Surviving a Pandemic as a Gym Owner

Kristin Lewis
May 13, 2020

I operate a group of fitness studios and can remember watching the Prime Minister’s press conference on the evening of Sunday 22nd March where I learnt that our business would need to close by 12noon the following day in response to covid19. I don’t think I slept much that night as my mind went into overdrive about what this meant for our business, staff, clients and my family.

The next 7 days were one of the most unusual and challenging times that I’ve experienced as we went into damage control. Each of my days was spent making and receiving phone calls with all the various groups attached to our business as well as concerned friends and family. I tried to do some forward planning for the sake of our business but I just didn’t have the available mental reserve to think clearly. Over this time I also sought counsel from some of the key people in my life who’s input I value highly because of their intellect, wisdom and experience. This included both the chairman of my business and also my ‘spiritual director’ – a wise bloke who always seems to be able to challenge me to see the wood from the trees.

Life has found it’s ‘new normal’ now and I’ve spent time thinking about all of the things that I’ve learnt and am still learning over this time that I want to hold on to. These include – 

  • The value of human relationships over task – it’s almost hard for me to write these words as a ‘task orientated’ person but I’ve been overwhelmed by the support that my business, my family and I received over this period from people that we know as well as some unexpected sources. I’ve realised that I often approach life as a ‘race’ instead of being present in each situation that I find myself in so am hoping to take this philosophy forwards to really value each person and interaction in my day, regardless of how insignificant it may seem.
  • An extension of these relationships and perhaps the most important human relationships are my family. I’ve realised over this period that there are many times when I take my wife and little girls for granted and put them ‘last’ behind work. I’m grateful for being ‘forced’ to notice this and have made some steps to improve in this area!
  • We’re not in control. I’ve realised over this period how much I try and control/manage all aspects of my life….this makes me feel good but is ultimately a false reality. Covid19 has shown me that despite my careful planning, I didn’t see this coming, nor did I have contingencies in place to be ready. As a Christian, I’ve taken a lot of comfort from Psalm 46 and particularly this sentence:  ‘Be still and know that I am God’. This reminds me that despite my best efforts of scurrying around to make ‘my’ plans, I’m under God’s watch……this also gives me a sense of peace knowing that God has an overarching plan despite the chaos that is in front of me!

Kristin Lewis is a former national level road cyclist and managing director of a group of fitness businesses - Life Personal Trainers and Echelon Cycling Studio. After becoming a Christian in his mid 20s, Kristin attends Unley Park Baptist Church with his wife Tanya and their four girls.

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