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Fitness community keeping active with online workouts

With most people cooped up at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s understandable that fitness regimens can fall by the wayside. However, according to Airdrie-based personal trainer Jay Raymundo, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Raymundo – who is the owner of NRG Fitness, the head trainer at F45 Training Airdrie and the strength and conditioning coach at the Airdrie Martial Arts Centre – has been posting videos to his YouTube channel of workouts that can be done at home.

In the videos, Raymundo shows how people can get creative with household objects to maintain their fitness.

“[You can use] cartons of milk instead of dumbbells, bags of rice, or even fill up a backpack with some items to add a little weight, for some resistance," he said. "You can use a towel for resistance pulls and stretches. We’ve used soup cans and bottles of water – there’s a variety of things you can incorporate into your workouts.”

As someone who typically spends a lot of time at the gym, Raymundo said the limitations the pandemic has forced on the fitness community have been “eye-opening” for him, with regards to the convenience of exercising at home.

“It really takes the excuse away of having to get ready, drive and find parking,” he said. “Convenience is one [benefit], and flexibility is another one – you can work out whenever you’re available, and you don’t have to wait for a piece of equipment if someone else is using it.”

Given the benefits of exercise, Raymundo said there are many reasons to continue being active during the pandemic.

“Any time you exercise, there’s research and science to show that it not only helps strengthen your immune system, but it helps you fight any toxins that are entering the body,” he said.

“It also helps you mentally, because all that oxygen you’re exerting goes to the brain. It relieves boredom, and it allows you to be more mentally aware and more creative at home – it basically keeps you sane during these times.”

To watch Raymundo’s videos, visit his YouTube channel – NRG Fitness – or follow him on Facebook.

Like Raymundo, Airdrie’s gyms and fitness centres, which had to close their doors March 17, are finding creative ways to keep their clients active.

Oranj Fitness Airdrie launched a new video streaming platform after the fitness studio closed, called Oranj On Demand, according to owner Warren Keane.

"We started doing online classes – yoga, bootcamp, boxing, spin class," he said. "Those are classes that you can, as the name implies, do them whenever you want." 

With membership payment put on hold, Oranj has beeing renting out much of its exercise equpiment, according to Keane, and is also selling and delivering retail items, such as athletic-wear and hand sanitizer. 

"We've rented out all of our spin bikes and we continue to rent out weights," Keane said. "The demand was very high for it – we were surprised."

Since shutting up shop, PUSH Cycling Studio Inc. has also streamed and published videos of home-based workouts that members can follow on its Facebook page.

“We started an online group for our paying members, and that includes everywhere from two to three fitness classes a day,” said co-owner Janine Hartsook. “The classes that are primarily on our platform would be classes that don’t require any equipment, or minimal equipment, so our membership can still stay active at home without going out and buying expensive pieces of workout equipment.”

According to Hartsook, PUSH’s videos cover everything from spin classes, to pilates and barre, to high intensity interval training and boot camp-style floor exercises.

Despite the pandemic forcing PUSH out of its physical studio, Hartsook said the business has managed to retain the majority of its membership. She added she’s reached out to clients over phone and email, and said feedback on the spin studio’s video workouts has been positive.

“They’re finding the workouts quite challenging,” she said. “A lot of the riders who used to come and spin, some of them didn’t come to our combination classes…but this has forced them to look at their fitness in a different light and they’re noticing they actually enjoy these other types of classes we’re offering.

“I think if we offer an online experience that is supportive, fun, and they see the value of what they’re getting, I don’t see why they would pause [their memberships], unless they need a financial break,” she added.

Given the disruption to normal life that COVID-19 has caused, Hartsook said continuing to exercise normally can help relieve some of the stress and anxiety caused by the ongoing situation.

“When our routine gets disrupted or changes, people don’t really know what to do,” she said. “It’s hard to get into a new routine and find that new groove, and feeling of security or [normalcy]. I feel this can give them that sense of normalcy, if they were active already before. That’s something we obviously want to continue.”

Scott Strasser,
Follow me on Twitter @scottstrasser19