For Tampa personal trainer Lance Small Jr., the pandemic gave him a chance to reconnect with his roots in the fitness industry.
“I’ve always looked at uncomfortable situations, like COVID-19, as a time where you can dig deep for inner strength, creativity and faith,” he says.
He began his career training small groups in outdoor spaces around the city, like Bayshore Boulevard, Coleman Middle School and Al Lopez Park. With gyms closed statewide and many of his clients unable to access weights or other equipment, Small returned to outside workouts that challenged his clients’ bodies and minds in a safe space, either in a public area or at the client’s home.
“[It’s] a great challenge, dealing with the different outdoor settings along with your clients athletic ability and goals,” he says. “Equipment doesn’t make the workout. It just gives you variety.”
On the flip side, the past few months have given Small a push into new realms of fitness. He describes himself as “old school,” still writing out his schedule by hand. But he began exploring virtual training, emailing clients workout plans and using video-editing apps and tools like Instagram’s IGTV to send content directly to his clients’ devices that required few or no weights (or he delivered equipment to those who wanted it).
While his focus was on his clients’ improvement, Small also used his time away from the gym to work on himself.
““I told myself going into this pandemic I wanted to come out stronger mentally, physically and spiritually,” he says. “This quarantine has also given me time to touch up my website and explore different online tools, all working to help better my clients overall health and fitness levels and myself as a coach. Online education was a way I took my mind off the news and turned [the time] into a positive.”
“I think we all learned a lot about ourselves and realized the more important things in life.”