Local gyms move online to stay in business

Regional News

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Living rooms across Virginia are being turned into home gyms after the governor ruled all non-essential recreational centers to close. 

To comply with social distancing, fitness businesses are going online. 

Pure Barre Virginia Beach and Norfolk created a Facebook page where they livestream the specialty fitness classes typically offered in the studio. To encourage people to keep their memberships, the page is private.

Pure Barre owner Deanna Graham said this service has allowed them to continue to serve hundreds of clients and keep staff members working. 

“Our clients have been extremely supportive, you know, knowing that we’re a small local business and, you know, we still need to pay our bills and pay our staff, so for the most part they’ve been hanging in there with us,” said Graham. 

Members 10 On Your Side spoke with are grateful for the service. 

“They’ve pretty much saved my sanity in this time of social distancing,” said Pure Barre member Krista Oakley. “This live page has given us the opportunity not just to workout with the teachers that we know and love, but we actually get to interact with each other. I feel very blessed that if this had to happen it happened at the time of social media. Pure Barre is more than just a workout, it is a family. It’s something that I would never really want to give up.”

“We have heard from a lot of people saying that they really appreciate the community that we have built and that’s actually been what’s been keeping them on their membership,” said Pure Barre teacher Meggan Adams. 

Ghent Fit is another gym figuring out how to navigate this new normal. They’re also offering online services but have their own set of challenges. 

The business focuses on one-on-one personal training. The majority of their clients are 60 years old and older. Owner Josh Evans says in the past few weeks, the business has dropped by 80 to 85 percent. 

“It’s really kind of fallen off a cliff, but that’s really not just us, that’s everyone. So, this is just kind of stuff that we’re all into together, trying to sort out and make the best of not a great situation,” explained Evans. 

Ghent Fit is offering at-home personal training customized to the client and what type of space they have to work out in. Evans says the personal trainers check in with their clients to keep them motivated and encourage them to stay on track. 

“So we’re very much trying to keep it like they’re training here but they’re just doing it for their home,” he said.

Other local gyms are lending out equipment to members and doing their own online streaming services. 

Overall, there’s a feeling of uneasiness and uncertainty in the fitness industry like other small businesses because no one knows how long the current restrictions will last. 

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