Lee Sandford has discovered one of the advantages of Zoom classes“No commute needed.

0:00 Online Workouts Could Be Here to Stay  By Lee Sandford  It’s hard to believe that a year ago when lockdown started, we took a week off from our Thryve outdoor fitness […]

Published March 30, 2021 4:37 PM
4 min read


Online Workouts Could Be Here to Stay 

By Lee Sandford 

It’s hard to believe that a year ago when lockdown started, we took a week off from our Thryve outdoor fitness classes at the beach, because I didn’t know how to work Zoom. Imagine a world where Zoom was new-fangled and intimidating, whereas a year later the phrase “Zoom fatigue” has entered our Lexicon? By the second week of lockdown, we had come up with a plan to work out together online, and shortly after that my daughter was even managing to practice group choreography with her Brava dance team from our basement.  

Because our classes are outdoors, we were back at the beach reasonably quickly after lockdown, shelved the Zoom workouts, and were positively giddy all through summer. However, in fall, when Rye schools were adopting the hybrid model, I realized there was a need for virtual workout classes for moms who had to be home supervising remote learning. Those are still going strong and well attended, not just by the moms I was trying to accommodate.  

So, the question I’ve been asking people lately, both fitness pros and their clients, is will they continue with online classes, or does the aforementioned Zoom fatigue mean they’ll be something we look back on, as a quirky thing we did in 2020, like wiping down our groceries. I’ve heard lots of support for their being here to stay. 

You’re at home 

While we’d rather not be home so much right now, online classes remind me of spin classes at the Y years ago, before spin became a fancier, boutique-type workout. Everyone in that tiny spin room in the basement would rather have been on the open road, trying the real hills they’d face later that year in the Westchester Tri, but sometimes needs must. My young cousins join my classes from Scotland when the stars align as young moms and they get at least one toddler to take a nap. They have to be home for reasons other than lockdown and enjoy being able to join a class.  

No intimidation factor  

One of the best stories I heard after lockdown was from a friend who was looking healthy and happy, and proudly told me she’d been eating better and exercising. She had never liked the gym because she felt very self-conscious. Her friend is a Zumba teacher and suggested she join her classes but just leave her camera off. It was a game changer, because she could learn and improve in total privacy but was still being led by an expert coach. I recognize “new girl nerves” well, so I love that access to classes had been opened to that audience and was so happy for my friend whose enthusiasm for her new hobby was infectious. 

Accountability and camaraderie 

My client Lindy Wolverton kindly called into a radio show I was on recently and was asked, “How do you schedule Lee’s Zoom classes into your working week?” She replied, “I schedule them in!” When your trainer sends out the reminder of the class time and the RSVP, it makes you put the time aside and ensures you’ll get that workout done, compared with some faint notion of “I’ll look on Youtube for a video to do at some point.” 

Class leaders will have different ways of keeping the camaraderie alive, even online. They’ll be saying your name to correct your plank or praise the height of your squat jump. During lockdown, we found our groove of working out then hanging about for a chat afterwards. 

Efficient use of time 

Lots of my Zoom clients are working from home full time. They like that our 30-minute workouts only take, well, 30 minutes. There is no commute to class, and we start bang-on time. The 8:10-8:40 a.m. class I scheduled, meant to work around kids’ remote school schedules, also means “plenty of time to jump in the shower and make a 9 a.m. work call,” as Cynthia Howard pointed out.  

My daughter and her flatmates join in from Scotland during their lunch break from studies, and one of them said, “Even if the gyms were open, walking there and back in the cold and therefore having to change there, would take more time than we feel we can afford if we have an assignment due. As we’re all remote learning in the flat together, we just yell out a roll call and show up in the living room and get going.” 

A world of possibilities 

The international element is immensely fun for us instructors. I get to see various family in the U.K., and clients that have moved away. Rest assured, I make sure I do social media posts pointing out I’m world-renowned now! My own trainer, who trains me from London, but used to live in Dubai, says she is kicking herself that she didn’t think of this before. She has reconnected with her loyal clients in Dubai who were bereft without her.  

However, I’m also a client, because I love taking other instructors’ classes, and I’ve enjoyed the time difference element, since I work in the mornings. I join classes early or mid-afternoon here, which means that in London my classmates have just finished work, and in Alberta my classmates are just starting their day! 

Lots of local providers 

With the worldwide options acknowledged, there are plenty of us Rye trainers and businesses offering classes online. As one of my colleagues urged on a social media post, “There are endless online videos and free class options but remember the spin or aerobics instructor who played your favorite song on your birthday, or the trainer who asked how your mother’s surgery went.”  

Contact your favorite trainer or class leader and ask what their schedule is just now. I assure you they’ll appreciate it.  

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