Gyms, forced to close their doors during the coronavirus pandemic, are finding new ways to keep trainers and staff employed while also keeping clients engaged. Many have turned to virtual training sessions and live group classes.
“Gyms have been affected. All the gyms out there have been shut down,” says Kyle Blust, owner of the Fit Body Boutique locations in Lincoln Park and Old Town.
Blust is looking into the payroll protection program and small business loans, offered amid the crisis, to keep his gym up and running. He’s also offering a 28-day “stronger together” challenge to bring in new clients, with part of the proceeds going to help other businesses that have had to close during the pandemic.
Blust says it’s more important than ever to make fitness a priority.
“The rates of depression could possibly skyrocket after this,” said Blust. “It’s a slippery slope, and they can easily fall into this world of negativity. By the end of it, they could come out of it and have a really tough time with everything, especially emotionally and mentally, besides physically.
Fitness boosts endorphins, which increase energy levels throughout the day and promote better sleep at night.
“Having a positive mindset, eating cleanly, and working out can all work to strengthen that immune system and to keep yourself from falling into that state of depression,” said Blust.
But what if you don’t have gym equipment at home? Another local fitness expert, Joey Thurman, says you don’t need fancy or expensive equipment to make a positive change. You can use things you already have around the house to still get a great workout.
“You’ve got all sorts of things in your house. If you have stairs, that’s your equipment right there. Just get moving,” said Thurman, who offers free live workouts daily on his Instagram page - Joey Thurman Fit.
In some of his videos, Thurman encourages participants to use a backpack filled with books or water bottles to add resistance to lunges and squats. He has also posted videos using a chair to force his body to work differently and with towels for a new challenge.
“Be creative and realize this is your body right now, and even though these circumstances we have we’re confined to our home, doesn’t mean we can’t get active. Don’t use this as an excuse to slack off on being healthy. Right now is the most important time to get active,” said Thurman.
Thurman says it’s just as important to work your mind as your body during this time. He is encouraging his clients to try yoga and meditation. Staying active is important for an overall sense of well-being.
“I want you to move so you feel better, so that movement is your medicine.”