Burnaby fitness instructor Ryoko Donald does not want to focus on her recent layoff from Steve Nash Fitness World and Sports Club. Instead, she wants to help her students stay healthy.
To that end, she has started giving free fitness classes on Facebook and Instagram.
“My girls … say she’s a single lady, self-isolating – she’s going to be stuck at home,” Donald said of her clients, whom she hopes will join her online.
Donald is giving half-hour classes online Monday through Friday at noon, she said.
“To create positiveness, happiness and feel good, you have to work so hard. It’s moving and smiling and breathing,” she said. “That’s all it takes for stress management.”
Exercise is especially important now, she said, adding she likes to keep things light.
“When you open up social media, TV, everything is scary. But my page, when I go live, I just keep smiling, doing silly stuff,” Donald said. “Whatever I can do for them to just come out of their darkness, for 30 minutes, 20 minutes, like ‘ah, she’s crazy’ – that’s good enough for me.”
Teaching classes gives her a purpose and a way to help during the COVID-19 pandemic, Donald said.
“I need to serve others when it’s really needed,” she said. “It makes my day and it’s helping me.”
Fitness helped her after years of being unhealthy and feeling bad about herself, she added.
“Growing up in Japan I was overweight, I was suicidal, I was depressed,” she said. “I just didn’t like myself.”
But after attending classes at Fit City for Women in Burnaby, she started to notice a change, she said.
“Then I start learning how to eat. I start showing muscle tone, I learned weight training, and then I started to be able to control, even, my mind,” she said.
“I get negative, I move lightly, moderately, and I feel happy. And that becomes my skill to stay positive.
“It’s amazing how I transformed,” Donald said, attributing it to physical fitness, clean eating and yoga.
Donald has been teaching fitness classes since 2007. Everyone is welcome to join her Fitness with Ryoko free online classes.
She leaves the sessions up on her page so people can exercise when it works for them, she said.
She mixes it up, doing Tabata intervals one day, abs and core another. Each day has its own focus.
“It’s short, a little bit goofy, a little bit silly sometimes, to make them laugh,” she said.