Closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, local fitness studios are facing huge economic losses. “It’s tough to have a crisis with no end in sight,” says Christine DeFilippis, owner of Pop Fit Studio in Havertown. “My family’s economic safety net is invested in our business, which is less than two years old.”
Body X in Bryn Mawr is even younger—March 1 marked the one-year anniversary of the training center owned by John Daley and Killian Riggs. Closing, even to private sessions, was a tough decision. “But we need to be responsible educators and lead by example,” Daley says.
The same decision was made by Jennifer Crompton who, along with her husband Jeff, owns Fuel Cycle Fitness, a boxing and spin studio in Ardmore. “We are more than business owners, we are teachers,” Crompton says.
Chris Somers, co-owner of PurEnergy in Paoli, agrees. “We’re not just a gym, we’re a community,” she says. “It’s not just losing money, but losing a way of life.”
Like restaurateurs, gym owners are concerned about the incomes of their employees. “My partners and I had a lot of difficult conversations about supporting our staff,” says Zach Jones, co-owner of Gravity Vault, a rock climbing center in Radnor. Gravity Vault and Philadelphia Rock Gyms both sent emails asking people to maintain their memberships so the owners can pay their employees.
“It’s scary, but we’re not going to wallow in this,” Daley says. “We’re getting to work and getting people to work out.” Within 24 hours, Daley and Riggs created and posted “corona workouts” that people can do at home. Other local studios followed suit.
While some content is reserved for paying members, most of it is available for free on their websites and social media platforms. “In the past, we didn’t post online content because we want people to come in and take classes,” Crompton says. “We pivot in boxing. Now, we’re going to pivot to online workouts.”
Some local gyms have established Venmo accounts so people can make financial contributions for the content provided. But like her colleagues, Somers has no qualms about providing free content. “This is the service that we need to give to the community right now,” she says.
During her first Zoom dance class, DeFilippis had more than 55 people join her live. “People do group fitness for the accountability and for the group energy,” she says. “They need me and I need them. We’ll get through this together.”
Crompton used Facebook Live to lead her signature Boxing and Beats class. More content is in the works, including kids’ classes. “We will rise together,” she says. “We’re part of one community now.”
Working Out at Home? Here’s What You Need:
PurEnergy Studio, Paoli
This Paoli studio has a video library of classes perfect for before or after your working from home time—or when you need a break midday.
YMCA of Greater Brandywine, Various locations
With outposts throughout the Brandywine Valley, the YMCA is keeping people active thanks its video library of classes.
Yoga Underground, Chadds Ford
PranaDas Yoga, Haverford
Find a video library of classes from this Haverford studio that’ll have you feeling zen.
Live Zoom classes are available for members. Not already signed up? Get a two-week pass as a new member for $30.
Bulldog Yoga, Malvern and Villanova
Known for its aerobic yoga classes, the studio is offering a video library of classes free for 30 days.
Now & Zen Yoga, West Chester