One of the most essential activities highlighted over the last year is fitness.
Keeping fit is a way of maintaining your health and wellbeing, and with the closure of gyms, some people have been struggling.
Some of York’s most popular fitness groups have been able to use the ways of modern technology to move their classes online. This has given many people that much needed motivation to get up and keep fit.
We have spoken to three different trainers to see how the pandemic has impacted them, and what it means to be able to open their doors again on the 12th April.
Steven Paffett runs Ouch Potato in Acomb. He said “It is a friendly gym for people that need help”. Like the majority of gyms and other businesses, Paffett had to transition the gym online – which had its share of challenges.
Technology was a large obstacle, “I’m useless with technology,” he jested, “There was expense, I needed to get a laptop and phone stands.”
On top of the cost of moving online, people lost interest. Paffett said, “We have lost a huge amount of people”.
Besides losing people, Ouch Potato has decided that when they open their doors, they are going to keep the online classes running.
“We have live and recorded videos,” Paffett said, “I do consultations, and drop in for ten minutes of someone’s sixty minute workout”.
Having a hybrid version of both online and in person will make the group more accessible for those with busy schedules and childcare.
Most gyms will have to limit the number of people, but Ouch Potato have always had small groups of four to ten people.
“If gyms can open and people feel safe, it will be positive,” he said, “We need to see other people. It’s not just about feeling good from losing weight, we need to see people and have a laugh.”
Pilates with Katy
Pilates instructor Katy Stroomer, hopes to be able to continue sessions online after lockdown has lifted. She said, “I want to keep trying to reach out for as many people as possible”.
As well as teaching pilates, Katy is also a cancer rehabilitation therapist. For some, the initial transition to online sessions was challenging, “Some of my physio clients struggled as they rely a lot on the manual side of treatment,” she said.
With the announcement of gyms being able to reopen again, Stroomer’s clients will be able to get that much needed care and attention.
With time on peoples hands now, comes trying something new.
“A few of my clients are new to pilates and are grateful for the online element,” she said. “They don’t have to worry as much about the pressure of a class environment.”
Although Stroomer gained some new faces over the course of a year of dropping in and out of lockdowns, she did lose some too.
She said: “A chunk of my clients weren’t interested in online classes, because they’re either sick of looking at screens or they liked the more social aspect of face to face.”
With the government’s promise of gyms being able to open again on the 12 April, Katy is very happy to be able to physically see clients again. “The connection you get with clients and that they get with each other is what makes this job so special,” she said, “I love the energy of teaching face to face classes.”
Based over at Copmanthrope Sports and Recreation Centre, MoreTone Fitness will be keeping their online classes after lockdown has lifted.
“It was always our plan to launch online classes for members, lockdown just made us do it much quicker,” Jase Morton said, “now we have everything we need to set up.”
Initially the team were doing classes over Facebook live, but after reoccurring technical difficulties, they quickly moved over to Zoom. “It worked much better for everyone and I could coach the members much more easily,” said Jase.
Members both new and old have made the most of MoreTone’s online sessions over the course of the year. “In the first lockdown the weather was great so it meant we could all exercise outside in the sun, which everyone loved!”
With the wonder that is modern technology, members have also been able to keep in touch, and maintain their strong community.
As well as workouts over Zoom, members are in a group chat. Jase said: “Members can talk, ask questions and post in our MoreTone Fitness Community Facebook group”.
Soon Morton hopes to be able to return to classes and personal training as it was back in 2019. First, they will be adhering to government guidelines, “We will set the class out with individual bays and equipment for each person,” Jase said.
“We’ve got some big things lined up, one of which is our MoreTone Mums class now run by Ema, which we’re really excited for.”