Today marks 9 months of Freedom Physio Online and I'm happy to report that my baby is healthy and well! I want to share with you a bit more about my personal experience pivoting to online classes over the last 9 months and to thank you for your continued support.
My shift to online physio and wellness happened at the onset of lockdown 1 which began for me on the 7th of March 2020. On that day, like so many of us, as a freelancer I instantly lost my studio teaching hours, I lost my physio hours at a major studio, and lost access to my rental space at the gym where I held my own classes and hands-on physio sessions. Thank God for the weekly assistance from the Irish government, my husband and for word of mouth from kind and generous clients who found my classes online and shared them with friends. Word of mouth is EVERYTHING, so please continue to share if you love my classes.
Sink or Swim
For so many of us, there was a big moment of sink or swim however for some fitness teachers, it was a time to finally rest after years of being on the cusp of burnout as a result of an industry that supports zero hour contracts, no contracts at all, meagre hourly rates, no sick pay, no holiday pay, no pension, restraint of trade, ever - changing schedules and monumental expectations to perform.
Before the pandemic hit, the pressure to cover classes, working more than double a usual schedule to pay for essential life expenses was a reality and still is. The expertise required to modify poses for complex clients in a group environment, whilst challenging others in their hour of leisure is a tall order. Luckily for me, after 5+ years of teaching movement, I seem to have attracted the most incredibly driven and focussed clients, who make each hour of teaching a stimulating, exciting and engaging experience.
Shine Shine Cellulite
I'm grateful to all of you for trusting me and for not judging my body. Because at least for me, exercise isn't about chasing a high-maintenance, expensive, unsustainable, plastic fuelled, unrealistic, guilt-based "beauty" standard that is reliant upon self-sabotaging habits and random genetic inheritance. I've been there, done that, paid for the therapy and I'm happy to be on the other side.
My mother will tell you that I've never truly cared much about conforming to "beauty standards" or fashion, but for many of my peers, the pressure to look their best from all angles whilst creating a seamless experience for a basic hourly rate was/is crushingly difficult. Because let's face it, a "hot body" is an aspiration for so many of us, regardless of whether or not we are actually living well or thinking healthy things.
That said, I am proud of myself and so proud of all of you for being confident enough to go on camera, even if it's just for a moment to say hi at the beginning of class. I'm proud of having proven to myself that my body is "camera ready" no matter what I weigh or if the light captures jiggles and cellulite, because it's ALWAYS about the class and it's always about creating the best movement experience for my people. Although the view through the lens can be deceiving, I think this new world holds some opportunity to change how we view ourselves and each other and to be able to see past aesthetic and focus on embracing our uniquenesses and strengths.
Know Your Worth
In some small ways, the online world has levelled the wellness playing field, allowing those of us who could never afford to rent or finance a suitably sized brick and mortar space the opportunity to build a unique online experience. This has allowed us teachers a chance at being our own boss and having a touch of autonomy and less time on the road moving from studio to studio to make ends meet. Video on demand means we don't have to physically exert ourselves hour after hour or push through pain and injury.
Of course there are always challenges facing us all and in this world it seems that we're in the ring with an ocean of high quality, engaging, ad-driven free content that is hard to compete with and ultimately devalue our service. The ease of finding a free class is understandably tempting, but it ultimately reduces the willingness to pay for what we do. We are the new musicians, photographers and designers...essential to your wellbeing, but reduced in value with every new 'free home workout'.
I'd like to think that like me, you appreciate the value of choosing teachers and healthcare professionals who teach classes and provide services from a place of continued education, who are driven by the pursuit of wellness rather than aesthetic, the desire for functionality, longevity and strength as opposed to influencer stardom.
On a personal level, I'm also proud of myself for singlehandedly building my website, I've learned to edit videos and adapted to an ever changing market full of talented teachers. I've made it through countless diminutive comments about my "cute little business" as well as remarks about how impossible it will be to get people to pay for my service, how saturated the market is and how it will never work because of all the free content that's out there. Yet here I stand.
Finally and most importantly, I'm incredibly grateful for those of you, my beautiful clients who have joined me and supported me each month, each week, each class. Who have loved me for who I am and believed in my teaching. I'm grateful for those of you who have given me honest feedback, who have taken my business seriously and who have chosen to trust me with your moving body. Here's to the future of Freedom Physio! I can promise you it's only going to get better and better.
See you on the mat,