Q&A With Cassy Vieth: Quick Fit in 2021
January 5, 2021 Leave a Comment
It’s an annual right of passage that the New Year is more than just a clerical reality, but a time when we look back and look forward, reflecting on improvements we’d like to make — in ourselves and in our communities. A common reflection is a sober assessment of our health and well being. And while purchases of workout gear, fitness apps, and subscriptions to 30-day weight loss plans soar to the point of cliché, the intention to take better care of our bodies and our minds is anything but.
Quick Fit With Cassy greets us in 2021 with brand new episodes to cheer us on and help us make good on our commitment to keep our bodies moving, every day. Launched in March 2020 as PBS Wisconsin’s first digital-only, streaming, on-demand fitness program, Quick Fit focuses on gentle, zero-impact stretching and strengthening performed in short workouts of ten minutes or less.
With over eight months in production, host Cassy Vieth has given us a substantial and expanding catalog of 44 episodes that gently work and rework every major muscle group, including crucial parts of our bodies we often overlook, like our hands and feet. Quick Fit episodes also help us address occupational stresses on the body like the negative impacts of sitting or standing all day, pain in the neck and shoulders from staring down at screens, sewing machines, crossword puzzles and quilting fabric.
We caught up with Cassy to ask her about some of her own reflections as we cross over into 2021.
PBS Wisconsin: Since the series launch of Quick Fit With Cassy last March, how would you describe the show’s development over time?
Cassy: As we’ve made more episodes, our audience can see — and hopefully feel — a gradual but meaningful progression. Our early shows offer many movements in a seated position, to lay the groundwork that helps a person become more aware of their body, what I call “body awareness,” which is one of the first benefits of beginning a regular exercise program. Throughout the episodes, I maintain a consistent style in how I make cues and transitions so viewers learn what to expect from my instruction and to trust me.
Gradually, I emphasize movement that takes viewers out of the seated position. I introduce a broad range of stretching and strengthening exercises to improving balance. Those who stay with me will see the motivating changes to their muscles and joints. That’s what I miss most about not being in person with a class. I love seeing students make progress, and the excitement on their faces when it happens. With Quick Fit, at least I get to imagine that happening, and it still makes me smile!
PBS Wisconsin: What can viewers look forward to with new episodes in 2021?
Cassy: We’ll be bringing in more work on the floor, which I’m excited about. This is something we’ve been building toward. With more strength, balance, and body awareness built in earlier episodes, floor work feels more accessible. With the new episodes, we’ll also focus on fewer moves, but taking the time to deepen them — moving deeper into a stretch or squat, for example, helps us continue to build strength and flexibility.
PBS Wisconsin: There’s a lot of cultural pressure in the New Year to transform ourselves and change bad habits. And fitness rises to the top of that list, with people gaining and then swiftly losing motivation to exercise. Do you have any advice to help us cope with this?
Cassy: I like to remind people that they can make a promise to themselves to start moving their body today, tomorrow, or any day of the year. There’s nothing magical about January 1st. And what I hope they will focus on is consistency. Too many people focus on the physical outcome they want to achieve or lack of motivation. But it’s consistency, in small increments, that is key. Promise yourself tomorrow that you’ll do just 10 minutes of stretching, or a set of leg exercises, or to run just one block. Do it. Then, promise yourself that you’ll do it again. What you’ll find is that you end up achieving a little more than you thought you could do, and it’s the consistency — the fact that you are doing it every day, or every other day — that keeps you motivated. Consistency is the base from which fitness and motivation grow.
PBS Wisconsin: We’re in the eleventh month of the global pandemic, and our physical, emotional, and behavioral health are under great strain. As a fitness expert, do you have any wisdom to share?
Cassy: I remind myself and others that periods of prolonged stress are not new. Many people, absent a pandemic, endure acute and enduring stress in their lives. We don’t always have control over it. But we do have control over moving our bodies and nourishing them. We used to have a sign up at our gym that said, “You’re only one workout away from a good mood.” It’s simple but true. There are few people I’ve ever taught who felt worse after even a brief amount of exercise. When your mind is worried and spinning, moving your body with intention and care can bring you back in connection with it. This lifts some of the heaviness of the day, on top of all the wonderful things exercise is doing for your muscles and your heart.