Xiaoning Smith: You Must Adapt

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I’m a classical pianist by trade, and I’ve been wearing a few different hats in recent years. I don’t play professionally any more, but I own a music school in Northern New Jersey, where we offer private music lessons to about 300+ students. I accidentally got hired by lululemon (due to my love of their products and culture!), and I still work at the Flatiron store part time. I also have two boys aged ten and eight, and an entrepreneur of a husband that works a million hours and travels regularly, so I take care of good amount of domestic work, too.  

I’ll be honest, the first two to three weeks of quarantine was really rough for me. I suddenly became the maid, line cook, home school teacher, etc., without much notice. The most challenging part has been losing my space and peace at home, as having everyone home all day is chaotic and exhausting. I miss socializing with friends, but I’d give that up for my space at home on any given day. Work has been stressful too with my business, but we’re able to move most lessons virtually. I’m trying my best to keep the business going. 

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One day my dear friend Gerren Liles told me, while I was whining, “You must adapt!” Three very simple words, and it hit me hard. I realized that I was spending too much time and energy complaining and trying to figure out how I can get things back to normal. So I tried my best to change my mindset, and it has been very helpful. Currently the biggest challenge is probably the “every day is Groundhog Day” situation a lot of us are facing. The silver lining of this bizarre and unreal experience has been a full realization that we can’t control what life throws at us, but we have full control over how we react. 

Among all the craziness we’re dealing with, I think making healthy meals for my family and staying active has kept me sane. I’ve always enjoyed cooking and I’ve been cooking a LOT, trying out some new recipes. It’s therapeutic to me. FaceTiming with my parents who live in Beijing almost daily has also been very nice.

Training-wise I was a bit lost at the beginning. I have a decent amount of equipment at home, but I was very used to easy access to nice gyms and group fitness classes. Even though my workouts were a lot more intense before, somehow my body didn’t feel great working out at home. It took me a few weeks of trying different things to sort out a training regimen that works well. Currently my weekly program has been lifting 4x, HIIT workouts or jog 2-3x, daily core and mobility work, daily recovery, and one full rest day. It’s been good, and I’ve become quite creative with how to strength train with the pull-up bands! My stove as a low anchor has been my favorite set-up lately. I’m having loads of fun with it. 

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My message to our amazing D10 community is this: 
  1. Accept the reality we are in and find ways to adapt the best you can.  Stay compassionate to yourself and the ones surrounding you...we never know what others are going through, especially now. 
  2. Don’t downgrade your dreams because of the situation we are in. Instead, up your attitude and discipline and continue to honor them by doing the work daily. Even small steps count! 
  3. Carve out time to read, virtually connect with people, and belly laugh a bit daily; it’s good for the soul. 
Most importantly, I sincerely hope that our D10 community and the communities we live in continue to stay healthy and safe. I’ve realized in recent years that we are nobody and nothing without the people in our lives. As long as the people are there, we can rebuild anything. I miss all my fitness friends and teammates so much, and I can’t wait to see everyone and start training together again.