You exercise regularly for months then get derailed by vacation, work or an illness. That’s what countless people are up against now with the closing down of their gyms because of the Coronoavirus (COVID-19).
The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines this month to prevent the spread of the respiratory illness. Those guidelines include social distancing and advising all non-essential businesses, including gyms, to close temporarily.
But just because gyms are closed doesn’t mean workout classes are cancelled. Several gyms and fitness studios are streaming classes live or offering a number of on-demand classes.
Jess Megz, a personal trainer and the owner of Sweat Equity Fitness on Cypress Creek Road in Ft. Lauderdale, said she didn’t have time to think about how closing down would impact her clients, she just had to figure out a way to make workouts accessible for her clients. According to Megz, her gym focuses on community and connection. “This has been challenging for our community,” she said. “A lot of them (her clients) miss the gym but I’ve had zero cancellations. They’re extremely engaged.”
She is posting circuit workouts online daily for her clients and asks everyone to post sweaty selfies online as accountability. She’s also doing a “Show me your 40 challenge”, where clients are asked to do 40 reps of different exercises daily and post a video of them online. “It’s extremely challenging to pivot like this. I find people who are extremely consistent having trouble adapting,” she confessed.
While there is an opportunity for people to do workouts on their own at home, Megz is of the mindset that finding a small group to train with virtually is the way to go. “I firmly believe, to fully reach your potential, a group is needed in some capacity,” she said. “Some sort of group aspect is key.”
Megz also urged people who are used to working out in a traditional gym setting continue on a routine as much as possible, which should include setting a schedule. “Having that schedule almost like they would normally” is important. Additionally, you should get dressed for the workout like you would before the gym,” Megz explained.
She also said it’s also important to keep activity up by tracking your steps and trying a new activity you haven’t been able to do before. “There are endless resources right now. Now is a really good time to explore other online options. The resources are there right now,” she said. “I think now is an awesome time to dedicate to an online challenge or do something you wouldn’t normally do. Switching it up is always super beneficial.”
A number of fitness companies are providing free or reduced cost streaming services for people to stay active during quarantine. These include:
Best known for its online spin classes, Peloton also offers thousands of strength, yoga, stretching, boot camp and cardio workouts on its app. The company has extended its 30-day free trial period for 90s days, which you can sign up for through April 30. After that, the subscription costs $12.99 a month.
The athletic company has waived its $14.99 a month fee for its premium services indefinitely. By downloading its app, participants can access more than 185 workouts, including yoga, cardio and more, that last anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes. You can also access targeted running programs, nutrition and wellness guidance.
You can stream thousands of yoga, barre, Pilates, cardio, strength training and high intensity workouts over your smart television or laptop. Daily Burn is extending its 30-day free trial to 60-days, with premium access to all new members. After that, it’s $14.95 a month for the basic subscription, and $26.85 for premium. If you already have an account and have been impacted by COVID-19, you can email [email protected] to add a free month to your account.
The physical gyms are closed but they are offering free 20-minute-at-home workouts, called “home work-ins,” on its Facebook page. The workouts are open to nonmembers and members alike.
The gym launched “Get Up and Blink,” a daily virtual workout session to be done at home on weekdays at 8:00 a.m. You don’t need to be a member of the gym to partake in the exercises but must have access to Facebook Live.
The Oakland Park based boxing and karate studio is offering free online boxing and karate classes through Zoom. Interested participants do not need to be a member to join. Questions about class schedules and how to access them on Zoom can be directed to [email protected]
Mary Wright, the owner and yoga instructor at Little Buddhas Yoga on NE 12th Terrace in Oakland Park, has also transitioned all of her classes to an online platform. Her sister owns Pilates studios in New York City and the two of them have combined their resources to provide all of their classes to each other’s client base. “For my current membership clients, it’s been an easy transition. They’re still getting me. One of the things I do in my studio is a smaller boutique space. I’m a smaller arena. It’s been really easy to transition my clients. Everyone is online,” she said.
During the uncertain time, Wright said it’s important for people to feel like they have a connection to something. For a lot of people, she said, that connection is keeping their bodies healthy and moving. “People are freaking out right now. People are needing the connection. Everyone is experiencing what is going on right now differently. I’m just trying to provide a space for people to let them be healthy and relax the body and mind.”
Rolando Cabello, the owner and founder of Burnpump Outdoor Fitness, hosts small group bootcamp style workouts in parks in Oakland Park, Ft. Lauderdale and Davie. He typically has no more than 4 people in his classes at any one time, and as of now, still plans to host classes.
His classes focus on simple and basic body weight exercises that target as many different body parts as possible. “People can go out and walk or run or just do something in their own backyard. Even if their gym is closed, if you have the mindset, you can keep your routine going. You don’t need anything special to stay active right now.”
He said you can also go out for a bike ride and paddle board. “For me, it’s not just about fitness. It’s about community,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what you do. You can still stay active right now. That’s the great good thing about Florida. Sometimes it gets hot and humid, but you can anything at your own pace.”
Ultimately, Cabello said it’s mind over matter while finding what works best for you: “Everything is in your mind. It works once you set your mind to it and get used to the heat”.
So don’t let quarantine derail your fitness routine, adapt it to the quarantine and stay fit!
Katina Caraganis is a Massachusetts native and has called South Florida home since 2015. She graduated college with a degree in communication studies and has received numerous writing awards during her tenure in journalism. When she’s not working for an online pet supply retailer, she spends her time training for a half-marathon in March and studying to become a certified nutrition coach.