Front-line medical worker and fitness trainer Jayne Spagnola brings hope to all she meets during this era of Covid pandemic
In a year when the pandemic changed our lives, there are many reasons to be grateful. With the current COVID 19 viruses raging throughout the world infecting more than 65 million people while killing nearly 1.6 million, no team is more important than the front-line medical staff. Mode Lifestyle Magazine managed to catch up with Jayne Spagnola, multi-tasking as a member of an emergency room, medical team, as well as being a fitness trainer teaching her followers how to stay heathy.
MODE: Since you work in the emergency room as a medical technician, please share with our readers your life working with COVID patients. Jayne: Working as a team in the emergency room we wear the appropriate PPEs for the relevant cases. We are constantly washing our hands before and after every patient. When working with COVID patients, we wear N95s together with surgical masks, eye protection (face shield/goggles), coveralls, and double or triple gloves. We follow the rules to protect ourselves and others in the emergency department.
I make sure never to wear my work clothes home. I change into scrubs at the hospital, so I am not contaminating my house with my clothes. I do not wear a mask at home, however, we maintain our social distance. There is no hugging or kissing anymore, which has been incredibly sad and extremely difficult, but we have learned to cope with it because we must.
MODE:Share with us the journey of COVID 19 virus as it affects a patient from the early symptoms upon admission to the hospital emergency room, through to life support breathing on a ventilator and unfortunately possible death. How does a dying patient say “Goodbye, I love you” to his or her family?
Jayne: Currently, we are seeing many patients exhibiting mild symptoms at first and can stay home anywhere from 3-7 days to monitor their symptoms. Patients with low oxygen saturation levels, dehydration, and/or extreme fatigue, are tested for COVID. If tested positive, then the patient is admitted and COVID treatment commences. Patients experiencing worsening oxygen saturation levels needs increasing oxygen supply from a simple nasal cannula to high flow oxygen to even ventilator support as a last resort if those are their wishes. Healthcare providers discuss the patient’s wishes for the use of ventilators and CPR when the patient is admitted to the Emergency Department.
Unfortunately, death is a reality with this virus. Some patients die quickly, and some patients fight until their body shuts down. As healthcare providers, we have become our patient’s families, friends, and a shoulder to lean on. They are scared, and we are there holding their hands, hugging them, talking to them and their families.
From the nurses upstairs, Zoom calls connect the patients with their families. If a COVID patient is dying in the emergency department, then we will allow additional family members to come and say their goodbyes, but they are not allowed in the room. One of the most challenging occasions was watching a daughter sit outside her father’s room for ten hours as he passed away, and his wife, also a COVID patient, said her goodbyes as her husband passed by on a stretcher.
MODE: From your perspective what are your thoughts about the vaccines recently being distributed to fight COVID 19? Will you and your family take the vaccine? Jayne: Sign me up for the vaccine. I need it for the safety of my health, patients, and coworkers. Sure 2020 was a struggle and a learning experience, but 2021 will give us the opportunity to improve healthcare conquering the virus. At the end of the pandemic, I believe all healthcare workers will come out stronger, more compassionate, and more resilient.
MODE: Besides working as an emergency room technician, you are an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer. How, when, and why did you become a fitness trainer? Jayne: I like to motivate, inspire, and change people’s lives. From my medical career I am a deeply passionate and caring person, which led me into physical fitness. For the past 38 years, I have been in physical fitness and healthcare, one overshadows the other, as fitness is my outlet to healthcare.
In 1981, I started teaching group fitness classes which led me to become a personal trainer 12 years ago. I presently teach group fitness at Lifetime Fitness and Titans Gym. Additionally, I hold certificates in ISSA personal training, kickboxing, pilates, bootcamp, sports and conditioning, kettlebell training and cycling to mention a few.
MODE: Your social media presence on Facebook and Instagram is an everyday love affair with fitness. How do you at 60 years old manage to maintain such a constant and intense level of exercise? Jayne: Social media has become an essential part of promoting my business, so it does not feel like a job. I genuinely believe if one loves what they do, they never work a day in their life. I love challenging myself to be creative with my workouts and sharing my creativity with my followers. It is not about how many likes or views I get. If one person benefits from my posts, that is what matters to me.
