When Brett and Jessica Ash started work on opening their supplement business, Herc’s Nutrition, in the fall of 2019, they had no idea they were about to be faced with a global pandemic.
The Transcona-area shop, which sells protein powders, vitamins and more, was all set to open its doors to the public — but then COVID-19 restrictions came into effect.
“Throughout March (2020) is when the pandemic began, and not knowing what was going on, we continued to push our opening back, until eventually we had to open in May,” Brett Ash told Global Winnipeg.
“We really had no other choice but to keep going.”
Despite the rocky start, and the ongoing need to navigate obstacles like supply chain issues and inflation, Ash said business has picked up exponentially as Herc’s enters its fourth year — in part because its fitness-minded customers have been able to return to their pre-pandemic workout routines.
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Licensed health coach Shauna Muldrew of Ness Avenue business Infinity Nutrition and Health Coaching said the closure of gyms and other fitness facilities took a toll on her clients’ day-to-day lifestyles.
“Routines were removed for a lot of people when the pandemic happened, and that shone a lot of light into the need for routine,” Muldrew said.
“People thrive on routines and structure. And when that was taken away, I think a lot of people got into trouble with maintaining healthy habits.”
Stephen Dubienski, a sports psychologist at the University of Manitoba, told Global Winnipeg that it’s no easy feat to establish and stick to a fitness habit — and if that routine is interrupted, it can take a lot of time to get back on track.
Dubienski said keeping your sleep in check is a key factor to restarting a routine, as are proper nutrition and a focus on mental health.
“The economy’s tough right now. Financial times are tough, so there’s a lot of mental load that’s being put on people that maybe they didn’t experience before or post-pandemic that now that they have to really be cognizant of,” he said.
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