For Maribeth Cox-Livingston, staying at home during the pandemic meant staying active.
Instead of falling into the COVID-19 slump, Cox-Livingston started broadcasting daily workouts for her 1,203 Facebook friends, garnering more than 200 views on most of her live-streamed workout routines. As a part-time instructor at Brick Bodies, she combined her clientele from BB with her online friends, creating a community of fitness enthusiasts to work out with.
“I love the members of Brick Bodies. It’s a wonderful community and I was already friends with many of them on Facebook. So, I wanted to stay connected with them, and then selfishly, I looked at the opportunity of being at home as a way of really improving and working on areas of my life that I wanted to work on,” she says.
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Fitness as therapy
Cox-Livingston’s day job is at a video production company. Her love for fitness began in the ’80s, coinciding with the heydays of Jane Fonda and VHS workout tapes. Since then, fitness has continued to remain as a form of therapy to her, she says.
“It makes me feel better mentally and physically. So that’s why I do it. And, if I can share that with other people and make them feel better mentally and physically, you know, why not do it?” she says.
On her Facebook, Cox-Livingston offers a wide variety of workout routines. Each week, she posts a schedule of workouts including live-streamed options and now her in-person classes at Brick Bodies in Reisterstown. For those who do not feel comfortable going back to the gym just yet, her live-streamed workouts are recorded, offering an at-home option while giving her audience workouts to choose from when she isn’t teaching.
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Cox-Livingston’s classes include an array of interesting options such as a “Fitness Poker” class or “Tabata Tuesday.”
“[For fitness poker] you get five cards. The first card tells you how many rounds of the circuit you have to do. And then the next four cards tell you, by the number on the face of the card, how many exercises you have to do. I pre-determine them, so a heart might mean jumping jacks, a king or diamond might be push-ups,” she says. “It’s very fun, because it’s planned. But the cards tell us how many things they are going to do. So, they can’t blame me, they blame the cards.”
The home workout
Online workouts do come with challenges. Being at home, many people do not have equipment, such as weights, to complete full workouts. However, Cox-Livingston created an interesting solution for her viewers without equipment.
“We did a suitcase workout, where you packed as many clothes as you could fit into a suitcase and we used that as a weight. We also did a laundry bag workout, where you got a laundry bag or a big garbage bag and same thing, you filled it with towels or whatever and used that as like a sandbag,” she says.
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The community her workouts have created has been a form of inspiration in her life, she admits. She says that her viewers have reached out with presents, gym instructor-themed gifts (including a mug that says “I’m a gym instructor, what’s your superpower?”), and even donations in her name to foundations such as the Ronald McDonald House.
“[In the livestream comments], I read these amazing stories and comments of people saying ‘Without this, I don’t know where I would be, you are keeping us connected,’ and it is so great to see. I’ll get on early to a Zoom workout and just let them talk to each other.” she says. “People use the exercise classes as an opportunity just to see each other and talk to each other.”
In terms of the future, Cox-Livingston says that online workouts could start becoming a norm for more and more people, due to the convenience and the ability to make your own workout schedule.
“I think working out at home is definitely going to be a thing,” she says. “I think that it’s going to because I never worked out at home before [COVID-19], like never ever ever. You know, I always needed the energy of other people in the room in order to do what I do. But now, because I have an online community, I’m fine with working out at home,” she says.
To work out with Cox-Livingston, follow her on Facebook or visit brickbodies.com.