The gym industry was one of the hardest hit when South Florida cities began to announce business closures in efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. One thing we’re learning as this situation unravels is that gyms are not just a place to lift weights, they are a source of connection, community and escape from daily stressors. Gym owners all across the state are working to move their offerings online and continue to cultivate the kind of community that their clients crave. 

I got to catch up with three South Florida gym owners to find out how quarantine has affected them and what is keeping them sane. My conversations with these owners were overwhelmingly positive, with underlying themes to the effect of, we’ll get through this, we’ve got to keep moving, we’ve got to keep connecting.

Troy Valls of Move. Lift. Live (@move.lift.live)

Move. Lift. Live is currently offering several free classes per day. 

How are things going for you in quarantine?

Oddly, pretty good. We’re in ‘take it day by day’ mode and at the moment we’re good. Time will tell. We took a decision early on to start sunsetting the gym business. We felt like ‘this is going to happen anyway, so let’s just rip the bandaid off now’ and we jumped on it. We started asking questions like: How can we be proactive? How do we adapt? How do we exist? What does this virtual world look like? 

What are you up to now?

Before we closed, we opened up the doors for our members to sign out equipment.  We are offering a full schedule of workouts 3 times a day, including yoga, mobility, and a discussion group. The discussions include about 10 people, we pick a topic and dig into it. We recognized that people are still feeling really anxious and we feel that for the most part, the antidote is people being able to connect with each other.

How is your community?

Our community has been amazing. Everyone is asking ‘what can we do? ‘They’ve also been expressing worry that their connection will go away. We’re really pushing to maintain a sense of community. When you boil it down fitness is really about healing. People look to fitness and health as remedies, to help them feel better. Fitness increases longevity, mental clarity, strength, courage, and mental resilience. Now we’re just trying to create that in a virtual space. 

How was the shift into digital for you?

The shift into digital was pretty seamless for us because we were ahead of it. We recognize that physical connection is irreplaceable, so we’re going above and beyond with our digital offerings making sure people still feel that they have human connection in a meaningful way.

How are you feeling?

Everybody knows that when you step out of your comfort zone that is where you truly find growth and magic. Right now we’re being forced into things we’re not comfortable with. As the community pulls together, the more we support each other, the more we can help people find their true gifts so that they can prevail and come through this.

And what about the business?

As long as we’re still standing, we’re asking ‘what is the most we can do to help?’

Jamie Maitland of The Office (@theoffice954)

The Office is offering free classes at @theoffice954

What are you up to these days?

We have been streaming live mini-workouts outs along with some spin classes. I want our community to feel like they are still able to connect with us on a personal level, so all of the workouts have been real, not perfect, just the way it is. 

How is your community doing?

My community is super inspiring, everyone is coming together, even the studios are coming together. People do miss their outing to the gym, though. The workout community is an escape and I love being that for people, but things always change and we just have to move forward. 

How are you personally handling the situation?

I’m ready to take on anything that you throw at me on a deeper level. I’m still waking up every day and able to do what I love to do every day, so I’m grateful for that. Perspective and mindset will get us through this. I’m trying not to overthink and am doing my best, it’s one of the four agreements. You have to learn to surf and flow. Things ebb and flow, that’s life, it’s a jungle.

What’s your favorite home workout rn? 

Butchering my accessory muscles. Short workouts, but killer. Like doing 1,000 donkey kicks.

Kamps – Ari and Sam Karl (@kampsfit)

Kamps is offering free daily classes through Kamps Live

What are you up to these days?

We’re live-streaming classes on Zoom for free. We’re also raising money for Feeding America, which helps fund food banks across the country. These organizations are feeding the children who are usually fed in public school, it’s so important right now. 

How was the shift to digital?

We have been extra cautious watching this materialize, so we closed early on. We didn’t want to be part of the problem. Because we closed early, we had some time to prepare and took an organized approach. 

We’ve never done digital, so we face challenges every day. We’re still working on sound and image quality, and interaction. It’s been constantly evolving since we’ve been online, but our digital community is growing  – we now have people tuning in to our workouts from all over the globe, it’s inspiring to see. 

How is your community doing? 

We have a good base of clientele that we see every day and we’re still feeling a sense of community through our free classes. Everyone seems to be doing okay, and we are doing our best to keep everyone in good physical and mental shape throughout this crisis.

What is your favorite workout rn?

All of our trainers bring an exciting and unique aspect to the workout. Elena’s boxing classes are incredible!


If you’re looking for ways to support your favorite gym or trainer right now, check out these 9 Ways to Support your Local Gym and Trainer.