Jaime Espalin gives his members personalized coaching every time they enter Fenix Strength and Conditioning, which he co-owns with his wife, Maria.

Espalin is continuing to provide them instruction even while gym facilities are shut down due to COVID-19. With the help of PushPress Gym software, Fenix’s members can still receive Espalin’s coaching while they work out at home.

“I’m invading people’s homes digitally because I can’t be there to coach them personally,” Espalin said. “I have an app. When people pay and get a membership they get access to our workouts, every day, it’s very interactive.”

Espalin views his gym as providing more than physical workouts, but also as a place for strong relationships with a community of about 130 members – and he believes that as even more important now during the COVID-19 shutdown.

“We have a private Facebook page for the members,” Espalin said. “For me that’s been the saving grace for this business at this stage is the fact our community is tight knit.

“Community is what we’re lacking right now because we have to stay home, can only go to the grocery store, and don’t want to be around people because everyone is fearful we’re going to get sick and die. We’re providing community, where we do videos and encourage members to Facetime each other while they’re working out — that can be super helpful.”

Espalin’s continued coaching and the community connection have been uplifting for Fenix member NieVong Thao, who was “feeling lost and worried,” after her final workout session before the gym ban.

“Fenix not only provided the essential equipment needed for all workout programming, but it is my safe place, my stress reliever and my outlet,” Thao said. “I have worked out every day since the gym closed, due to the programming Coach Jaime has provided.

”He encourages us all to continue to move daily, stay positive and to get in the Bible and pray. Transitioning to online workout programs has been a blessing.”

The Espalins are Oral Roberts University graduates who moved to Tulsa in 2000 and opened Fenix three years ago. They have lost a few members during the shutdown but have gained six.

“We do it together,” Espalin said. “The biggest thing I’ve communicated is ‘we’re better together.’ There’s an old African proverb that says, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. We don’t push religion here, but a majority of our members are Christians, and at the end of workouts we’ll pray together, lifting each other up spiritually as well as mentally. It’s encouraging everybody.

“We created this gym for people to come together, if it’s a barbell or whatever we do. It’s more about a message of hope in these dark times, uncertain times than it is about how much I can get out of this — my business will be fine, it’s more about us helping set people up to win.”

Contact information for Fenix Strength and Conditioning is: fenixstrong.com and 918-619-3290.


Gallery: How coronavirus has affected life around Tulsa

Barry Lewis 918-581-8393


Twitter: @BarryLewisTW

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