group fitness training Oakland

COVID times have inadvertently made me physically and emotionally stronger than I’ve been in the past 10 years. 2020 has forced me to dig deep to find my cooperative skills and to step back from trying to control the moment. The past 9 months have taught me how to physically and psychologically be more flexible. Being flexible in the time of COVID is vital, isn’t it? Adapt or perish? Survival often does come down to survival of the fittest.

Athletes are strong AND flexible.

My husband and I have owned a small boutique fitness studio in the SF Bay Area since 2011. We have worked and/or lived in the fitness industry for all of our adult lives. As a body sculptor, I believed that I knew my body best. I thought that since I was a professional in fitness, that I was the one most capable of strengthening myself. It turns out that I was scared. I was scared of going beyond my limited belief system of what my body was capable of accomplishing. I really just needed another perspective. And it was right next to me. My husband taught me how to be more flexible and that flexibility precedes strength.

I was never fully able to take fitness instruction from my husband throughout the years. I was unwilling to hear the other side completely. I wasn’t even aware that I wasn’t listening. I didn’t know how. I continue to have to slow down my response and try to understand what is being said to me so that I am choosing a reply that is effective and aligns with my core values. Even though we owned a business together, I was controlling and manic due to a lack of confidence in my new identities as business owner, mother and wife.

Ash would TRY to train me and we would both end up frustrated and fighting. He told me FOR YEARS that squatting was the number one way for me to build back up my tush (without gym machines and after having 2 kids). He repeatedly told me that in order to build real strength, I had to squat. But I couldn’t squat. I had been wanting to squat FOEVER, but it always hurt my back so I stuck to my heavy weighted barbell lunges instead.

Yet, adversity supplies the need for resilience.

When March 2020 came along and we shut our doors for in-person classes, we had to shift to virtual workouts. Our members wanted both Ash’s style and my style of classes – as they had been taking for years. We had to figure out how to work together, physically. Well, thank goodness for hundreds of hours of therapy throughout the years on my part because I was FINALLY ready to take instructions from him. In class with just the two of us and the camera shooting class, he had us do stretches I didn’t know I needed so as to be able to get low into a squat. After 2 classes a week for the past 9 months I have to say that he was right. Squatting makes for a great asset.

Being able to get under weight shows us physically and mentally that we are able to handle pressure. 2020 has certainly brought the pressure with stay-at-home orders, the lack of social life, homeschooling, layoffs, finances and more. The sayings and hashtags #staystrong and #stayhealthy have bombarded us this year. However, without a playbook of how to accomplish staying healthy and strong, what is our foundation? Relying on our own community has kept BK ROOTS focused on staying healthy with a consistent workout routine to keep us all grounded and sane.

Everyone has their own opinion of what it means to be healthy so here’s ours today…Get strong and flexible enough to squat under weight. Pressure creates diamonds. Coping with pressure and challenging ourselves to be more adaptable is key. I’ve learned that the ups and downs of a marriage can help us figure out how to stand taller and how to be able to give and get. Sometimes being able to receive help is the hardest struggle. It is in this uncomfortable space of vulnerability that helps us find a deeper perspective of curiosity and flow.

2020 has been the most unpredictable year in my generation. What we can fall back on is our ability to take a step back to evaluate what is really important in our lives. Being flexible enough as a person to adjust to an ever-evolving reality has become a requirement.

A newly acquired strength and ability to bend with the times is a gift. So is a new tush!

-Mindy Berla