Virtual Fitness: A 2020 Wellness Byproduct That’s Here To Stay Feat. Goli Hashtroudi Cramer

Image Source: Goli Hashtroudi Cramer
Image Source: Goli Hashtroudi Cramer

Exercise at the comfort and security of one's own home.

 In the first quarter of 2020, many fitness centers and gyms found themselves to be amongst the many business ventures that had to close their doors due to strict COVID-19 quarantine rules. Following the unanticipated changes came the rise in the sale of virtual fitness classes, exercise machines and at-home workout items acclaimed by health and fitness enthusiasts who wanted to maintain their self-care routines. Fast forward to the second quarter of 2021, even with the renewal of gyms and fitness centers in many regions, people have continued to indulge in the versatility and security of at-home fitness. So that raises the question, is virtual fitness here to stay for good? 

Contributing Editor, Athwifa Saleem talks to Goli Hashtroudi Cramer, fitness trainer and wellness enthusiast in Dubai to get her feedback on where she thinks the fitness world is headed from here.

Meet Goli Hashtroudi Cramer, one of the region’s well-reputed yoga & pilates instructor and TRX trainer who has been conducting various virtual programs since 2008. Cramer explains how and why virtual fitness, a trend that gained momentum in 2020 with the onset of the pandemic, is here to stay. 

About Goli 

Goli has been on the pinnacle of delivering personally customized training for her clients as well as conducting group exercise classes in person and virtually since 2000. Goli is currently in the pursuit of providing rehabilitation-oriented fitness such as Pilates, Reformer & Aerial Yoga for her clients, where she is driven by her ability to improve her clients’ quality of life – both physically and mentally. Goli has also appeared in various publications such as Shape, Men’s Fitness, Time Out, and PositiveMed where she has published an array of fitness articles and videos over the past years.

Image Source: Goli Hashtroudi Cramer
Image Source: Goli Hashtroudi Cramer

1. Firstly, could you share with us how you started your career in yoga and fitness? 

 At a young age, I realized that I had a penchant for all things fitness, movement, and music, and the rest is history! From there on, I pursued on to learn and gain certifications to be a qualified instructor. After a few years, I realized that I craved more than the physical aspect of fitness, hence I pursued a body balance course and progressively gained qualifications to teach pilates and yoga.

 2. How did you keep up with yoga sessions for your clients during the initial onset of the pandemic? 

 With the onset of the pandemic, it was quite a difficult and shocking phase as it was the first time that gyms and studios were closed. Hence, I started doing Instagram live classes to help my clients and students not only continue with their practice but also to help cope with the pressure. After a while, I realized that there was an imbalance due to the absence of interaction with the community. From there on I switched the daily virtual classes to Zoom so I could interact with them and be more personal. They were so appreciative of the idea as it allowed them to connect and interact with each other again.

 3. What do you think that virtual fitness will look like in the future? (e.g. Virtual Reality). What do you predict will happen to in-person class workouts? 

Well, if you think about it, some of them enjoy physically being in an environment with others and they get inspired from it. So I believe that the in-person classes will still be in demand. Many just have enough time in their day to squeeze in a workout or move abroad, or attend from another country – for that specific session with that instructor. They will always have that opportunity from now on to attend our virtual classes. 

4. In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of virtual workouts versus in-person? 

 With virtual workouts, the chances of ‘missing’ a workout in a day are less than 10% where before it may have been 50/50. Especially with families, it is a great way to inspire children to enjoy some movement throughout the day. With in-person workout sessions, it proves as an opportunity to schedule a ‘me’ time away from our work or home environment without distraction. We  generally put in more effort when we’re being watched by an instructor or others.

Image Source: Goli Hashtroudi Cramer
Image Source: Goli Hashtroudi Cramer

5. What would be some of the important tips you’d like to share with the readers on how to stay accountable whilst following a virtual fitness program? 

If it’s a training session with an instructor, I would highly suggest keeping your webcam on during the session. Also having a tracking device to keep in check of the calories you burn and your heart rate each session can give you a general insight into how effective your workouts are. Have a goal before you start the session, remind yourself what is your goal and why you are doing it.

 6. Since COVID there has been an influx of global brands like Peleton or new instructors like Melissa Wood Health. How do you stay niche with your content and add that personal edge for your followers? 

I make sure to keep my sessions with my clients and attendees well effective and interesting by constantly changing the movements and incorporating various new techniques in the programs. I keep their goals in my mind and check in with them to see if they are getting closer to or achieving them as well as making sure they have an experience, not just a workout with each session. 

To know more about Goli as well information regarding her training sessions, you can check more out here: 

About The Editor

Athwifa is a business graduate of Sikkim Manipal University and has been on the pursuit of enhancing her career as a content writer, in the past contributing to coveted publications in the region such as Harper’s Bazaar Arabia. Athwifa is passionate about culture, food, hospitality and wellness as well as scouting the latest trends.