By Chloe Harbilas
Growing up as a competitive skier in Colorado, Gena Wueste was determined to incorporate athletic training into her daily routine for the rest of her life. At college, though, she no longer had the time to ski, and transitioning out of her sport was rocky.
But after she developed a severe eating disorder, Wueste fell back on her foundations of fitness and nutrition as methods of healing. She went on to study exercise physiology and sports medicine, which fueled her desire to coach others.
Now a professional trainer in Newport Beach at age 54, Wueste uses an intuitive approach that helps her clients create healthy relationships with their bodies.
Once COVID-19 hit and shelter-in-place orders were enacted, she began posting daily workout videos on Instagram. She figured she could do her part by motivating people to workout and giving them something to look forward to.
“Genahealth,” her Instagram account that now features free daily workout videos, attracted a community of 500 followers from around the country in just a couple of weeks. Referring to them as the “quaranTEAM”, Wueste formed new connections and rekindled friendships. She re-reconnected with a friend from New York after 15 years, for example, and now they are part of the same workout team.
She also began writing blog posts on her website to further help people navigate through social distancing. Her latest edition is about cultivating connections again, which she believes are crucial to get through periods of isolation.
Her “simple” motto: think of others before yourself.
Recently she reached out to her homeowners’ association to put a memo in the community newsletter, saying she wanted to help support health-care workers. Little by little, members of her community dropped off supplies such as masks, water, and lotion to support the workers. She distributed the supplies to her local hospital.
Through guided meditations and maintaining a balanced diet of nutrient foods, Wueste said, she has stayed mentally and physically healthy in quarantine. She prioritizes social connections, scheduling check-ins with family and friends.
In this stressful time, Wueste advises to take a step back, be patient, and see where others are coming from. “We need to get back to the basics of treating people with kindness,” she said.