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The Future of Health Clubs is Unsteady

Marion Charatan

Posted on July 28, 2020 01:35

4 users

When COVID-19 hit, gyms had to close their doors. It's tough to socially distance when you're working out. But you can still get fantastic workouts in the privacy of your own home -- and the price is right!

I was a gym rat from way back when. In my twenties, I would work out for hours with my friend Allison at Lucille Roberts in New York. We would take a couple of classes, sit on the bikes or run on the treadmill for an hour and then, go for a dip in the pool, topping it off with a trip to the steam room. It was an addiction -- at least one that was healthy. 

Over the years, fitness remained very important to me. I even trained to teach around my work and got certified for step and aerobics. Most recently, I was a volunteer substitute instructor at one of the Seattle YMCA's. 

It wasn't enough for me to belong to one gym! Until March, I had memberships at LA Fitness and Planet Fitness to not get bored. When the pandemic hit, the gyms closed and I decided to cancel, rather than freeze my memberships. I did so with trepidation -- wondering how I would manage because working out has meant a lot to me. It keeps me grounded mentally and physically. 

The only options were to find online alternatives. And that's just what I did. Planet Fitness has "work-in" fitness called United We Move where trainers offer a variety of calisthenics classes. You can mix and match 20-30 minute sessions and get a pretty good workout for free. 

I like classes from the timeless Denise Austin like Stretch and Flex, a relaxing way to begin the day. It's also fun to look up Richard Simmons and Jane Fonda who taught for decades. Their exercise classes stand the test of time. There are also yoga, Pilates and Zoom classes. Physical Therapist Jenny McClendon has different classes for beginners through seniors. And if you prefer a more aggressive workout, give Jeanette Jenkin's The 600 Calorie Workout a try. Jenkins is a celebrity trainer and the ex-partner of Queen Latifah. 

Personal trainer and fitness instructor Michelle Damis offers a daily menu of carefully-designed Zoom classes in the mornings and afternoons. I'm grateful to take her classes most days. The charismatic Damis is the President of SAG-AFTRA in Portland and works as a professional actress and stuntwoman. Damis can be reached at [email protected]

My friend, Sharon Donahue, a skilled yoga teacher, combines her gentle online instruction with breathing, meditation and biblical wisdom. See class times at [email protected]

With all these proficient instructors, I'm now thinking I won't even rejoin a gym. Today, I worked out in the morning and afternoon with 2 different teachers. I can exercise at my own convenience. It's a relief not to have to drive to a gym, wait for equipment or a shower or deal with rude members.  Plus, there's the B.O. factor or uncleanliness that can be hard to take.

I bought home weights and other equipment. It's not easy to always wear a mask and socially distance in a gym. For me, I've discovered a better way to stay healthy!

Marion Charatan

Posted on July 28, 2020 01:35

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