By Kathleen Mest
In the 908, we have many options to keep ourselves active. But COVID-19 has changed the fitness environment, particularly for indoor gyms and studios. Business as usual was kicked to the curb and walls were literally torn down.
I had an opportunity to ask Andrea Lowell about the current fitness landscape in the LBC. Andrea Lowell is a Long Beach native and has been a fitness professional for a decade. She has trained everyone from cast members of The Real Housewives to Ultra Runners! She is also a longevity expert, certified Raw Nutritionist, and Elite Level 5 Trainer at Iconix Fitness in Long Beach. She offers traditional Chinese Cupping Therapy at Iconix, in addition to myriad other methods and techniques to speed client’s muscular recovery.
908: What are some of the big changes that you have seen with fitness and gyms as a result of the pandemic?
Andrea: Gyms have had to be incredibly resilient and tenacious in order to stay afloat during the past 18 months! Iconix Fitness invested in incredibly effective anti-microbial air conditioning units and produced quality online fitness classes ranging from yoga to HIIT while gyms were shut down, and as a back-up plan for members’ well-being in case lockdowns return. Iconix also created additional outdoor workout areas: including full weight rooms, distanced group classes, meditation and sound baths, kickboxing, and tons of cardio equipment! Thankfully, we had already established outdoor spaces with several squat racks, athlete training, and barre, not to mention the best rooftop in Long Beach! Other local gyms took it to their parking lots, which was so beneficial for the community.
908: How do you see fitness being more important now?
Andrea: We know that a healthy physical condition is our best chance for success at navigating any issues that involve our body - ranging from immune system proficiency, recovery after a hard workout, restorative sleep, and a positive self-identity. With no end in sight to the variants, individuals must take responsibility for our best possible health outcome and decide how important our health is to us. It’s important to me and my clients that we do not get ill. And if we do, we can fearlessly fight anything off, because the severity of any illness will be decreased due to our prioritization of our fitness. I think the most imperative takeaway my clients and I have learned, especially these past 18 months, is to take radical responsibility, because the only thing we can really be sure of are the choices that we are making. We know that obesity, type II diabetes, heart conditions, and nutritional deficiencies are among the stealthiest and most cunning culprits leading to suffering the worst effects from an illness like Covid-19. Also, accomplishing a workout builds incredible self-esteem, which is a natural antidote for depression and anxiety! The body releases endorphins as a reward for exercising! How cool is that! Exercise IS a reward, not a punishment. The only difference is mental perspective. The trick is finding an activity that YOU enjoy, and sticking with it!
908: What are some of your favorite free activities to get our bodies moving that we can enjoy in Long Beach?
Andrea: Iconix offers free online classes (on-demand YouTube and Instagram) of the HIGHEST
caliber of production, variety, and level of coaching. During lockdowns, we also offer free outdoor community classes on the beachfront grass outside of the gym! One of my absolute favorite things to do is to take advantage of Long Beach’s expansive, paved boardwalk right on the sand! Grab your skates, walking shoes, board or bike (on the parallel bike path) for excellent people-watching, sunshine, fresh air, exercise, and feeling absolute freedom as the warm wind gusts on your skin! There are also calisthenics-driven free workout equipment throughout the city, usually found at various parks and along the bike path/beach. A staple of the unity and health consciousness of the LBC is the free, ongoing yoga classes at Bluff Park every Sunday morning at 11am (corner of Ocean Blvd & Junipero - you cannot miss it!). I love taking my Frisbee to the park, hanging my TRX suspension rig from a tree branch near the lighthouse, playing smash ball on the sand and creating my own FUN form of movement with my husband, friends, or strangers!! There is truly nothing holding back the prioritization of your physical well-being if you live in Long Beach (to say nothing of the countless Farmer’s Markets where the most fresh, nutrient dense foods can be found!)
908: Do you have any additional advice?
Andrea: The best time to get outside and play is when you feel like it the least! You’ll NEVER regret that decision, but you will regret not making it!
To connect with Andrea Lowell:
Self-awareness coaching: @theiameverythingproject