Wits Vuvuzela spoke to individuals within the fitness industry on their move to online teachings.
Covid-19 has hit the economy hard and the fitness industry is no exception. Major gym franchises, personal trainers, fitness instructors and smaller fitness studios are refusing to lie down though and have turned to their computers to reach their clients and make a living during lockdown.
Founder and lead instructor of MoveMe Mind Body exercise studio in Bryanston, Celeste de Bruyn, 33, has been teaching yoga using Skype in her lounge since the national lockdown commenced at the end of March.
De Bruyn says this move to virtual teachings was necessary for financial and personal reasons.
“Teaching is my only source of income, so it wasn’t really an option. That aside, the benefits to my clients was also a no-brainer reason to at least try to get them to keep moving, especially considering the stress that comes along with an unprecedented lockdown like this,” said de Bruyn.
Virgin Active group class instructor, Mboneni Mahlaba, has taken a different approach to keeping his clients active by sharing regular workouts and their accompanying how-to pictures using a WhatsApp group. The group consists of the women who regularly attend his Sunday class at the Lonehill Virgin Active branch.
Mahlaba keeps his class motivated from afar by always reminding them that they are “tougher than the challenges,” he gives them.
One of Mahlaba’s regular participants, Barbra Wilson, 62, says that she is really grateful for Mahlaba’s workouts because she has missed going to his class during lockdown. Wilson says that these workouts have been keeping her “fit and active” during this lockdown period.
Similarly, avid gym-goer, Maxine Brunette, 23, has been keeping fit during lockdown by using a fitness app that provides her with daily workouts. However, she notes that this has been a challenge.
“I have generally struggled with the online workouts. Due to lack of equipment, I have found it challenging to target specific muscle groups and strain my body to the extent to which it has become accustomed,” said Brunette.
The move to online platforms though has not been all positive for those in the fitness industry.
Self-employed body transformation coach Dave Watkeys who is based in Durban, mentions some of these challenges in an Instagram post on April 29:
Internet connectivity issues have been a major challenge for de Bruyn, making “some sessions near-impossible,” she said.
However, teaching virtually has also provided itself with a few positives for de Bruyn. “I’ve gotten more proficient with verbal cues,” de Bruyn said in regards to her personal growth as an instructor during this time.
Clients have also been “really grateful for the classes as it gives them a break from the stress and chaos they face in a day as well as provides them with a chance to breathe and focus fully on themselves for a bit,” de Bruyn tells Wits Vuvuzela.
According to the national regulations in level 4, exercise within a five kilometre radius of one’s household is permitted between six and nine in the morning provided that social distancing is maintained and masks are worn. It is currently unclear when gyms and exercise studios will be allowed to reopen.
FEATURED IMAGE: The fitness industry has turned to their computers and the internet to maintain an income and keep their members at home active during lockdown. Photo: Freepik.com/Arthur Hidden.
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