Newport area studios and gyms are getting creative with virtual fitness during coronavirus shut down –

Posted: March 22, 2020 at 9:50 pm

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NEWPORT As social distancing and quarantines become the new norm, gyms and fitness studios are going digital in order to bring home exercise and a sense of community to viewers.

Mend Yoga, located above the Firehouse Theater, had 150 people tune in live to its first virtual class held Tuesday afternoon.

Mend classes are donation-based and available via Vimeo, a live stream service. Anyone can access the video via the link in its Instagram bio (@Mend_Yoga), or the link can be sent if one signs up for its email list through the website.

Mend is currently offering its signature sculpt class, a 60-minute HIIT class that incorporates yoga, though it intends to add meditation and vinyasa options if people continue to tune in and donate.

OUR BIGGEST CLASS EVER 150 of you showed UP for us and for yourselves today, proving that even in tough times (no, ESPECIALLY in tough times), community is stronger than anything. If you missed us during our 3:30 livestream, well be keeping the video up for the rest of the night. If youre new here, please make a donation to our Venmo @mend_yoga. More classes coming soon, well keep em public if you keep supporting us!

A post shared by mend (@mend_yoga) on Mar 17, 2020 at 2:14pm PDT

When asked about the response to their donation-based system, the founders say its all a part of the community theyve fostered in their first six months being open. You give and you get. Were happy to have put ourselves out there and have people willing to support, co-founder Lexi Geschke said.

The founders said making these classes public is about potentially introducing it to new people and giving everyone a way to stay healthy and strong while staying home.

Its proven that a healthy body helps with immunity, Brooke Finocchiaro, a co-founder said.

They stressed that the mental benefits are just as important.

A lot of people just had their entire schedule cleared and they have unstructured time. That's the hardest thing when dealing with anxiety or depression or anything right now, Geschke said.

The videos go live at 3:30 p.m. daily and are available until 9 a.m. the following day.

Another local studio offering online classes is Studio Barre.

Currently, Studio Barre is featuring two 45-minute total body workouts via Vimeo people can do at home using a chair in place of the usual bar. The workouts also require light weights, though if people dont have them, they can use water bottles, or even wine bottles, owner Kelsey Collard said.

Barre workouts consist of small isometric movements with a lot of stretching in between, Collard said.

Members can tune in free and anyone else can get the videos for $39 by emailing Studio Barre.

The studio is part of a small franchise of about 24 locations, and founder Shannon Higgins teaches the classes.

Obviously it's a super stressful time for everybody. Were all just cooped up at home on the couch figuring out the new normal. Before you know it, you've been home for a week and haven't done anything. We just want people to work out easily from home and show them its possible to stay strong and stay healthy, Collard said. Its such a mental release. too. Hopefully this will give them an opportunity to think about themselves and their health for 45 minutes without letting any other intrusive thoughts creep in.

In Middletown, Innerlight Center for Yoga & Meditation also went digital on Monday of this week.

Some people might consider it to be a fitness class, but I don't think of it like that. I think of it more as an opportunity to connect really deeply with one's being. The physical, the mental, the spiritual. Its important because theres so much pulling us out of ourselves into an unsettled state of mind, said Kim Chandler, founder of Innerlight. Yoga is strengthening as far as connections with ones self and with others. It's soothing for the nervous system and so important for the immune system.

Currently, Innerlight is offering classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at noon as well as Saturday at 8:30 a.m. The Monday class is free and the other classes cost $10 through the mindbody app.

The video is live streamed through Zoom, and the link for Mondays classes are available through Innerlights social media pages. For the paid classes, a link is sent after purchase. Soon, the studio plans to add restorative yoga and meditation, and available now is Chandlers meditative writing class.

Chandler mentioned that those who participated in the first yoga class Monday ended up staying on Zoom after the class to chat.

People have a chance to connect during this time where were all starved for that, Chandler said.

Something similar happened at The November Project, which normally takes place outside at Eastons Beach at 6:20 a.m. on Wednesday mornings.

The project is continuing its usual free community-based workouts on Zoom, and rather than its usual coffee shop outing after class, particpiants are staying on the Zoom call to enjoy their morning coffee virtually and be social.

We are a big community group that really thrives on us all being together. We miss out on that human connection by being stuck at home. It gives us a way to feel connected to each other, said Beth Blendell, one of the organizers.

Blendell and Erin Briskie are the founders of the Newport chapter of the November Project, which has 52 chapters around the country.

Everything is free and our workouts are always free. We want people to come and enjoy themselves and not have to worry about paying for it, Blendell said.

The all levels, bodyweight classes are available via live stream and can be accessed via the Facebook page.

Also offering free classes at the moment is Elevate Fitness.

Elevate runs an eight-week bootcamp, and because the facility is closed, the memberships have been suspended.

In the meantime, owner Kathy Martin is recording free workout videos on Youtube shes sharing on Elevates Facebook page.

Theyre primarily HIIT workouts, we also offer low-impact versions and a lot of bodyweight workouts right now. Martin said. Were making it user friendly, no equipment needed.

Martin spoke of the struggle all studios are facing. The bootcamps can be pushed off, but the problem is, can the rent be pushed off? Were in that position right now as a small business where we dont want to get ourselves in debt, she said.

This is a message the other studios mirrored.

This is going to be a week by week thing for me, Martin said, noting the business will be assessing its model as its moves forward during this time. But for now, shes just focused on figuring out the best ways to get content out to people.

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Newport area studios and gyms are getting creative with virtual fitness during coronavirus shut down -

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March 22nd, 2020 at 9:50 pm

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