Staying fit during COVID-19

Published 9:28 pm Wednesday, December 23, 2020

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As a long-awaited new year is around the corner, many are making resolutions to work on their health. Local fitness studios are doing what they can to follow regulations and help people reach their goals.

Connie Womack owns C-Fit Studios on North Main Street. Her boutique-style studio meant the COVID-19 regulations were not as big of an adjustment, as her facility already had limited capacity.

C-Fit has always had small class sizes and ran by appointments. When COVID-19 hit, Womack claimed she was very lucky and only had to be diligent about her operation and adjust a few things that she believes will benefit the studio in the long run. One of the adjustments included new virtual classes that she wanted to start for years.

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“The virtual classes will be a permanent thing,” said Womack. “I have wanted to do it. So this is one of the more positive aspects of the virus because it catapulted us into it, and we couldn’t wait until it was perfect before launch. COVID-19 has forced us to be more creative as a society.”

Once restrictions eased up, Womack could host classes again in the studio with more cleaning and regulations. She used diffusers, temperature checks, provided hand sanitizer, and made a new shoe rule. Patrons must either keep their shoes at the studio or clean them when coming, since many exercises require putting hands on the floor. According to Womack, the workouts require adequate space between patrons anyway, so distancing is maintained.

Unlike most gyms, C-Fit does not have a membership but offers an unlimited pass or pay for sessions separately. Folks can come and go; they only need to make an appointment.

“We changed the format a bit, but people can still do rowers, bikes or their own thing,” said Womack. “Now it’s just by appointment to limit overlapping and too many people at once.”

Other studios have had similar experiences. Susan Ottey owns Better Bodies 757 in Hampton, which offers personal training in a community atmosphere to help with accountability.

Once COVID-19 hit, Ottey’s group workouts of 15 to 20 people were limited to workouts online and still held challenges to keep patrons engaged and moving. Once summer came, she started meeting in person again as they distanced outside in the parking lot.

“The goal is just to keep creating community and keep supporting each other,” Ottey said.

Like Womack, Ottey has also seen a positive response to the convenience of virtual classes.

“We’ll be keeping the virtual option,” said Ottey. “Most of the clients are moms with careers, and they like the option of not leaving home. However, a good majority still like coming in for the community feel and accountability.”

As many people joke about their “quarantine weight,” this pandemic has also impacted many people’s mental health. Ottey spoke about the importance of mental health as well as physical health.

“To keep up with a client’s mental health and stress management, trainers need to keep up interactions,” said Ottey. “I hosted Zoom check-ins to help everyone stay sane through this whole thing.”

When starting 2021 on a healthy note, keep in mind the smaller studios trying to keep their patrons safe and healthy while maintaining a personal atmosphere.