By Mike Kinney
While the COVID-19 pandemic has forced Latona Whitaker to temporarily close Get It Girl Fitness in El Sobrante, the fitness guru known for inspiring health within the community believes her services are especially needed now.
“A lot of ladies have come so far with their fitness goals and and I beg them not to just throw all of that hard work away,” Whitaker said.
Exercise is a way to release stress from the quarantine, so Whitaker has gone virtual to ensure her clients stay on track.
“Coach LT” is offering three virtual classes daily, streaming them live on her private Facebook page and on Zoom. She also provides free community fitness classes once a week on her public Facebook page. She’s brought in guest instructors to keep clients motivated. Whitaker goes beyond the workout to relieve stress.
“I have also continued my social events by hosting virtual paint nights and movie nights,” she said.
Whitaker coached track and field at Hercules High and Diablo Valley College and served as a police officer for 10 years before opening Get It Girl Fitness at 3550 San Pablo Dam Road. At her fitness center, women looking to get in shape can do so in “a fun, judgment-free zone,” she said.
Having to close during the shelter-in-place order has been stressful, she said.
“My program is built on the interaction of my clients with each other in class,” Whitaker said. “I’ve had to go completely virtual and it’s hard to get that interaction from one side of a computer screen.”
High unemployment caused by the shelter-in-place order have meant some clients can no longer afford the monthly fees.
“I’ve given scholarships to those in need, but in turn I still need to pay my lease and utilities so I have a studio to go back too when this is over,” Whitaker said.
It’s all part of Whitaker’s broader goal of making a difference in the health and wellness of community members.
“I just want my community to stay focused and continue to make their health a priority,” she said.