By Kelly Jancski
Yoga in pajamas. Cardio in the kitchen. Many local fitness instructors have moved their classes online. And they need you back.
I lost my job on March 16, when gyms in New York shut their doors. On that day I also lost my students, and the sense of community and commitment to health we created together weekly.
The fitness industry has been shaken to its core. As teachers we wonder, when will our studios reopen? Will our jobs be there? Will our students return? Most importantly, what can we all do to stay healthy and connected in this new “stay at home” world?
Luckily, fitness instructors are largely a dedicated and motivated bunch. Most are too committed to the relationships and healthy living they share with their students to be kept down for long.
Many decided, if students can’t come to us, we’ll go to them. “I’d say we lost about a week,” says Jennifer Netrosio of the new virtual studio Superhuman Soul. “We were lucky. We already had a website and knew how to use Zoom.” Other instructors had a steeper learning curve, and many took to broadcasting via Facebook and Instagram live.
It’s taken a few weeks of hard work, rapid learning, and trial and error, but now many local instructors are back and better than ever. They’ve gone virtual, offering a wide variety of quality classes online. Working to reinvent themselves, they hope to restore the livelihoods they lost.
Welcome to the new normal of fitness, where you can take a group yoga class in pajamas, do cardio in the kitchen, and strength training in the driveway. You can see and support your local teachers and connect with your fitness community, all without ever getting in the car.
Is it the same as it used to be? No. It takes some getting used to, for students and teachers alike. “I had to find a balance between wanting to see the students, and them wanting to see me,” says Netrosio. “We had to experiment a lot with sound and lighting.” Meanwhile, students decided where in their homes worked best to take a class, and how to place their devices so they could both see and hear their teachers.
These adjustments have all been worth it, however, as exercising together has restored a sense of community connection and commitment to health. The classes have brought much-needed movement and exertion, to counterbalance the often– sedentary nature of life at home.
How exactly does a virtual class work?
It varies from teacher to teacher, but most are using Zoom, a free meeting app that takes participants into a virtual on-screen room. Start by going to your app store and downloading the app, or by visiting www.zoom.us on your computer. Next, sign up by setting a username and password.
Once you’re registered with Zoom, find a local class, sign up, and pay as instructed. Most classes are offered at reduced rates, and remember, the teachers have lost their regular jobs. They love what they do, but it’s also how they make their living.
When you sign up for a class, you’ll get an email with a link that takes you to the virtual room. Set yourself up and connect a few minutes early. You don’t have to turn on your camera but consider it. Don’t worry about how you look, just enjoy how great it is to be working out again together.
For a listing of local virtual classes, visit www.myfullbloomlife/virtualclasslist .