From the comfort of her apartment in Secaucus New Jersey, Brenda Green, 39, a trainer, welcomes about 20 clients online for a 30 minutes workout session Monday through Friday, even now during the coronavirus crisis, especially now. As early as 6:15 a.m., Brenda trains about eight women at a time with strengthening, cardio and lightweight lifting workout sessions. Many of her clients have different medical conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.
She’s been training women and coaching them online since 2017, but in the time of the coronavirus, what she does for a living could not have more resonance.
In normal times, the platform allowed her and her clients to create a virtual gym in their homes and connect with other women who have different work schedules; some are single moms and simply did not have the time to go to the gym in a regular basis. Now, of course, the whole idea of a virtual training session is even more attractive and necessary.
“We are blessed that our business model is helping countless women across the country manage this time when health and wellness are of utmost importance,” said Brenda.
Social distancing, which is in effect across the country until April 30th, could not be more conducive to keeping in shape at home. Online apps and services, such as Green’s, Daily Burn, Nike training app, Zumba fitness or Bulldog online, have become much more popular. Over 400,000 exercise apps exist and people are signing up to learn how to meditate, do yoga, and take Zumba classes, seemingly now more than ever before. Many services are peppering social media with offers of free trials through May, some local gyms are putting exercise classes online, and to ease anxiety, some ads for meditation apps, like Calm, have even started appearing during prime time television hours. For the past two weeks, the Nike training app alone has seen an increase of 100 percent in weekly active users.
During this pandemic, staying home has created the perfect environment for people to learn how to do many daily activities in different areas of their houses, apartments, or simply inside their bedrooms—and to provide a platform for much-needed human interaction in times of isolation. Most workout applications or online fitness programs use pre-recorded sessions and lack live human interaction. But Green does it in real time, with live training sessions.
“Virtually, fitness is a better way for working women to get exercised and keep a healthy lifestyle from the comfort of their homes,” says Green, who created the fitness and nutrition coaching program Fit4ABetterMe after almost losing her life years ago.
In 2016, she had all she wanted in life, a beautiful family with her husband and only daughter, an accomplished professional career as an auditor accountant for a prestigious insurance company and a healthy lifestyle. But one day after a routine workout session, she found a lump in her left breast. She had a screening, was sent for a biopsy, and diagnosed with stage two breast cancer.
Brenda was devastated and all she could think about was her then four-year-old daughter. She knew she faced the hardest battle of her life. An active and disciplined woman who always did her best to eat healthily and keep a normal weight, Brenda followed all the medical instructions she was given, meticulously. The word cancer scared her, as it would any of us, but she said it also refocused her. “Death never crossed my mind, my biggest fear was not knowing how long this journey was going to be,” says Brenda, who has a family history of cancer.
After going through chemo and having surgery, Brenda started to recover quickly. Both her doctors explained to her that her healthy lifestyle was the main reason for her progress. “Every time I worked out, I felt I was beating cancer so that was my mental strength, “she says. At that point, Brenda decided she needed other women in her life, and that maybe, she could help them change their lives too.
So she became a certified fitness and nutritional trainer and launched her own business Fit4ABetterMe. She set up a computer on a small table in her living room. Five days a week, she puts on her Fit4aBetterMe training gear, lays out a yoga mat, arranges some weights resistance bands around her, and sets to work with a mind and body full of energy. She’s proud of her efforts.
“My mission is to really help women prevent diseases, for women to change their lifestyle to be healthy, but also to have the strength to fight, just like I did,” says Brenda. “My biggest accomplishment is when my clients tell me they are getting healthier, that they are feeling stronger, that’s what makes me keep going with this mission.”
Her clients have responded too, as far as she can tell from testimonials she’s received. “I loved hearing one of my clients who had high blood pleasure being off medications because of changing her diet and exercising,” says Brenda who recently integrated women instructors for Yoga, Zumba and meditation classes as part of her company.
“Through this year training my body has gone through a transformation beyond my expectations, I am so much healthier and stronger,” said Vanessa De Los Santos, who said she lost 25 pounds and has kept her weight off for the past seven months. For her, this platform is more important today than ever.
“In a time when we are keeping a distance from friends and colleagues, these classes bring me hope and peace as I keep connecting with strong women of all ages while staying healthy and safe,” said De Los Santos.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of keeping a healthy lifestyle as the virus is affecting the most vulnerable— elderly people, people with a underlying medical conditions or those with a weakened immune system. The death toll is rising every day as of April 1, more than 5,000 Americans have died, New York City alone has experienced nearly 1,400 deaths.
Green hopes to be of help to more people during this difficult moment. She’s partnered with a healthy meal prep company, Clean Eats, to donate face masks to the Hudson Regional Hospital in Secaucus, New Jersey. But she’s also tried to make her services more affordable so more people can join her. For the month of April, her online exercise classes only cost $5.
What’s more, she’s offering a free sign up for nutritional counseling to anyone who takes her 14-day drinking water challenge, a program she’s set up to teach people the importance of staying hydrated. People have to drink a gallon of water every day and will get the chance to win a free month of her services.