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Fitness Expert Omar Yunes Talks Health During COVID (And Beyond)
Omar Yunes is the CEO of 54D, an online fitness program that reached clients across 75 countries during COVID-19. He opens up about what it means to inspire people when the chips are down, and why his clients appreciated his efforts more than words can say during some of the darkest days during the lockdown.
Battling Natural Responses
When people were first hit with news of the pandemic, it wasn’t just the fear of catching the virus. While terror spurred many of the choices that people made, the reality is there were thousands of small stresses and disruptions that made everyone’s life harder. As the crisis dragged on, it understandably zapped energy that people might have originally had to put toward their fitness goals.
Omar Yunes says that battling these natural responses wasn’t easy, but it was necessary to give people a health boost that they desperately needed. Exercise doesn’t just help people strengthen their muscles and improve their stamina, it can literally give their immune system the kick it needs to get back in gear.
Seeing Beyond The Present
Much of the pandemic was a struggle with what was going on in the present. How could people envision a future when they could barely see past the obstacle right in front of them? Omar Yunes says that he had to keep showing up for his customers, no matter how hopeless it sometimes seemed.
He had to remind everyone (at times, maybe even himself) that lockdowns wouldn’t last forever and there would be light at the end of the tunnel. That didn’t mean faking a positive attitude, but it did mean pushing against some of the more dismal predictions that were being made during the height of the virus. It was acceptable for people to be cautious and to take the threat seriously, but unacceptable for Yunes to give in to the darkness completely.
Asking People To Make The Sacrifice
From the 24/7 news cycle to the local supply chain issues, the last thing most people wanted to do during the pandemic was workouts. No matter what country they were in or how much money they had, most just wanted to hunker down at home with comfort food and wait out the storm. Omar Yunes said his job was all about helping people stand up to that urge, so they wouldn’t have an uphill battle once we were all able to get back to our regularly scheduled lives (or at least, something closer to it).
No matter who you talk to, everyone developed coping mechanisms to deal with changes in our lives. Some learned how to bake bread, play an instrument, or cut their own hair. Unfortunately, most people didn’t step up their fitness game. Omar Yunes notes that asking people to make the sacrifice wasn’t easy, but it was ultimately better for his customers to do something for themselves. More so than any motivational speech he could give or fact sheet he could distribute, it was this benefit that kept his business going during the pandemic.