FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Steve LaTart in Minnesota is thinking of installing a space heater in his basement to re-create the atmosphere of his hot yoga classes now that his gym has closed due to coronavirus fears.
LaTart says it’s part of the “new, weird, strange workout plan” he has devised during a nationwide trend of self-isolation and social distancing as the government recommends limiting gatherings to 10 or fewer people.
Countless people around the country who have been cooped up inside as their companies mandate work-at-home policies and their fitness centers shut down are getting creative with their workout routines. Many are turning to online classes, grabbing bleach bottles as makeshift weights, or taking cues from YouTube challenges showing how to do crunches using furniture or turn a kitchen floor into a treadmill by soaping up the tiling.
Gyms, yoga studios and CrossFit centers around the country are fueling the drive to stay active by offering online classes, some free of charge, or extending trial periods for at-home workouts. Studio owners and fitness instructors are having to adjust, too, as they make the shift to teaching online.
LaTart’s yoga and warrior sculpting instructors at Life Time in Minneapolis are still teaching classes. They’ve just moved them from the gym to cyberspace, where they are livestreaming instructions from Life Time’s website. LaTart said that knowing he can still participate in the classes is keeping him sane.
“I like the idea that this is something that’s normal,” the 38-year-old radio producer said. “This is someone I know.”
In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, LA Fitness members were told not to return as they left the gym last Monday night. That scene has played out across the country. Planet Fitness, Equinox and Life Time Fitness have all said they’re closing outlets for several weeks or indefinitely in response to the coronavirus.
To make up for it, Planet Fitness started “Home Work-Ins,” a series of free, 20-minute classes that don’t require equipment. Fitness operations whose core business has always been online or home-based are also stepping up their game, using the opportunity to capture new clients. AloMoves, an online fitness service linked to the popular apparel line, has seen a 40% increase on its YouTube channel, where it is offering some free workouts.
Peloton, a company that sells high-end stationary bicycles and treadmills featuring instructors who give live and videotaped classes, has extended its free trial period to 90 days.