Gyms and boutique fitness studios in North Texas are taking a big financial hit right now.
They had to close their doors due to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in order to help slow or stop the spread of COVID-19.
But owners are getting creative and finding ways to offer clients their workouts online.
"We don’t need physical space to stay in the community," said Brit Rettig Wold, owner of Grit Fitness. "It’s about the relationships that we’ve already fostered and open communication and engagement, and if we have to do that over technology then that’s OK.”
Rettig Wold's three North Texas boutique fitness studios are all currently closed.
"This is a very, very challenging time for small businesses," Rettig Wold said about her studios and others like hers. "We rely on our members showing up every day just to survive.”
Before receiving any official mandates to close, Rettig Wold saw an opportunity.
"We are actually shooting some live, streaming fitness classes from Grit Fitness Instructors. These would be [just like] usual classes that we would host on a daily basis," she explained. "But given the current situation we can’t host our members in the studio, so we wanted to bring that same energy, enthusiasm, and community that they’re used to and craving right now to an online platform.”
The Grit Fitness team started streaming up to five fitness classes per day through a private Facebook group.
"In just two days we had over 200 additional members into our Facebook group so that people can watch these live classes," Rettig Wold said.
She's not alone. It's a trend that has spread across the world: gyms renting out equipment and even stationary bikes. Some are offering free classes through their websites or via Instagram and Facebook Live.
At Grit studios, members pay $49 per month for unlimited online classes.
“We have to be creative and innovative to make sure that we’re still generating revenue during this time," Rettig Wold said. "The only way we do that is by making sure that we keep serving our customers. So we have to find a way to be creative and keep giving value to the people who need it.”
And it's working.
“So this is the class going on right now," Rettig Wold said, showing WFAA the number of virtual participants through a screen.
“So 75 people right now, and on a regular day we would have 30 people in a class or 25 people in a class,” she acknowledged.
Tori Ayers is one of those people. She is working from home and trying to hold onto a workout routine.
"That’s normally where I am when I’m not working," Ayers said of her commitment to daily exercise at Grit Fitness. “So it’s fun to still have that sense of community and know that all of your friends are still in that class with you.”
Koren Phillips started streaming Grit Fitness classes all the way from Boston when her local gyms shut down.
"Like did I ever think that I was going to be doing interval training between my living room and dining room at 7 a.m. while the cat wanders around? Well no," Phillips said. “If this is what’s going to keep me sane and moving I’ll take it.”
For more free or low-cost virtual workout options, check Sonia's Instagram story highlights: @SoniaAzadTV