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Work. Life. Balance. One Year in a Pandemic (3-Par...

Work. Life. Balance. One Year in a Pandemic (3-Part Series)

Working laptop desk ipadPart 1: Work

Work-life balance has been uttered a lot. And never have they had more meaning when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world in early 2020. Like so many others, my husband and I took stock of what these three words meant. Reality set in; assessments made; life has changed, in certain ways forever.

My husband and I have worked over 45 years, each more than full time in our respective fields and in our mutual business, Suncoast Pilates (for over 25 of those years). Hubby Bob by day (and often night), has been an IT Computer Programmer and Analyst for almost all 45 of those years. His workplace was telling him to come in during the first of the pandemic. He assessed the risk to me, as well as himself. And retired his IT job, right then, right there.

And, of course, the world has since worked from home, as he well could have, yet then he was not allowed. Bob also knew that as studio owners, the studio would need his full-time assistance to navigate through this pandemic to survive. And that made the difference in our survival as a studio. Bob applied for PPP loans and grants and became the camera / IT guy for our studio.

We immediately pivoted our business.

Work Life Balance in a PandemicClients started canceling in early March 2020, and on March 27, we temporarily shut our doors to client business, freezing existing packages. Our instructors made the collective decision to take time for a break and regroup; all but one instructor decided that we, in fact, would not choose to teach our clients online. This was our choice. We applauded other instructors and facilities who decided to go online for their clients. And just like that, exercise was available everywhere online, accessible to everyone that had a device. Do you remember when the exercise gurus of the ’70s, ’80s had exercise shows during the day? Yep, I remember. Now everyone could exercise any time of day, night, around the world, all forms of exercise.

As a Balanced Body Instructor training studio, what we had to do immediately, without pause, was train Pilates instructors online. And yes, I was one of those who said “No” I will never want to train online.

Never say never.

And Bob was here, the computer guy, who purchased a new projector, huge screen, three cameras, mics, etc. We were in the online training business. And trainees loved it! The opportunity to learn online was something they always wanted to do while quarantined at home. Suncoast Pilates reached the corners of the world from the Philippines to Saudi Arabia to Hawaii to Canada and to our very own Florida trainees right here in town, in their very homes and studios.

Clients were allowed back on May 18 per Florida decree. We have slowly re-opened, with strict COVID-19 pre-cautions (and yes, masking all the time, even when exercising), extra cleaning, social distancing, extra spacing of equipment, and a focus on privates and semi-privates. We have also allowed a select number of trainees in the studio for training while others are on Zoom live. It is working, and we are expanding our instructor training schedule for 2021.

We have survived, flourished, and pivoted.

What have you done to survive, change and pivot during the pandemic?


Patricia Massey Welter

Co-Owner (with husband Robert) / Director of Pilates Instruction at Suncoast Pilates, Balanced Body Master Instructor, Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher (NCPT), Certified GYROTONIC® Instructor. Patricia is a "Second Generation Pilates Teacher" and "Lolita San Miguel Pilates Master™." She is both a Balanced Body Pilates Master Instructor and CoreAlign Master Instructor. As Suncoast Pilates is an approved Balanced Body Pilates Instructor Training Facility and Balanced Body Host site, Patricia teaches monthly Pilates instructor training and CoreAlign instructor training modules and workshops. Patricia is one of the area's most experienced and highly certified Pilates instructors. For more information, visit suncoastpilates.com.

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