Despite fitness centers having to close their locations amid COVID-19, you can still use many of them for your workouts — online.
That’s how Charlotte area fitness and strength-training centers such as MADabolic’s SouthEnd and Elizabeth locations are surviving the economic turmoil from the new coronavirus pandemic, their owners say.
Fitness training centers were among the facilities temporarily forced to close this month under Stay at Home orders issued by Mecklenburg County and other governments. The centers fell under the mandate that facilities with 10 or more people had to close.
Charlotte-based MADabolic also made its strength-training equipment available for rent. Members and others were invited to the locations during 2-hour periods on three days to rent out items, Finley Funsten, general manager and co-owner of the two Charlotte locations, told the Observer in an interview Friday.
In Charlotte, MADabolic rented out about 55 pieces of equipment, which is helping to pay two full-time employees while the gyms are closed. Most of its trainers have always had full-time jobs elsewhere, training MADabolic members part-time, Funsten said.
“The turnout was really high,” Funsten said, noting that most who rented equipment were MADabolic members.
MADabolic also launched virtual training on Vimeo less than a week before its March 18 temporary closure, Funsten said. That has been the biggest factor to its financial survival, she said.
Most other fitness centers have similarly steered their members online, livestreaming mainly on Instagram and Zoom.
Metro Fitness Club in Myers Park, which is closed through April 18, urged members to follow it on Instagram for exercise programming.
When it temporarily closed its locations nationwide March 20, including its center on Ardrey Kell Road in Ballantyne, Fitness Connection launched Fitness Connection @Home for members.
The company also told members March 20 that billing had been automatically frozen for the duration of the coronavirus crisis.
“We’ve taken care of this for you,” Fitness Connection officials said online. “You do not need to take any action to make this change. Be assured, you will not receive any charges to your account during this time.”
In an online message, Crunch Gyms told members that all of its corporately owned gym memberships and associated monthly billings were suspended, “and many of our independently operated clubs are doing the same. Once the club reopens, members will receive an adjustment or credit applied to their membership.”
Crunch Gyms has a location on Johnston Road in Ballantyne.
Crunch Gyms leaders implored members not to cancel their memberships, although the option is available by mailing or emailing the company with the request.
“We want to keep you as a member and believe your fitness and health are too important to abandon during this crisis,” officials posted.
Funsten said MADabolic, which has about 700 unique clients a month, decided against freezing billing during the crisis. Almost every member has stayed on; only a few requested their memberships be suspended, she said.