COMMUNITY: Fitness instructor creates free workout videos during pandemic

2020 - rio hall

The Quakes and Wells Fargo are humbled and inspired by the amazing work of our frontline communities and neighbors in this time of crisis. Each week, we’ll be featuring and highlighting the work of one fantastic neighborhood hero, showcasing the great work they are doing and the organizations our community can rally around.

Additionally, a donation will be made to an organization or community project on behalf of each week’s hero. This week we will be donating to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation Small Business Relief Fund.

For many people, shelter in place has directly impacted their physical and mental health. Rio Hall, a fitness instructor at a boutique-style fitness company called Barry’s, has prioritized keeping his community physically and mentally healthy through this challenging time. 

When shelter in place was first announced, public businesses were shut down on a Monday. The following day, Rio got to work. He started making online workout and training videos, and posted them for free to his personal social media following. 

Because a large part of Rio’s personal fitness community has an online presence, he found it to be the perfect way to uphold a sense of routine while they cannot meet in person. Rio has been posting a list of exercises with full workout videos and explanations for his viewers to participate at home. 

Posting workout videos at the same time of day on a regular basis has helped his clients maintain a sense of accountability and consistency. “By keeping a strong body, you can have a strong mind,” says Rio.

For Rio, creating these workout videos has allowed him to stay centered. “Knowing I can help every day - it made me feel like I didn’t lose my place in the world,” he says. 

Growing up in Trinidad & Tobago, Rio had faced many adversities and found athletics and fitness to be his refuge through it all. 

In his young adulthood, Rio was hit by a drunk driver. In addition to barely escaping the incident alive, his hopes of becoming a professional soccer player were inevitably diminished. However, the end of one journey gave way to the beginning of another. He redirected his college major from engineering to physical therapy. Through studying nutrition and physical therapy, he was able to rehab his body from the incident. 

The transition gave Rio an opportunity to shift his focus. “I wanted to be someone who could help others in the way that I needed to be helped,” says Rio. 

He has been a fitness instructor and mentor for over 10 years. 

Rio was able to find a group of people that helped him build trust and a sense of safety. The friendships that were built through a common interest were a way for them to share experiences, work hard towards shared goals, and break down walls together. 

Knowing how fitness created such a positive change in his own life, Rio has used his experiences to fuel his passion for helping others grow and be their best self. 

“Do not fight against the current, go with the current,” he says. “Control the moments you can, and smile as much as possible.”