When Californians were ordered to shelter in place in March, one of Esta McIntyre’s first thoughts was about the well-being of her clients.
McIntyre runs My Health Studio, a fitness studio on Via Colinas. A big part of McIntyre’s business is working with people who have degenerative conditions such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
“When we found out that this was happening, we called everyone we could think of and told them to come by, and we sent them home with fitness trampolines and balls and bands and weights. . . .” McIntyre said. “I knew the only way we could remain afloat, and the only way they could stay healthy, was if we streamed classes.”
She started offering online classes the day after the shutdown orders went into effect and said that while it was a rocky start, clients quickly adapted to the change.
“We haven’t lost any clients. The only thing we’ve lost—we had an enhanced membership that included HydroMassage and these in-house services they can no longer take advantage of. We reeled them back to a standard membership, although some continued to pay the higher rate,” McIntyre said.
She even offered a free set of classes to celebrate Mother’s Day, once she made sure her paying clients were OK with it.
Physical fitness is an important means to combat degenerative diseases like MS. Movement and muscle growth help keep the nerve pathways active that would otherwise be impacted by disease.
There has been some difficulty in transitioning her clients to working out at home— certain equipment can’t be sent with them, like the bungee systems hanging from the ceiling of her facility. She uses those to help her clients who use wheelchairs to exercise without fear of falling.
It’s harder to work with clients virtually because she can’t monitor them the way she would in person.
Despite the limitations imposed by the pandemic, McIntyre is keeping a positive attitude. She’s losing some money but is confident her business will survive, and she’s still helping a community that needs her.