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07 May 2020

It’s taken a global pandemic for our ‘outside-of-work’ lives to truly show themselves, and one of our senior systems implementers Dan, has revealed himself as the Joe Wicks of MIS-AMS. He explains. 

For the past two years I have been leading a Beatz Fitness class, which usually takes place each Saturday in my local church hall. I’ve been interested in fitness for quite some time and after getting back in shape with a personal trainer at Puregym, I saw an advert to become a fitness instructor with Beatz Fitness and decided to get qualified.

Beatz Fitness is a dance-based class which is choreographed by trained choreographers who release new routines every week for instructors to learn in order to keep their classes fresh and interesting. Everyone that attends has their favourite tracks and routines, and people often request specific tracks to be choreographed. I have great fun leading the classes and enjoy the sense of community in the group of regular attendees. We even have a Facebook group and a Facebook Messenger group, called ‘Beatz and Ab Attack Family’ because that is what it feels like, a big family coming together regularly to exercise.

Knowing how helpful exercise can be in maintaining good mental health and how much the group love coming together each week, I wanted to continue delivering the classes during lockdown. So I started delivering them virtually over Zoom, and also launched a brand-new class of my own called Ab Attack with Danny Arthur (my fitness pseudonym). I know this is a difficult time for people, so to make sure everyone can join in regardless of their situation, I have made the virtual classes free. However, I do use the ‘Buy me a Coffee’ website, so people can send me a virtual coffee, if they want and are able to.

I wasn’t expecting a huge turnout to the virtual class as it was brand-new. But amazingly it had a great attendance with 15 participants joining for the first class, and the numbers are growing each week which is great to see. The popularity of the virtual sessions has been surprising, and I think it is owed to the fact that the classes are no longer restricted people living locally; I’ve had people from much further afield joining in, including MIS-AMS implementation manager, Sharon! One new participant explained that if they had to get ready and drive to the class, they may not have done - but as they could just log in from their living room, they joined in and felt much better for doing so.

Everyone seems to really be enjoying the classes and the opportunity to get together, albeit virtually. Since going on lockdown and shifting to virtual classes I have found that the “family” chat to each other a lot more via the Facebook groups, and it’s great to see how exercise is helping forge friendships and support networks. When we add a new person to the group, everyone messages to welcome them to the family, which is lovely to see.

It’s great to know that I’m helping everyone stay active during lockdown. And seeing their smiling (sweaty) faces at the end of the class for our traditional “Sweaty Beatz” post class picture is also fun. I usually take a photo of my classes, but now I do a virtual screen grab!

I have been asked quite a lot in the past if I can deliver a face to face class in the week but as my role at MIS-AMS often requires me to be onsite during the week, I have never been able to commit to this. But being in lockdown has encouraged me to try a new way of delivering my classes, and it’s made me realise how popular virtual classes are. I’ve been delivering them during the week too now, and plan to carry this on when the restrictions are lifted, as well as continuing the face to face class on Saturdays. Having the ability to deliver the classes online means that I can continue the weekday classes regardless of whether I am working elsewhere; I can deliver them from a hotel room if necessary. I’ll also give people the option to join the Saturday group virtually too, which is great because it means those that are not able to attend in person can keep in contact with our Beatz and Ab Attack family. And hopefully it’ll mean that Sharon can continue to join the group – it’s been pretty fun being able to tell her what to do, for a change :).

Anyone who wants to join in can find details on Facebook, by searching for either of my groups: Beatz Fitness Willenhall with Danny Arthur and Ab Attack with Danny Arthur.

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