It is not about “bucking the system” or saving her business. Jennifer Fisher isn’t interested in being defiant, unprofessional or disrespectful.
She just wants to help.
Despite the current state mandate that restricts a variety of indoor gatherings – including group fitness classes – to reduce the spread of COVID-19, Fisher said her planned Zumba class on Saturday morning isn’t actually a group fitness class. At her studio Just About You! Life Fitness and Personal Training Center, she said these are coaching sessions.
“I am not prepared to just shrug my shoulders and walk away from the financial years, time working more hours without pay than wage earners would ever consider, family sacrifices, missed bedtimes and games, investment I have made all because an ill-informed individual believes that fitness centers need to close despite all the extensive daily procedures we all have taken against germs we have to kill,” Fisher wrote on her business’ Facebook page announcing the upcoming class. “Fitness centers have got to be about the most germ free businesses around. We intend to continue to advocate on behalf of gyms, franchises, fitness centers, and member communities to educate Governor Walz’s team that gyms and fitness centers are essential.”
During a phone call with the People’s Press on Friday, Fisher said the Saturday morning event is not her attempt to make a stand against the governor’s mandate but instead to provide members of the community with an equally vital tool against COVID-19.
“We are a part of your health and wellness and this is part of what keeps you healthy,” Fisher said. “We understand the immune system and that the more sedentary you become, the unhealthier you become.”
Fisher said her studio offers health coaching, massage therapy and sells health products and therefore is not prohibited from being open. She said her nearly 2,000-square-foot studio provides plenty of room for ample social distancing and that she has been going above and beyond the requirements for cleaning and disinfecting throughout the entire pandemic. When she opens the studio doors Saturday morning, she said all requirements and restrictions will still be followed.
“Of course we will still limit the people inside, we don’t want to move to the opposite end of the spectrum like how we are seeing some of these bars and restaurants who don’t care how many people are there,” Fisher said. “We want to be wise. There is no denying that COVID exists, but I do deny the fact that what we do is not part of how to keep people healthy as it is being presented.”
During her sessions, Fisher said healthy movement is only one of several components that the participants learn and take with them after completion. She said they also talk about nutrition, emotional health, breathing exercises, how to cope with stress, and a variety of other life types that are paramount in keep oneself healthy.
“This is much more important than having access to fast food or already-made food that you can take home,” Fisher said. “This is way more important in how we’re going to keep our society healthy and get our society healthy again.”
Though Fisher has taken her lumps this year, having to take out a non-forgivable loan to keep her business open and trying her best at doing virtual sessions, it was the pleas from the public that she said made the decision for her to bring the group sessions back to the studio.
“People are contacting me, pleading with me, to do in-person sessions, begging me ‘please do this for us,’” Fisher said, adding that she could practically see the tears coming through the messages on her computer screen. “That is why we are doing this. We’re not challenging anybody with this, we’re not purposefully saying we’re going to get on a band wagon against the governor or anyone else. That is not what this is about. It is not about saving my business.”
“People need our help,” she continued. “When you hear organized group fitness, it is about herding them in and herding them out. That’s what is restricted, and that’s not what we’ve ever done. This is exactly why I started the business that I started.”