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It’s been an unnaturally challenging journey, but only a few more steps remain before Skye Halliday Wilson becomes a certified group fitness instructor. “I have two more sections of my ISSA exam to complete, then I will have to get my CPR recertification — and of course, it’s been hard to find a class,” she says. “But I finished a mentorship and was brought on part time as a group coach at Funktional Fitness one day per week.”
Wilson used her mandated at-home time to develop fresh ways to move and vetted her experiments on social media. “People were desperate for ideas on how to keep moving, so I changed up my content to help fill that need,” she says. “Clients will always want in-person sessions, but Zoom and Instagram workouts have showed people that they don’t need to spend hours of their day or have tons of equipment to make strides toward a healthier lifestyle.”
Wilson used her followers’ feedback to create a unique roster of exercises, which she now plans to leverage in a group fitness format and with her personal training clients — which, according to her, are in no short supply. “Once our shelter-in-place [order] was lifted, I was able to secure two new clients that same day!” she says. “I think this time has showed many of us that our health is crucial and is something we cannot take for granted.”
However, Wilson is still respectful of those who are not yet ready to train in person and has designed an at-home workout guide that is free to anyone who asks. She also has plans to build a full-service online platform so she can reach even more people.
Many people let fitness fall by the wayside during the first half of the year, but Wilson believes the mental aspect of starting over may be even harder than the physical. “Like they say, your body doesn’t quit, your brain does,” she says. “Our bodies are machines. They are built to move. Our minds, however, can talk us into (or out of!) just about anything. Your workouts will be hard. You will want to quit. But you have to find the inner strength to push past those feelings and keep going.”
Developing this mind-body connection is useful when it comes to exercise, but Wilson also believes it is important when it comes to self-worth. “This connection is huge when it comes to loving your body,” she says. “Ask any woman on the street and she’ll name a list of the things she doesn’t like about herself. It took me a long time to start focusing more on what my body can do rather than what it looks like, and it’s something I still work on every day.”
For those struggling with this issue, as well, Wilson recommends actually speaking your thoughts out loud to help flip the script. “For example, this past week, I put on a pair of old shorts and man, they were tight!” she says. “I started feeling bad about myself, but then I took a deep breath and said out loud, Your thighs are what allow you to squat a heavy barbell. They push the pedals up huge hills on your mountain bike. They allow you to walk, run and swim. Then I put on a better-fitting pair of shorts and left the negativity behind. It’s not easy, and sometimes I feel silly doing it, but we have to flip that script. We need to begin saying out loud the things we love about ourselves and our bodies.”
Name: Skye Halliday Wilson
Location: Mesa, Arizona
Occupation: Health and nutrition coach
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