The fitness industry in the Philippines has endured some of the harshest consequences of the pandemic, with most clubs closed and Instructors locked down since March 2020. Les Mills Asia Pacific caught up with Maurice Lu to find out how he coped and stayed strong with the relentless challenges that the pandemic created in his country.
Maurice Lu (most often called ‘Mau’) has been teaching BODYPUMP® for nine years and RPM® for six years. “I’m currently a group fitness team leader for the club I work for, and on the side I have my own ‘driver for hire’ business.”
When it comes to the challenges brought on by COVID-19, Mau says “The biggest change for me was not being able to work and receive regular pay for over 10 months. I’m very fortunate to have a roof over my head and parents to support me during this time, but the stress of not being able to contribute and earn money was unbearable, at times. This year was extra difficult on our family having lost three relatives to various illnesses. I made the choice to seek help from a psychiatrist to help me cope with all the emotional baggage I was carrying.”
“Every time I needed a breather from life’s challenges, I engaged myself in new hobbies such us outdoor cycling and indoor climbing! I also made it a point to reconnect with old friends. I learned the importance of friendship during this lockdown, and how much we need each other.”
When lockdowns finally lifted, Mau returned to teaching. “Nothing beats the live experience. The reaction of the members when you play their favourite song or the feedback you get from them post-class is priceless. I knew that once members returned to group fitness, they would need all the help they could get to regain their health and fitness. That was more than enough motivation for me to return.”
“The first class back felt surreal! I could compare it to the first time I taught a class after Initial Module Training. I was fumbling my words during the intro, and I focused on cueing clearly throughout the class, but there was a point where I teared up because I missed teaching classes and I missed seeing the members. I’d be lying if I said that everything turned out perfectly; but it’s a step in the right direction for sure.”
When it comes to staying strong Mau says, “There were moments where I felt like giving up. Everything around me seemed bleak and I felt so alone. But here I am today. I chose to push forward with my life because there’s still so much more I could do for myself and for others.”
“Honestly, the struggle continues to this day, but things seem to be looking up. The best advice I could give to those who are going through tough times is that don’t be scared to ask for help. Know that there are people that love and support you. In times such as this, we only have each other to lean on. I’m hoping that 2022 will be a better year for all of us.”