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by Yan Li


24th January 2020 is a day I will never forget. It’s that day that Wuhan blocked off the city due to the severe epidemic of a new pneumonia, now known as Covid-19. We were supposed to be in the midst of a lively Spring Festival and enjoying a time for family reunion, but instead the bustling city was shrouded in panic. 

My name is Yan Li (Nick), and with my wife Yu Xiaocao (Robin), we’ve been confined to our home in Wuhan ever since. We had some exciting training plans to coincide with the Spring Festival but the closure of the city threw everything out the window. Unable to work and with no income, we were really anxious and our usually positive mood hit an all-time low.  

We knew we needed to adjust our mindset, so we set ourselves up for some at-home training. We had no equipment so we had to make use of some milk buckets for weights. We started broadcasting live workouts across some of our platforms so we could help everyone connect, experience the health benefits of exercise and stay on track with exercise. We found this was key to maintaining a positive attitude when faced with home isolation. 

While we were passing on love, we started to receive encouragement and love from everyone in return. Instructors and trainers from all over the country have sent support. Les Mills China provided ongoing encouragement and even sent us equipment. These small acts gave us even more courage. 

Now, thanks to the joint efforts of the people and medical workers across the country, the situation in China is getting better by the day. Major cities have resumed work in an orderly manner. Best of all, Wuhan has not reported any new cases for several days. We can feel that the entire city is slowly coming back to life. We are now entering a traditional celebration called the Long March of Yingfei Cao, which is a good time for everything to recover and to be full of vitality. 

Our thoughts are now with all of the other countries that are suffering. 

This experience has taught us to keep working hard and never stop making ourselves better, because as long as we feel strong we will have the courage we need. We can always start from scratch, nothing can overwhelm us. People say that Wuhan is a heroic city and that the people of Wuhan are heroes. We believe that it is up to each individual to be their own hero. 

There is old Chinese saying: The plague began in heavy snow in the winter solstice, it grew during the long cold winter, flourished in the early spring and then began to weaken in the rain. It succumbed to shock in the spring equinox and died in Qingming. 

With Qingming on the horizon I see victory beckoning to us. 

(Qingming is a traditional Chinese festival in early April each year) 

Yan Li is a BODYATTACK™ and BODYSTEP™ presenter for Les Mills China. Yu Xiaocao is the Head Program Coach for LES MILLS BARRE™, a BODYPUMP™ trainer, and also a BODYBALANCE™/BODYFLOW® presenter. They are based in Wuhan.