More Gyms Turn To Virtual Fitness

Mar 26, 2020

Gyms are among the non-essential businesses shut down this week by Governor Kate Brown’s Stay Home, Save Lives Executive Order. While gyms are going dark, many fitness instructors are taking to the virtual world to keep teaching classes. I spoke with the Fitness Director at the Downtown Athletic Club in Eugene.

Ellen DeWerd is Fitness Director at the Downtown Athletic Club in Eugene.
Credit Ellen DeWerd

Full disclosure, I know Ellen DeWerd, since I take classes from her at the DAC. She says even before the gym was closed attendance was way down as more people were social distancing as Coronavirus cases grew in the community.

“So, within just a few days time really, people started staying home and not wanting to come into the club. So we kind of made a quick pivot to virtual offerings.”

DeWerd says she started a Facebook group for members where instructors are offering everything from Yoga and Pilates to Tai Chi. She says they’re trying to meet people where they are, at home.  And the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

“One of the things that sounds totally ironic is I actually feel like we’re closer than ever. Because we realize we take kind of for granted that we can come together and work out together and having that taken away from us, I think has given us a heightened sense of appreciation for one another.”

DeWerd says offering classes over Facebook live and zoom is the only way to serve their members right now.

“We have to go there. That is how we can provide value and I like to say, how we can be sticky to our members so that they stick to us and want to stick with us and not leave us.”

Ellen DeWerd is Fitness Director at the Downtown Athletic Club in Eugene. Even though the gym is closed to help stop the spread of Coronavirus, the DAC is offering online classes to its members.

It’s not the only gym that’s moving to online offerings. The Eugene YMCA is among many local facilities offering virtual classes.

DeWerd says she knows this is a hard time to keep healthy habits. But her advice is to make it part of your routine.

“The biggest thing that makes us work out and feel like working out is working out. And the biggest thing that makes us want to eat well is eating well.”

Copyright 2020 KLCC.