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Workout with your favorite instructor at home

Furloughed fitness instructors reinvent themselves
Posted at 2:06 PM, Apr 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-05 14:06:05-04

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — The fitness industry is essentially furloughed because of the COVID-19 virus. Instructors unable to teach, gyms' doors are locked, and studio lights are dimmed, livelihoods on hold.

WPTV NewsChannel 5's T.A. asked 5 fitness instructors in the Palm Beaches how they are adapting to market conditions by changing their business models to stay open.

1) Shannon Weeks of Lake Worth

"I was in panic mode," said fitness instructor Shannon Weeks.

Over $4,000 a month of Weeks' income evaporated overnight when all the studios she teaches group fitness shut down.

Weeks figured out she can still be connected with her clients.

"[ZOOM] is all new to me. I still don't know it very well," admitted Weeks.

"My whole life has changed. I wake up in the morning, and I go downstairs to one room; I start with my Orange Theory. I go to the next room I do our walk, I come [out to my back patio where] I do our group fitness."

"Thumbs up, so I know you guys can all see me," cheered weels to a group of 25 working out with her on Zoom.

"You know I can see you, right?" cheered Weeks to an iPad.

"I started working for a company called UBQFIT, which is an online platform app [with] one-on-one trainings," said Weeks.

Workouts on UBQFIT range from free to $40 for one-on-one sessions.

2) Marisa McGrath of Palm Beach Gardens

McGrath is motivating her fitness followers to run 60 miles in April by using the Nike Run app. You can join for free by following her Instagram account @Training4Tacos.

"I'm so used to seeing those people reguarly. And I think that's what people are searching for. How can I still feel like I'm apart of something and in a community without being physically present somewhere?" said McGrath.

She says most of the instructors she sees online are doing their classes for free and some are asking for tips for their virtual workout sessions by posting Pay Pal and Venmo links.

"One of the instructors I follow she's [says working out online] is like church! You know tip the squirrel--that's what she calls herself," said McGrath

3) Rachel Leigh of Boynton Beach

Leigh was used to teaching up to nine cycling classes a week in Boca Raton and is in the Marketing Department for Florida Atlantic University.

She says FAU's fitness instructors all over Florida developed online fitness classes, some of which she will be teaching, that start Monday, April 6.

"[FAU's fitness instructors] have developed templates and plans so that we can stay connected to our students," said Leigh.

Leigh admitted she is fortunate to have a full-time job and, "I can't know how [people who teach fitness as their only job] are feeling but I do feel for them."

"Studios are laying off people they are closing," said Leigh.

She recommends if you can afford it to keep your gym memberships and pay for some online classes to help out the fitness industry.

4) Ashley Cope of Juno Beach

Ashley Brock Cope who is a "master motivator and oracle of positivity" is "Fighting the 'Quarantine 19' one pound at a time" four times a week on WPTV's Facebook page. You can enjoy workouts that you can do at home. The 30-minute sessions are for all skill levels using objects you can find in your home. You can watch the workouts live or on demand.

Thursday at 6 p.m.
Friday at 8:30 a.m.
Saturday at 9 a.m.
Sunday at 9 a.m.

"You can't change the wind, but you can change the sails," said Cope about the pandemic's effect on her industry.

Cope said word of mouth is helping market her training services.

5) Jenna Smith of Palm Beach Gardens

Smith usually teaches a class of 48 at CycleBar Palm Beach Gardens. She has posted a virtual ride and other core workouts on YouTube

WPTV is looking to get the word out of all these instructors innovating and find new ways to touch their clients. You can find or list your workout routine by going to our "We're Open" tab at there you will find an interactive map.