By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. Editor
SWEAT DC founder Gerard “Coach G” Burley shared the importance of putting one’s health first during these difficult times. (Courtesy Photo)
While COVID-19 might have resulted in the closing of most gyms and fitness studios, Gerard Burley, founder of SWEAT DC, is encouraging people to still move their bodies and put their health first.
“Your body’s all you got. Don’t wait until the doctor says you’ve got to go [to the gym],” Burley, affectionately known as Coach G, told the AFRO in a Facebook Live interview.
With more than 15 years in health and fitness, Coach G has found prioritizing health is important in ensuring that working out even happens.
“It’s so powerful to put [exercising] on your work schedule, not your personal schedule. Put it on your work calendar, because you’re telling yourself that you are just as important as your meetings and other things that are scheduled,” Coach G recommended. “Call it physical therapy- just how you call it changes your dynamic of how important it is to you. Or call it your mental health, whatever it needs to be.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic and horrors of police brutality and racism, Coach G, also said exercise is important to mental healthcare.
“For me the whole point of fitness is emotional and mental health first- and even just the mental health of saying, ‘I’m taking time to do something for no one else but myself,’” he said.
While some might look at taking time out for oneself as selfish, Coach G said the key to prioritizing fitness is owning the importance of being healthy for one’s self and others.
“When you start taking ownership, you start reacting differently, because you don’t want to say ‘My health isn’t important to me.’ And that is something that we really have to face,” the fitness entrepreneur said.
Having lost his mother to congestive heart failure suddenly, Coach G, knows the importance of putting one’s self first.
“Very similarly to a lot of women, especially a lot of Black women, [she] put everyone before herself,” he said.
“I want more women to be able to think, ‘I’m not going to put everyone else first, I’m going to put myself first because when I put myself first and fill up my cup first, I’m actually a better mom, I’m actually a better sister, I’m actually a better community leader.’ And we need you,” Coach G said.
The reason why Coach G emphasizes accessibility and inclusivity at SWEAT DC is because he wants to be able to help people just like his mother.
“I want to be able to create a space where I can say ‘I see you, I’m here to support you and I’m here to help you through in making sure you’re putting yourself first.’”
Now that the doors of SWEAT DC are temporarily closed, Coach G encourages people to join him in sweating “anywhere.”
The virtual platform SWEAT Anywhere is accessible, not only because you have to just get online, but from a price point as well.
“One of the big things we wanted to make sure we achieve through our virtual platform was one- we wanted to be accessible. Our rate is $50 a month, so if you think of it, that’s like a $1.50 a day, very accessible price point… D.C.’s a very expensive city so a really looked at it like a lot of people are going through financial trials, so I wanted to be able to reach a wider network of people,” he said.
SWEAT Anywhere also offers online fitness classes, nutritional resources and an opportunity to sweat with instructors from all around the nation and world.
“[We have instructors] from all over the country, [and] a brother and sister from Toronto,” he said. “We also partnered with two other Black-owned studios – The Loft Atlanta, giving you that ATL fire, you know that’s a different kind of [workout]… We’re excited to work with them and Energy Transformation Studio in Baltimore, and they’re bringing, not just strength training, but also food and nutrition. We partnered with a doctor, Dr. Mirza, who works at Children’s Hospital and she comes on every week just to answer people’s platforms. So we really wanted a dynamic platform that stretched beyond just fitness and workout, but really a platform that would help support people with everything they need during this time.”
To join SWEAT DC’s virtual platform, visit www. sweat-anywhere.com and to keep up with Coach G, follow him on Instagram @CoachGFitness.