WHEN THE COVID-19 pandemic forced Jill Borega to stay home instead of teach fitness classes, it propelled her to chase her dream and do what she really wanted to do—start her own fitness company, training the way she loves to train.
Borega’s entire life has been about movement. She grew up as a classically trained ballerina and studied with a nationally renowned ballet company when she was in her teens. “Moving my body just brought me so much joy,” she says. Then in her twenties, she stopped dancing as much and focused more on running and strength training—still moving, just in new ways.
In her thirties, she was approached to teach BARRE classes with her ballet background, then transitioned to teaching strength and interval-based group fitness classes while also training instructors on how to teach group fitness. She also became a certified personal trainer.
Borega settled comfortably into that life—teaching, training, and raising her three children together with her husband. She and her family currently live in Lake Forest.
Then, like for most of us, the pandemic changed everything. “The pandemic hit and the world shut down and I looked at my husband and said, ‘I don’t know what to do with myself!’” Borega recalls. “So, I just went downstairs to my basement to work out and recorded myself and uploaded it to Instagram. Then I did it again the next day and the next day, and people started commenting that they were so appreciative that I was recording workouts for them while everyone was stuck inside.”
From March until the end of May 2020, Borega recorded a workout every day, Monday through Friday, and uploaded it to IGTV (@movexjillborega, where you can still find those videos for free today!). “People kept watching them and following me and most importantly doing them and moving with me,” she says. “Then they started reaching out for privates and group classes with friends.”
In June 2020, she offically launched her own personal training business, MOVE x Jill Borega, offering private and semi-private in-person training and virtual group moves. Her training is specific to the female body based on the premise of how she likes to train—with moves that are the perfect mix of grace and intensity that leave you feeling sculpted, strong, and confident post workout.
If you’re not familiar with MOVE x Jill Borega, it’s a flow-based strength workout that incorporates slow and controlled fundamental movements that fatigue the muscle and a mix of high and low impact cardio to elevate the heart rate, all while keeping a strong focus on form.
“I wanted to encourage people to move their body using unique moves that are effective and efficient,” Borega adds.
The support she received immediately from her community was extraordinary. She began booking more privates and getting encouragement from people to do more classes that could be available to anyone. So that’s exactly what she did, offering virtual zoom classes three days a week that anyone could join from anywhere.
“It was a blast!” Borega says. “We were all stuck at home and we’d work out together, and it just snowballed into my own little workout company where you can work out anywhere, anytime.” In addition to the easy access to classes, she made it cost efficient for people, offering sessions starting at just $15.
In March 2020, she officially launched her website MOVExJill- Borega.com, a landing site where you can interact with Borega, sign up for virtual group moves, and access MOVE membership—an on-demand library with workouts ranging from five to sixty minutes. Borega adds a new workout to the library almost every week.
“It was a huge leap of faith,” Borega says. “But my community embraced me and lifted me up and encouraged me to keep going. That’s what keeps me—no pun intended—moving and waking up every day, writing new programs, training my private clients, and recording videos for my MOVE membership community. It’s just been so much fun and I’ve gotten so much wonderful feedback from people about how strong and happy they feel post workout and how much it’s changed their body.” This is exactly what Borega wants for every person she moves.
Borega taught sold out classes for years in fitness studios, with people constantly on her waitlists. “People kept telling me, ‘You have something really special, the way you teach and inspire, you should really do your own thing,’” she recalls. “But it was a warm blanket I held onto—I was scared to let it go and launch myself into the unknown. Then when Covid hit, it really pushed me to do what I wanted to do. If Covid didn’t happen, I’d be on that same train and not chasing the dream I’ve had inside of me for years.”
While most people are still choosing to do their classes virtually, Borega does offer in-person classes either at her client’s house or her house. “With the nice weather, they workout outside in their driveways.” she says. “My virtual clients love the convenience of getting out of bed and logging in and working out done and not having to leave their home, while my in person clients love the hands on experience and attention to details.”
It’s evident how much Borega values her clients, going above and beyond for special requests—such as surprising one of them on her birthday. “Her husband texted me and asked if I could come do a workout with her,” Borega shares. “He wanted me to be sitting on her doorstep to give her a workout. She loved it. She was like, ‘This was the best birthday gift ever!’”
Another client reached out to her and said she had two friends coming in from New York for the weekend. While Borega doesn’t usually train on Saturdays and Sundays, her client asked, “Can you please squeeze me in for Sunday? They have to the Jill experience!”
“I just want to encourage people to move their bodies to share my joy of movement and to show them how incredible they feel post movement,” Borega adds. “And of course, I’m going to give those three ladies a good sweat session this Sunday!”