How do you work out when the gyms are closed? Vancouver’s fitness industry moves online
VANCOUVER -- With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing hundreds of businesses across Metro Vancouver to close their doors, the fitness industry is finding ways to adapt. Health professionals losing clients are turning to technology to keep people moving, motivated and connected.
On Sunday morning, music was pumping from the studios of the F45 gym in Kits Point, the same as most days before the coronavirus pandemic. This Sunday, however, no one was inside, except for two trainers. They set up a camera so they could coach the same workout, but stream it live on social media.
“We also had a zoom chat going so while following us in the workout people could also see each other,” said senior trainer Patch May. “Even just being closed for six days, people are already feeling that bit of isolation.”
It’s a similar situation across the city. Sweat Co. downtown offers group classes and personal training, but all treadmills, weights and equipment sit unused.
“This is the first time in 36 years I’ve ever had to close,” said owner Maureen Wilson. She’s had to lay off staff and is trying to find ways to keep the business afloat without people coming through the doors.
“We are still encouraging people to buy gift cards," Wilson said.
Then, there are trainers themselves: small business owners operating out of multiple gyms that no longer have clients.
“There’s nowhere for me to meet up with clients and work them out in a one-on-one atmosphere,” said fitness instructor Hayley McGowan. “My work has definitely decreased.”
Vancouver has been lucky to experience sunny skies and relatively warm temperatures since residents were first asked to stay home and maintain physical distance from others. The week of good weather has allowed residents to head outside to exercise. But, with rain in the forecast this week, it’s back to the living room.
The owners of Vancouver’s largest dance studio, Harbour Dance Centre, say this is the perfect time to try something new. They’ve launched a series of class videos on YouTube for people to take part in dance classes from home.
“If you have the time and you want to remain fit, active and you want to listen to some great music, this is a great opportunity,” said co-owner Moe Brody. “Everybody has a ballet bar: you have a chair, you have a kitchen counter, even a bed frame. If it’s something you’ve never done before, this is a great time to try.”
In times of uncertainty, fitness professionals say it’s even more important to keep the mind and the body healthy.
“Even moving five minutes, 10 minutes, just takes us out of that moment of fear and brings us into the present moment and allows us to reconnect with reality.” McGowan said.