Q&A with personal trainer Tim Browning: "It’s not all about training. It’s about mental health."

With classes at Big Dog Boxing, St. Clair County Community College, Viking Fitness Marysville, and the YMCA of the Blue Water Area, personal trainer Tim Browning has built up a sizable following throughout the region. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has seemingly halted the progress of both Tim’s business and his clients’ personal gains.

Except that’s not necessarily the case. Rather than take a breather, Tim has moved his fitness classes online to the Zoom teleconferencing app. His classes, held every morning Monday through Friday with night classes Mondays and Wednesdays, have allowed his clients to continue their workout regimens. But perhaps more importantly than any physical fitness achievements, the classes have served as a source of mental health and wellness for both his students and Tim himself.

It’s one of the reasons that Tim has made his online classes free and open to the public.

We asked him all about it.

Q: Tell us about your Hiit it hard with Tim at home fitness classes.

A: Before the coronavirus, I built up a dedicated following. I build their confidence, boost up egos. I try to make them realize that they’re already their future selves, that it’s already in there. You build up their confidence so that they dedicate themselves.

Building up their confidence, I had good relationships with them. So when we did get the coronavirus here, they already knew and believed in themselves.

We have the Zoom classes, so you can work out from your house, through the computer. It’s good for what it is now, but it doesn’t compare to being in-person where I can get in their faces like a drill sergeant.

Even on Sundays, we’d be at the gym. That was our getaway. You’re at work or at home — the gym means a getaway. And then we’d go out for breakfast or coffee after every day. We don’t have that anymore. That’s probably the most difficult thing, not being able to hang out.

Now we have Zoom, sometimes we just get on there and talk and socialize. We’ll have happy hours on Fridays. You have to use what you’ve got. We’re thankful for the ability.

But when we get off this quarantine we’re gonna hit the gym like never before.

Q: How can fitness classes help in times of stay-at-home orders and shutdowns?

A: It’s important to take care of mental health, to keep your sanity. You can jump in on Zoom and see familiar faces, see that people are doing good. And after class, we chat a bit. Just to keep sane, see a familiar face and that we’re all going through it. We all gotta do our part and strive for the next day.

I try and encourage everyone that working out is good, it keeps you fit and keeps you healthy. But it also helps with the mental side, that everything will be alright. You just gotta trust yourself. I try to bring that out of them.

Q: How can people join?

A: Just look me up on Facebook. We’ll give you a link and a password. Everything’s free and everyone’s invited. We have happy hours, we’ll talk about fitness, travel — it’s not all about training, it’s about mental health.

Everyone’s invited. If I could train the whole world, I would. I don’t want anybody to be scared. You might be new, but we’re all family.

Visit the Hiit it hard with Tim at home Facebook group to join Tim’s fitness classes.

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