The start of the pandemic meant that lifestyles had to face abrupt changes.
It was early on in the lockdown when gyms began to close and around-the-clock gear became unavailable. The new challenge for many was discovering how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, at home, with little-to-no equipment or knowledge.
“One of my goals was to target people who really needed it, as in people who felt unmotivated because there weren’t any gyms,” said Ashlee Ramdan, second-year undeclared student and social media fitness influencer.
Ramdan’s career on social media began about a year ago when California faced its first COVID-19 cases. She began to share her fitness journey and the exercises that helped her in achieving a healthier lifestyle.
Since then, her following has steadily increased and she now has more than 82,000 followers on Instagram and 331,000 followers on TikTok. She believes what sets her apart from other fitness influencers is her ability to communicate with her followers and relate to them on a deeper level, treating them like family.
She said her success comes from posting workouts that are accessible for people who don’t go out to exercise.
“All of my workouts are home-based and not a lot of people do that,” Ramdan said. “It’s mostly the gym. I didn’t think it was going to get this big. It’s so crazy to me, but it’s happening.”
Ramdan hopes to expand her brand, AshleeRamdanFit, in 2021. Her goal is to reach 100,000 followers on Instagram and build a bigger connection with her fans.
“She is funny and dorky, and I think everyone is just attracted to her and they can relate to her struggles and it’s honestly so heart warming,” said Eric Vasquez, Ramdan’s boyfriend. “I’m team Ashlee. When we started talking I actually bought a waist trainer from her. I didn’t get it until just a couple of weeks ago.”
Many individuals sought out to pursue healthier lifestyles in 2020, but with regulations continuously changing and gyms closing, they needed to look elsewhere for help and guidance.
“I didn’t start working out for myself until college,” said Eyja Groome, second-year journalism major. “When the gyms were open I used to go at night time but obviously gyms aren’t open so I can’t go.”
Groome then transitioned from gym to at-home workouts while still going to work and school.
“I try to do it in between classes,” Groome said. “I get my workouts from YouTube. They’re pretty effective. They’re not too hard, and they’re 10 minutes so they’re easy to fit into my life and they’re individual workouts so if I don’t have a lot of time I can choose one or the other.”
Groome said she thinks online workouts have gained popularity since the beginning of lockdown because they are easier to introduce into people’s lifestyles.
“I think that right now, online workouts are the most accessible for younger generations that don’t have money for expensive workout equipment,” Groome said.
The pandemic has changed Groome’s mindset regarding her health and wellbeing.
“I feel like I need to start looking at working out not as a bad thing,” Groome said. “I need to see working out as something I am excited to do and not as a punishment.”