Virtual fitness: Local gyms adapt to continue services during COVID-19 pandemic

When Gov. Whitmer issued a stay-at-home order on Tuesday the state of Michigan was already grinding to a halt. The big three auto manufacturers — Ford, General Motors, and Fiat-Chrysler — had already shut down production, shops were closing their doors, and people were practicing social distancing, all in an effort to flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19.

Amidst of all this, however, Mt. Pleasant’s fitness centers are finding ways to keep the community moving. Rather than calling it quits when Whitmer ordered the closure of all gyms on March 16, several local fitness centers are using ‘virtual fitness’ to continue providing workouts to the community.

RedBloom Yoga is one such center.

“RedBloom is built on community. We are a yoga studio but we are more than that,” says the owner of RedBloom Yoga, Kris Batzner. “We really are a tightly knit community that really enjoys spending time together and having to be isolated — like everyone else — has been difficult.”

Luckily for the RedBloom Yoga community, when the COVID-19 pandemic came to Michigan, Batzner was already in the process of creating virtual workouts. Now, RedBloom is offering two live yoga classes six days a week and one class on Sundays. While these classes cost money — with the exception of Saturday’s 9:30 a.m. class — RedBloom is offering free workout content on their YouTube channel.

“I see how beneficial yoga is to people in general and in this time of complete and utter stress, anxiety, isolation, and upheaval, yoga is such a grounding and supportive practice,” says Batzner. “Our community really relies on each other and I didn’t want them to lose that during this trying time.”

For Evolution Fitness and Training (formerly Fusion Fitness and Boot Camp) who just opened their doors at a new location on March 1, the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent closure of workout facilities came as quite a shock. Evolution Fitness and Training — which offers group workouts, personal training, hammer strength equipment, free weights, tanning stalls, and more — quickly pivoted and is now using a private Facebook group to post daily workouts ranging from cardio drumming to ab workouts to Zumba. The Facebook group is free and welcome to all, simply send an email to requesting to join.

“For me it’s important to stay connected to my members and to let them know that they are not alone and that we are in this together,” says Tracy Florian, the co-owner of Evolution Fitness and Training. “We are going to come out of this and be better and stronger. The most important thing is just to keep moving.”

Planet Fitness is also streaming daily “Home Work-Ins” that are free to the public.

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