Coronovirus has been the ultimate routine disruptor. Working from home, unemployment, homeschooling and closures including gyms, salons, restaurants and many recreational activities significantly impacted the daily habits of most Americans.
The upside is that a time when everything is in flux is actually the perfect time to build healthy habits into our individual “new normal.” Take an inventory of what changes you would like to make and build them into your reset in an intentional way. Whether you need to work off the “quarantine 15” weight gain or you are looking for a new way to stay active, many gyms and fitness studios are offering ways to keep you healthy. Solutions introduced as a way to hold onto clients during closures have changed lifestyles for the better and are here to stay.
LoDo High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) studio FIT36 at 2110 Market St. in Denver started the Safe at Home order by loaning out TRX suspension training equipment, dumbbells and kettlebells to members to help them keep their routines at home when the fitness studio was closed. The fitness studio owned by Ned Matheson and Brad Cooley also began renting out the in-studio equipment like stationary bikes on a weekly basis. “We were trying to keep members active by figuring out new services to provide value and to keep members,” Matheson said. FIT36 began offering pre-recorded workout videos to members and live virtual training classes, which are often preferred because “participants feel the same experience of working with a coach and everyone is going through the same exercises and feeling the pain at the same time” Matheson said.
FIT36 changed the business model to add small group personal training classes, increased cleaning practices and incorporated social distancing by reducing the class size. The structure of the class changed from 12 stations where each participant is doing a different exercise to a model where rotating to a new position and new equipment is no longer necessary.
“A more active lifestyle is an essential focus now. People will use this time to get outside and do the activities they enjoy in nice weather and then they will come back when they need to move indoors for the winter in order to stay in shape for those activities,” Matheson said.
“We will also see new members through this who decide to make a change. A lot of people are very active now that they don’t have the same sedentary things to occupy time and minds with,” he added.
Members and the community are helping keep fitness goals through the chaos. Matheson and Cooley have been offering free workout classes where donations benefit a variety of local organizations. The duo also began extending free memberships to members experiencing financial upset, which grew into other members donating to a relief fund for their fellow classmates to be able to maintain memberships.
To provide the camaraderie many fitness enthusiasts look forward to, other fitness studios are offering live virtual options. CorePower Yoga is inviting members to “all flow together even when apart.” Use of a webcam is encouraged but not required.
Pure Barre is also among the fitness brands offering remote classes and is getting creative with how participants can get the same experience at home. The classes are typically conducted with light weights, a double tube, a ball, and of course, a bar. Instructors show how to substitute water bottles or cans of soup, a towel and a small pillow to replace equipment and to use a chair, countertop or wall for support in lieu of a bar. PureBarre instructors also recommend watching yourself work out in the mirror during the online workout classes in order to be able to check on your form.
Fitness brands that rely heavily on specific equipment likely had the most difficult adjustment to virtual workouts. SoulCycle offers a “cardio party” and “shared soul experience” that is centered around stationary bikes that most members did not have at home. The brand stepped up to provide value to members by creating a variety of other virtual classes outside of the standard offerings to keep bodies and minds healthy including classes like arms, body and soul, full-body HIIT, sweat therapy, restorative stretch and more. SoulCycle turned up the intensity by now making the bikes that used to be only in-studio available to order to your home along with a monthly subscription to the online workout videos in a similar format to the popular Peloton.
Established brands including Jazzercise, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019, are selling branded merchandise such as workout clothes and accessories as a revenue stream. Jazzercise provides abbreviated at-home workouts and bundles of 5 or 10 classes for pre-purchase.
It’s not only boutique fitness that is adapting to the need for virtual options, but 24 Hour Fitness also offers 50 small group training classes per week and one-on-one personal training as well as a personalized fitness app to reserve workouts.
Expanded options for remote fitness anytime, anywhere means fewer excuses to not get your workout in, especially when traveling and busy lives return. Adding convenience to exercise routines will be a lasting positive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are some fitness businesses with programs helping people exercise through the pandemic.
Core Power Yoga
24 Hour Fitness
Danielle Yuthas is a Denver native and marketing director for a national franchise brand headquartered in Colorado. Yuthas spent her quarantine trading a long commute for long walks.
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