Ask anyone in the fitness industry, and this year will no doubt go down as the most financially crippling likely in their entire lifetime. Trainers, gym staff, studio owners- there’s no one left out of this toppling pyramid. And with the rug getting pulled out seemingly week after week, gym go-ers are just as confused as gym owners. It’s literally rally time for many small business owners.

We hear you. And while we don’t have a crystal ball we do have this platform. We spoke to Núcleo Fitness owner Marlene Kadin about the obstacles she’s faced during this pandemic.

In her own words…

Dealing with the abrupt change in business model, our old business model predicated on people walking through the door, and our new business model had to service people that you are not physically in front of, it was a major paradigm shift for a fitness instructor of any kind. Keeping the instructors engaged and connected and interested became quite challenging as time went on because they became tired of teaching to a screen in their living rooms and who can blame them.

The planning and uncertainty – most business people want to plan – the 6 month plan, the 1 year plan, the 3 year plan, and sometimes even the 5 year plan;  with COVID and the massive uncertainty I really struggled to accept that I could only look a few days forward – major personal battle that drove me to tears daily – I often felt paralyzed to make a single decision.

The Núcleo Community is the key to success of the studio – keeping people connected to each other, to the brand, to the instructors during 6 months of not seeing each other was very hard. Also keeping social media up – very challenging at times to know what to say when you just want to crawl under a rock.

Nucleo’s Marlene Kadin

I incurred no benefit from the government or my landlord.  While I do believe our government worked very hard and implemented some really great assistance, they did tantamount to nothing for small business.

Pivoting to virtual meant relying on the internet, and a whole host of audio and visual issues.  Honestly, if it wasn’t for the fact that my boyfriend is a audio engineer by profession, I would have lost my mind.  The tech issues were constant and stressful.  And guess what we all found out – the internet wasn’t built for all of us to stay at home and work, and do school and then fitness – the experience of losing your connection in the middle of a class  – not good.

Waking up daily for 12 weeks and asking myself “why am I doing this” and overcoming the inner desire to give up and walk away – a lot of effort to keep going as I basically bled money for 6 months.  I finally stopped asking myself that question in late July. My own personal fitness suffered.

Nucleo’s Marlene Kadin

I had to give up on my dreams – having 3 studios in the city – that’s pretty much gone.  But I am now starting to see that COVID might present the opportunity to build new ones. Implementing the free “class-in-the-grass” that I did every Friday morning at 7:00am in the Leaside field – and am still doing was the best decision I made all summer – good for my soul and for all those who came.  Fridays are my best day because of that class. My personal resilience – I am strong, and I had to dig deep, very deep to keep it together and present a positive outlook to my community and my instructors. I was overcome with gratitude of clients who repeatedly thanked me for keeping them moving and helping them with their mental and physical health, which was a huge motivator to just keep going.


Thank you to Marlene for sharing her struggles with Auburn Lane. We’re rooting for you and your league of talented instructors!

Check out Núcleo Fitness for their dynamic classes which include rowing, pilates, boxing and more.