of all ages to meet their health and fitness goals safely and effectively.

What keeps you motivated?

A deep sense of responsibility to do something positive with our incredible blessings. Our health, our growing family, and our amazing supportive group of friends and clients who have supported us as a business and as true friends are another huge source of motivation. Their vibrant energy and commitment to staying strong and healthy through even the toughest of times really inspires me to keep going.

Top “at home” fitness tip? 

Drink water throughout the day and get plenty of sleep.  Without sleep and hydration as your baseline, it’s going to be much harder to exercise. When you’re ready to work out, check out our website at LeanerFitness.com. Set a goal, show up, and let’s make 2021 LEANER, STRONGER, and HEALTHIER. 

Name: Kevin Ng

Title: Founder, Kevin Ng Yoga + Mindfulness

Instagram: @kevinngyoga

Biggest challenge of 2020?

Shifting the connection with my community and students from in-person to online.  Creating and conducting an unforgettable energy exchange is one of my biggest inspirations and aspirations as an instructor.  Teaching virtually enables me to “say” everything I need to but not conducive to making everyone “feel” something together.

What are you hopeful for in 2021?

At a micro level, I am hopeful that people will eventually return to support local fitness facilities and studios.  They are pillars of our community that foster connection and positive growth.  Seeing so many close in 2020 is difficult to bear but inspires me to do everything I can to help them rebuild stronger when we return.  At a macro level, I am hopeful we can learn from what we experienced in 2020 to evolve and grow.  Amongst a global pandemic to social injustices being exposed and divisive politics, our past can provide us with some much-needed perspective and awareness.  It is from this place of awareness that we can learn to appreciate what we have and work towards changing what we do not.

What keeps you motivated?

My community and students have continued to entrust in me to be a leader on their health and wellness journeys, and I feel the responsibility to lead by example.  This translates into maintaining a strong practice of my own in addition to prioritizing self-care. 

Top "at home" fitness tip?

Consistency over intensity.  As a person who overcame obesity and is now able to help others do the same, fitness is a journey that evolves over time.  Identify your goal, adapt to unforeseen challenges and continue to take steps towards that direction.  The underlying foundation is built on consistency. 

Name - Brandon Sweeney

Title - Founder/CEO RowdyBox

Instagram: @Brando_Sweeney

Biggest challenge of 2020? 

As the first lockdown hit, my wife and I we’re in the midst of opening our fitness concept, RowdyBox--a high-end, boutique boxing studio--in downtown Seattle. Because of CV-19 and the subsequent mandates, we couldn't open our doors for 6 months. CV-19 wasn't in the biz plan, but we're rolling with the punches.

What are you hopeful for in 2021? 

Showing the world this amazing new concept. Because of CV-19, we didn't feel it was a good idea to advertise our opening. Instead, we hoped our initial small community would love the concept and tell friends. And they did!  I can't wait to grow that community and feel that energy again. We're coming for you Eastside.

What keeps you motivated?

Family and our community. My wife is my business partner (or, more accurately, I'm hers), and we have two kids.  We've been doing fitness full-time in Seattle and the Eastside for 12 years and love the community. These are some of the most discerning people on the planet. Shiny objects and fancy advertising don't carry the premium here that they would in other cities. If you want them to jump ship to your service, you have to earn it. But, if you can convince them to climb aboard, they'll stay for a long time and even help navigate. 

Top "at home" fitness tip: After you eat, do 10. I don't care what it is - pushups, squats, situps, lunges, Kegels (ha), etc. Pick an exercise and do 10 reps. In the long-term, your reps will compound and you'll build muscle or prevent muscle atrophy; in the short-term, you'll blunt the rise in blood sugar and insulin from the food, and store less as fat.

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