Amanda Kloots has every excuse—every right, really—to stay in bed.
In late March, she dropped husband Nick Cordero off at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in L.A. with every intention of picking him up just two hours later, once he'd been given a treatment for his pneumonia. But she never did.
Instead, after a grueling 90-day stay that saw the full-of-life Broadway performer slip in and out of a coma, have his right leg amputated and draw an entire country into his inspiring battle and sweet love story, he died from complications due to coronavirus on July 5, mere weeks after son Elvis celebrated his first birthday. Cordero was just 41.
So yes, no one would blame Kloots for burying under the covers, choosing to avoid this entirely unfair reality. Except, well, that's just not in her DNA. Rather than wallow, the fitness guru gets up each morning and searches for positivity, a quote—her most recent: "Sometimes your heart needs more time to accept what your mind already knows. Give your heart that time."—to hold on to. "Even subconsciously, on days where I don't need it, it's in my head," Kloots shared with E! News. "On days where I do need it, it's something that sets up my day the right way."
A workout is another must for the dynamo, who has trained the likes of Zendaya, Kate Walsh, Zach Braff and more. Whether it's a casual walk around her new L.A. neighborhood or an intense, 40-minute class on her streaming service, the 38-year-old never says no to movement. "It's a great stress and anxiety release for me," explained Kloots. "There's not one time I've started exercising and ended it feeling worse." (Try it yourself with the workout she created for E! in the video above.)
Whereas, if she does sit out, she notices her mood start to fall. "I always look at it as, if I do five minutes, if I do 10 minutes," she said, "I will feel better, my body will feel better."
And if she really can't motivate herself, her late husband still can. "On days where I really don't want to even get out of bed, I think about Nick and how he'd been in that hospital bed, how I know he would love nothing more than to get out and move his body," the former Rockette revealed. "He couldn't, though, so I get up for him." She'll never take a run, a swim, a dance for granted again. After all, as she mused, "one day, you might not be able to."
Fitness has been Kloots' go-to outlet pretty much since day one. Before she landed on Broadway, the dancer was just a bored kid back home in Ohio, training her sisters. But what was once simply entertainment turned into a fully-fledged passion when she took a chance and auditioned for an instructor position at Body By Simone, the studio beloved by Emily Blunt, Chrissy Teigen, Reese Witherspoon and more a-listers. There, teaching became second nature: "It just became part of me."
Soon enough, in an industry on a constant search for the next "it" craze, she found her niche: jump ropes. During a private session with a client, Kloots remembered "watching them warm up and I had in my head, ‘What if we just didn't put the jump rope down? What could I create using one piece of exercise equipment and do a full body workout?'"
At the end class, the sweat and exhaustion proved she was on to something. With boutique fitness on the rise, "I thought, ‘Wow, the jump rope is not as intimidating as going into a dance class if you're not a dancer,'" she told E!. "It's an old school piece of equipment both men and women can use. And I've created a fun way to do it and an incredible workout."
And to be clear, this isn't your middle school gym class. Kloots guarantees her 55-minute AK! Rope class, the first of its kind, will leave customers breathless. "They're like, ‘Wait, what?'" she said with a laugh. "Their arms are killing them, their sides are hurting the next day. They're constantly challenged while burning body fat and belly fat like no other." (She knows from experience: Despite 16 years as a professional dancer, she insists her upper body and her arms have never been as toned as they are now.)
The technique is for everybody, including 14-month-old Elvis, who she believes has it in his blood. (She did jump up until her June 2019 due date and has hardly slowed down since.) And when Kloots does hand him his first mini rope, it'll be a moment captured for social media, her some 580,000 followers perhaps even more excited to witness the milestone than Mom herself.
With Cordero's fight captivating thousands worldwide, fans continued to tune into Kloot's feed where she'd share everything from Elvis taking his first steps or a plea to pray for her husband, to join her in singing his song "Live Your Life" at 3 p.m. daily
"I'm an honest person and I like to show that honesty," she revealed. "I think it's important to show our day-to-day life, what we do to stay active but also how we stay happy. I just find it creates a more relatable following and a more relatable relationship. You understand my brand and understand why you would want to be part of it."
It's the candor and unpredictability that she's come to embrace this year. Though she used to be obsessed with having the best studio, lighting, hair, outfit—you name it, whatever it is—2020 has taught her that none of that matters. "I've learned to let go of perfection," she confessed. "People don't want that. They want to feel part of something. They want you to share something that they can also grab onto."
At the moment, she's grabbing on to their guidance. While her husband was in the hospital, she turned to her followers for advice, for referrals, for treatment options. And, perhaps most importantly, to know she wasn't alone. "We get set in our ways: ‘I can do this on my own,'" she said. "But when you learn that you can ask for help, that it's OK, that people are innately good and want to help, you become a better person."
In turn, she realized she has the power to help others, too. Along with her sister Anna, she has launched a series of "Hooray For" t-shirts that benefit healthcare heroes, teachers and organizations like Make-A-Wish. Inspiration struck back in January when the breastfeeding mom saw a "Hooray for Boobies" tee, but she pushed it to the back burner, too busy with life, her family, her business to nail down the specifics.
But when Cordero got sick and her sister moved in with her, they put their heads together and found the right material, printing company and purpose: Every month, they design two shirts and 50 percent of proceeds go to the charity they are highlighting. In just 30 days, they raised more than $30,000.
"It just seemed like a silver lining in this whole pandemic and this horrible part of our lives," she said. "So many people have given to us, the fact that we can now give back in such a big way has been huge."
So you see, staying in bed just isn't an option.