For fitness coach Kelly Young, adapting to new environments is something she’s always been familiar and comfortable with. When she first started her boot camp program over a decade ago, now recognized as Inergy Kelly’s Bootcamp, every set, circuit and routine took place in a parking lot, rain or shine.
Today, while Young owns her very own studio in South Riding, she has maintained that comfortability with change, a trait that has assisted her immensely in the midst of the global pandemic. From creating virtual training programs to improving her own fitness practice, this is what life looks like for Young and the fitness junkies of Inergy.
What was the experience of actually closing your gym like?
The experience of closing Inergy was incredibly difficult, yet empowering. We love our members and understand that we serve as a happy place where people can have fun while exercising and stay connected to the community. When we had to close our doors, we continued with outside classes of 10 people and livestreamed classes so that people at home could also participate. We took things one day at time and we made the best of each of the scenarios that we were given. One of the mantras that we value most in our workout community is that we are unstoppable. Kelly’s Bootcamp started as an outdoor program anyway, so I knew we didn’t need a space to continue to serve our community.
What has adapting to virtual workout classes been like?
When it comes to maintaining healthy habits, routine is key. We wanted our members to continue to take the classes that they loved at times they were used to, with the instructors they felt connected to. We maintained all of our offerings and went from having two early morning classes to one, and also offered additional classes at the 7 a.m. time slot because without commutes and getting ready for work and school time, that became a popular option.
We’ve stayed very connected with our members, communicating every day, asking what they want and what they need during this challenging time. We also opened up our memberships to the entire family and are thrilled with the number of family members that have been participating on the camera, pets included. Also, when we shut our doors, we loaned out most all of our equipment, including rowers, weights, equalizers and over 50 step benches. We gifted our community bender balls and workout bands so that clients can use them for home workouts.
What has been the most challenging aspect of this?
Our biggest obstacle at first was navigating the tech world and getting to the point where we could offer high-quality, live workouts. The team and community jumped in to help. We changed internet carriers, got the best streaming equipment available and worked with a company called Fitgrid that was helping studios send links to members that signed up for class. We were all on a mission to make this work.
What has the shift been like for your staff?
The KBC team is stronger than ever. One of the things that I look for in an instructor/coach is adaptability. We coach and train people based on where they are right now. There is no one-size-fits-all program. We are a team of independent thinkers; they have always owned their classes and their coaching style. When we asked them to teach students through a TV screen instead of a live room, they nailed it. A good coach/trainer knows how to make connections and get the best out of people, no matter what the situation is. Because of our community loyalty, all staff continue to be utilized and paid.
Talk to me about your own personal fitness routine right now.
I am a person that craves routine and workouts have always been, and continue to be, an important part of my well-being. As an instructor, you have to do most of the workout when you are streaming because people are often visual learners. That was very hard at first. But honestly, I actually feel like I am in better shape than usual. In general, there is less explanation and more workout time so I think we are all benefiting in that regard.
What are some self-care regimens you’ve taken part in to stay sane right now?
I have been sharing weekly challenges with my participants to work on sleep, gratitude, healthy eating, self-care and outdoor time. My personal foam rolling and stretching habits have improved and I am encouraging our students to do the same.
What do you miss most about in-person gym time?
I miss the energy. I feed off of people. I can connect to the screen and see that they are working hard and having fun, but it isn’t quite the same. I also miss the exchange of kindness through our students. They cheer for and support one another during workouts and there is often a team mentality that makes us special.
What keeps you hopeful during this uncertain time?
There are always going to be things that you cannot control but everybody has the opportunity for better health. Being strong is more than how much weight you can lift and connecting with people is just as important as eating vegetables and drinking water. I am hopeful that more people recognize that our health will always be our greatest commodity and without it, nothing else matters.
Phase one of reopening the region starts Friday, May 29. What are your plans for reopening when the time comes?
We plan to start outdoor classes tomorrow (Friday, May 29). It will be a bit of a soft opening as we are limiting our members to two outdoor classes a week. They have unlimited memberships and will continue a combination of virtual and live workouts, as we anticipate about a third of our members will be ready to come outside.
When we are able to reopen Inergy, we will follow all of the guidelines for sanitation and social distancing. We intend to keep virtual offerings on our schedule indefinitely now. The classes will serve those that are more comfortable working at home and those that would like a hybrid of offerings. Since the opening of Inergy, we have been unique in that we offer classes specific to indoor and outdoor training, and now we can add virtual. It is all part of the “yes you can,” unstoppable mindset.
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