Well, where do I start? Any year that began with me badly spraining my ankle doing paperwork on the 13th (true story) was always going to be a doozy. I really should have seen it coming!
I’ve given a lot of thought to what I’d write in my annual round-up, and given the year it’s been it would be very easy to be really negative. I honestly worried I wouldn’t really have any content compared to previous years where I have hosted fundraisers, run workshops, entered races, attended courses and conferences.
But of course so much has happened. It might not have been what anyone predicted, but nobody is going to say it was a quiet one! So as we welcome in the new year and reflect back on all that was wrong with 2020, let’s also take a moment to remember the positives. That’s not intended to be dismissive of those who lost loved ones, jobs and businesses. It’s been a tough year for everyone. I know many people, however, who welcomed babies into the world, got new jobs, or moved house. As always, I’ve put together a short video summarising the Lovefit year (see below), but here are a few highlights:
- My 1-1 clients continue to amaze me with what they achieve week on week, especially seeing as 90% of PT sessions this year have taken place on Zoom. With various makeshift set ups (mine included) and some equipment loans, I have been staggered by everyone’s commitment to keeping their training going through 2020. Not only has it lifted my spirits (and kept my business alive – thank you) but it seems to have yielded great results for my clients too:
– One completed a (virtual) half marathon.
– Another got back into lifting after the birth of her first child and is now comfortably back squatting 60kg again.
– One lady qualified as a yoga teacher.
– And far beyond the physical accomplishments, I have been amazed at my clients’ resilience; showing up week on week despite having lost family members, struggling with mental health, overwhelming work schedules, space limitations and patchy internet. You are all truly amazing, and I am proud to work with you
- We’ve welcomed 22 babies, with a couple more on the horizon. I always love totting up how many births there have been from my Tuesday pregnancy night class. But this year the number is around 50% of the usual, which is a stark reminder of how much a small business is dependent on real-life interactions, and women meeting up for coffee and spreading the word.
- Covid might have made a bit of a dent to my client base in some ways, but it brought a few people back to me too. Clients who no longer live in Cambridge got in touch, and I am thrilled to now have people joining sessions from London, the Lake District, Scotland, Germany and even Abu Dhabi! Silver linings and all that.
LOVEFIT BUSINESS NEWS
- As most of you will be aware, owing to my house build situation, I had been training clients from a friend’s garden gym space since August ’19. But in March I obviously had to abandon ship, and since then I have been separated from all my kit (with the exception of a few bits I nabbed on the way out to distribute to clients). Initially I’d hoped to be back there in September, but with it being somebody’s private home and then with cases rising again in the autumn, it wasn’t possible to return. And given the current situation, I very much doubt I’ll be returning at all: By the time I’m allowed to do face-to-face indoors again, my new digs *should* be ready,
- Obviously coronavirus has had a huge impact on my classes, as I’ve largely been unable to use indoor venues this year. As such, my (very small) living room has become the backdrop for my Zoom classes. It hasn’t been the ideal time to be building a house and temporarily living in a very confined space, when your entire business consists of teaching movement! But it’s taught me that anything is possible, and that my clients are all incredibly understanding and don’t really care what space I’m in.
- I know that money is tight for many, so I have a free online resource in the form of my private Facebook group “Amber’s Lovefit Community“. There is a large back catalogue of short (approx 20 min) workouts, some educational chats and lots of advice. I haven’t been adding as much content lately, for obvious reasons, but there is a ton of historical content within the group. It’s free for any woman to join. You just need to answer the member questions so I know you’re not a bot.
- In December I ran a (postponed) online pop-up class with my wonderful friend and colleague, Nikki. We had the best time moving in unison to a soundtrack of songs from the movies – which went down a storm – with a barre fusion class, bringing elements from a classic legs bums and tums.
- Usually I host a festive drinks party for all my clients in December. This has been tradition since 2012, so it felt sad to miss out this year. I considered an online party or quiz, but I figured we might all be a bit fed up with Zoom, and my experience of these things is that they can be quite stilted. So I opted instead to send a little thanks out to everyone, and aim to hold an exceptional celebratory social gathering when we are able to!
- Heading into 2021 classes on offer are the same as they have been since September, but ALL classes will be on Zoom for as long as we are in tier 4. Full details of all my group offerings can be found here on my website, and a snapshot of my class timetable is below. (Starred sessions are recorded).
As for me personally, well… it’s been quite the rollercoaster. 2020 was going to be the year when we got our barn finished (little did we know it wouldn’t even start until June), and the year I ramped up my fitness with M settled into school. Sprained ankle aside, I’d been enjoying my weekly CrossFit and Hotpod yoga sessions, and was beginning to feel a bit more like myself. So when March arrived and everything started to go a bit pear-shaped, it was unsettling. I had no gym in which to train, no garden for my son to play in, a business that was 100% OFFline, and a building project due to start. To be honest, when lockdown hit and a few friends asked if I would take the business online, I replied simply: “I can’t, I don’t have the set up in this house.” But with the build looming I knew I had to maintain my income, so figured it was worth a shot. I’m so glad I didn’t give up – because my work has given me a real purpose, and many of you have kindly been in touch to say how important your weekly sessions have been in keeping you sane throughout a challenging year.
In a parallel universe where our build costs weren’t so horrific, I would have taken the opportunity to take a pause from the business and spend the time with my son instead. I wish I could have done more of that. It was tough for him being stuck at home with two very busy parents working all the time and only a large, gaseous dog for company. But somehow we all managed, and I am very grateful to be in a position where I have a husband and a son here with me (and even the dog), and a wonderful community of women who make my work a pleasure.
Thank you for reading, if you have made it this far. I never take it for granted that people actually care what I have to say! So thanks for being there. And if you aren’t reading this but have scrolled right down to the end, here’s my video round-up.
May 2021 be kind to you.