MODE: Fashion is everywhere, on the streets and in the fitness club. You frequently sport designer leggings and colorful crop tops. Share your thoughts about fashion in the fitness center. Jayne: Fashion in the fitness industry has grown tremendously within the last five years. Fitness fashion is no longer just for fitness. One can also wear fitness clothes as everyday wear. For example, you can dress up a pair of black leggings for the gym and again to go out to dinner.
I have a few favorite companies, which are Reebok sportswear, Fabletics, and Nike. Colorful leggings and crop tops seem to be the trend right now, and I enjoy sporting both. No matter what age or gender one is, if they take the time to spruce their fitness wardrobe, they will look better and feel better and have better workouts.
MODE: Congratulations for being voted “Top Personal Trainer” for 2020 by The Best of Cleveland. Tell us about the competition. How does a trainer qualify for the competition? Since you are the best of the best personal fitness trainers, where do you go from here? Jayne: In 2018, I made the top ten and then made the top three in 2019. My goal was to make it to the top personal trainer, which I successfully did in 2020. I became qualified for the competition by being nominated and then the votes are tallied. Now that I have completed my goal, I would like to repeat in 2021. The Best of Cleveland includes all top businesses such as restaurants, entertainment, shops, and services.
MODE: How would an overweight person who prefers to watch television rather than jog 5 miles a day set health-related goals for 2021 and keep them? Jayne: First, shut the TV off, and become more active. Whether walking once a day or parking further from the grocery store, it starts with baby steps. It is important to set goals that are attainable and realistic.
A fitness journey should be enjoyable. For example, if someone likes to dance, they should play uplifting music and dance to it. If someone enjoys biking, then they should take a cycle class or go outside and bike. One must find their passion when working out making the process more enjoyable. Follow my YouTube channel at GIJayne Fitpro for over one hundred COVID safe workouts for all fitness levels that you can do from the comfort of your home, office, or wherever you are. We must remember fitness is a lifestyle.
Changing your eating habits is simple. I encourage my clients to consume more fruits and vegetables, eat half portions of what they would typically eat, and cut down on carbohydrates. However, I do not discourage them from rewarding themselves with ice cream once in a while. I do not like the word “diet” because eating healthy should be sustained, not just something one implements for 90 days to hit a specific goal.
MODE: I noticed that you have branded yourself as GI Jayne. How did this come about? Is this branding associated with the badass, Demi Moore movie, “GI Jane”? Jayne: Someone gave me the nickname “GI Jayne” a while back at a fitness center I was teaching at, and it stuck with me. I now pride myself on that name because it sounds very militant, and I view myself as a drill sergeant in my group fitness classes and as a personal trainer as well… in an excellent way. Furthermore, that name challenges me daily because I must live up to it.
MODE: In viewing your social media posting, it appears that you enjoy healthy cooking. Please share with our readers a healthy and tempting dinner recipe with a dessert that we will not regret in the morning. Jayne: Here are a couple of my favorite recipes:
Healthy Chicken Burgers … It will make your taste buds BUZZZ. Recipe makes three nice sized chicken burgers. Ingredients: • 1 pound lean white meat ground chicken • 1 egg • 1 cup fresh chop spinach leaves • ½ cup of Feta crumbled cheese • Fresh crushed garlic • Add salt and pepper to taste. Directions: • Mix all ingredients together well with hands • Form into patties • Spray pan with cooking spray and drizzle with olive oil • Grill eight to ten minutes per side, or to desired doneness Dessert: Blueberry Madness… Talk about a sugar rush! Recipe makes roughly 4-6 servings, depending on desired serving size Ingredients: • 1 12 oz container of lite Cool Whip • 1 pint of fresh, washed, and drained blueberries • 2 tablespoons of sugar free vanilla pudding mix Directions: • Mix all ingredients well • Serve and enjoy. Mangia! Mangia!
So not only have we learnt from Jayne how she keeps a positive attitude whilst working within the difficult coronavirus medical environment, we have also learnt how to stay healthy and enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal with dessert! Now that’s a good way to start 2021.