New tech, old school methods come together to keep people fit while gyms remain closed

HEALTHLINE: Gyms getting creative about how to help people workout online

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Johnny Blount flips the switch at Geaux Crossfit in Baton Rouge.

“It’s creepy,” he said. “It’s dead silence. It’s not right.”

It’s 6:30 on Tuesday morning (March 31). Blount’s gym should be halfway through its second class of the day, but instead, the gym echoes with Blount’s footsteps.

It has been two weeks since a governor’s order closed all gyms in Louisiana in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Blount, like other gym owners across the state, has been faced with the same problem: keeping members fit while locked out of the gym.

“We can step away from the equipment for a little bit,” Blount said. “We can use our own bodies and our own weight to workout.”

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Blount and his coaches have mixed new technology with old school exercise in their online workouts, which come straight out of your middle school PE class.

Jumping jacks, squat thrusts, and push-ups are just part of the regimen. Some members work out at home, while others have made their own classes at closed parks. They say the online routine and exercising together keep their fitness goals on track.

“It’s a big help because if I was programming for myself, I wouldn’t push myself as hard,” said Jill Broussard, one of Blount’s clients. “And having [this group] is really a big incentive.”

Incentive and engagement are the names of the game in fitness. If you’re not working, you’re losing ground. Almost as soon as it closed its doors because of the coronavirus, Southern Oaks Athletic Club opened a new YouTube channel for its 3,500 members.

“Not only were we taking away their classes,” said coach, Claire Harvison, “but we were taking away the community.”

The YouTube channel features live workouts and motivational messages, and gives members a chance to chat and encourage each other even if they’re not in the gym.

Coaches admit that motivation can be the biggest problem when your routine is disrupted and the gym is closed. They say grab a friend, create a challenge, and get out and move, because by the time this is all over, it may be swimsuit season.

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