CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - While many gyms had already closed up shop due to COVID-19 novel coronavirus concerns, all fitness centers around the commonwealth are now closed by the order of Governor Ralph Northam. In response, one gym has begun offering streaming workout classes, and they have advice for everyone trying to work out while staying in.
ACAC has been closed for nearly two weeks. The ellipticals and treadmills are quiet. The weights lay unlifted on their racks. One room is less quiet: a group workout room on the first floor has been transformed into a make-shift studio, where a webcam films fitness instructors streaming classes live to ACAC members.
“A life without classes, it’s not a life I want to live," Group X Instructor Chris Collins, who teaches six classes a week, said. "I need exercise classes, we need the community, it’s so much to us.”
The fitness company calls it ACAC On Demand, a digital service the gym chain says it had always hoped to offer one day. The closure offered the perfect opportunity.
“We’re building a library of classes that our members can go on to and stay a part of our community and stay healthy during this crazy time," ACAC VP of Marketing and Communications Susan Johnson said.
Fitness instructors are now streaming their regularly scheduled classes to members on Zoom. They are also recording the streams, and uploading them for members to access on their own time.
“I’m so thankful, and so blessed, that we can do this. That we can come in and, quickly, find a camera and start shooting exercise classes, and still kind of connect with those folks at home through social media," Collins said.
ACAC members can log on and get moving, even if they don’t have the equipment instructors use in the video. Every class can be done from home with whatever is on hand. For one class, in which Collins and two assistants worked out using a step, the coach offered several alternatives for people at home without the proper equipment.
“Whether it’s a stack of books, or the bottom of their stairs, or maybe a chunk of wood, or something like that," Collins said. "I can just put in anything, or they can do it without any stuff at all.”
For people at home that aren’t ACAC members, Collins says there are a variety of resources available. He suggests searching online for routines or apps that resemble the kind of workouts you would do if gyms were open. If all else fails, getting outside for a walk or jog can get the blood pumping.
“I’ve seen so many people walking,” Collins said. “It’s so funny, like, neighbors I haven’t seen in a long time. Now, they’re out kind of walking, which is great.”
ACAC says they are focused on more than just fitness during this period of closure. The gyms are updating their facilities while closed to the public, and they are also donating wipes and other sanitary supplies to hospitals in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, where they have locations.