Opinion

FaceTime in the gym? Yes, that's a thing – and it helps clear the mind

6 min read

30 January 2019

When you're the boss, exercise can easily slip down your list of priorities. But have you tried a combo of FaceTime and gym? Here's what happened when Fiona Blades gave it a go.

As the leader of a global business, I travel extensively, not only spending time with my colleagues in our different offices but also speaking at a number of conferences. This really puts pressure on my health and fitness routines.

Nevertheless, I wanted to improve my fitness as I am a firm believer that it can really enhance your business performance. Physical exertion is a great way to switch off and empty your mind by having to focus on something completely different. 

Working in a creative industry where lateral thinking is really important to solve thorny client business problems, clearing your mind is great way to encourage new ideas to flow. 

For me, there was also the added benefit of using improved fitness to help me manage my epilepsy. 

I had been taking drugs to manage this condition for years and had seen the benefits yoga gave me in managing my condition and eventually leading to me not needing to take medication anymore.

How did my fitness training go?

When I went to New York a few years ago, it seemed like everyone had a personal trainer. Also, the apartment block which I rented had a gym on the ground floor, so this seemed like the perfect chance to kick start fitness training. 

I never had the luxury of popping down to the gym and coming back up to my own apartment for a shower. There was a chance that this was sufficiently easy to slot in some training before work that I might actually be able to do this. 

I knew I needed help with motivation – I love doing my yoga but I’m not so keen on fitness regimes!  Motivation was going to be a challenge, as was my schedule.

So I enlisted Victor to be my personal trainer. Victor was amazing and highly motivating. However, with travelling so much, I found my training lapsing, even though Victor gave me work-outs to do in hotel rooms.

Then a life-changing event happened. Victor had a motorcycle accident and was paralysed. He was in hospital for months. 

After a few months, he offered to find me another trainer. However, I knew that I liked working with Victor and it was the motivation I needed more than anything. So he suggested training via FaceTime.

What a revelation! Firstly, Victor can see so much more than I thought he would be able to – he can see if my back muscles are working or my posture needs improvement – so there is no cheating with a half-hearted push-up! 

Secondly, Victor travels with me and we visit gyms all over the world – as well as exercising at relatives’ houses in the garden and front room – wherever I am, Victor is with me.

We meet on FaceTime once a week at the weekend and then I do some training on my own during the week, using Victor’s exercises.

What were the results of my fitness training?

This way of training has worked really well for me. Previously, travelling had given me an opt-out for fitness training.

What’s happened is that Victor doesn’t let me off the hook when I’m travelling, oh no – we book a slot wherever I am in the world, so I can always train. Victor has also sent me resistance bands that I can easily pack in a bag so that when there isn’t a gym, I can still have some equipment.

And the consistency of working with the same person every week gives me a sense of stability, whatever time zone my body clock is dealing with.

I’ve found the fitness training really beneficial – I can concentrate for longer at work, I feel better and I sleep better. It’s also had a knock-on effect in that I am more conscious of my eating habits now, not just what I eat, but when I eat. Victor provides advice here too. 

Using FaceTime has been great – if only to impress my nieces and nephews that I’m in the swim on technology!  

On a serious note; it hasn’t been a barrier to the way Victor and I communicate and has provided a real convenience to my workouts and kept me in the habit of exercise.

Victor has kept his business going and I can do a workout wherever I am in the world.

Fiona Blades is chief experience officer and president at MESH Experience.