Sports clubs, the YMCA, and many health-and-wellness programs are going online with free classes
The coronavirus pandemic has many in the fitness industry — from small, independently owned clubs to some of the nation’s largest chain gyms — offering free at-home workout classes over the internet.
“I just want people to move, keep their bodies healthy,” said Amanda Petroccione, who runs Chosen Athletics in Canandaigua. “Keeping people healthy has always been my goal.”
Petroccione held her last in-person, group class — for now — on Monday in the CrossFit Chosen space in the Tom Wahl’s plaza on Route 332 in Canandaigua. Before the end of the week, her free, live-stream workout classes had taken off. Classes include those for kids and teens and a variety of moves, stretching and strength-building appropriate for all ages and levels that can easily be done at home without equipment. The classes are free for the time being.
“I am just taking it day by day,” said Petroccione, who has worked in the fitness industry for 18 years and had her own business for three. Once she can safely restart on-site classes, she looks forward to moving into a building she bought on Gorham Street. Still, she wants people to see they can get fit and stay fit from wherever they are.
Many big national chains are also offering free classes via live stream during the pandemic. Those include Planet Fitness, offering classes to anyone. If you can’t make it live, the workouts are available on-demand on Facebook and in Planet Fitness’ YouTube channel. No equipment is needed, and the classes last 20 minutes or less. Virtual classes are led by Planet Fitness certified trainers, as well as special guests like “The Biggest Loser'”coach and fitness trainer Erica Lugo, among others.
“Our daily routines have changed in unexpected ways, and we know that people may not be able to get to the gym. That’s why we’re offering a free, daily virtual fitness class for everyone on Planet Fitness’ Facebook page from Monday through Friday,” said Jeremy Tucker, chief marketing officer of Planet Fitness, in a statement to USA TODAY.
The home workouts offer tools “to combat stress, while providing motivation and inspiration sure to keep us all physically and mentally fit,” Tucker said.
Nationwide at YMCAs, all shuttered due to the pandemic, members and nonmembers alike are encouraged to take advantage of Y360. The new virtual initiative lets anyone take classes from top Y instructors in their home. The free, Y360 at-home workouts are accessed through YouTube.
At the Canandaigua Family YMCA, Executive Director Laurie O’Shaughnessy said the Y is operating with a skeletal staff to deep clean and maintain the building and answer calls. The Y is coordinating with the city of Canandaigua and Thompson Health to provide child daycare service when needed for emergency responders and healthcare workers. Y staff are available to take calls with questions about membership and other Y-related matters weekdays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. .
O’Shaughnessy said members may opt to put their membership on hold, so it can be easily reactivated when the Y reopens. She noted the Y is a nonprofit and said the organization is working closely with the United Way of Ontario County to remain strong and help the community during the coronavirus pandemic.