From people frequenting public gyms pre-Covid to mushrooming of home gyms and virtual fitness sessions after the first unlock, the pandemic has literally upended the fitness industry. Though home workouts had been gaining traction even before Covid-19, the pace picked up only last year, when gyms and fitness studios switched over to the online mode.
“There has been a 100 per cent rise in the virtual fitness sessions. A rarity earlier, these are a norm today,” says Fitness Coach Manik Dhodhi, who launched the healthnhappiness app to assist his students last year. “We develop customised training plans as different people have different needs, and connect with our trainees daily, so there is regular two-way communication,” he says, adding that virtual sessions are scheduled as per specific requirements. The shift to virtual workouts is benefiting people more as they have access to different types of classes. From high-energy workouts like aerobics ,spin, and body pump to gentle core strengthening exercises like Pilates, there is something for everyone.
The plus point: the workouts are guided by experts. “When the pandemic struck, the privilege of working out at a gym was taken away, however, being a fitness enthusiast, I couldn’t stay away long from working out. I tried many unique ways to work out but finally ended up setting a home gym. I invested in a pair of dumbbells and resistance bands. It has given me so much liberty and it is much easier to stick to the plan now, all I need is to change into my active wear, and I am good to go.
The excuse of driving to the gym post office, doesn’t apply anymore,” says Model Town resident Ritika Arora, who takes help of YouTube videos to carve out her own exercise schedule. “Virtual classes help you connect not only with others but also with your inner self. These allow you to participate in a sweat session at your own pace and convenience. It enables fitness enthusiasts to exercise at any time of day, according to their convenience,” says Mohit Mathur, Founder and CEO, OneFitPlus. “One gains the benefits of in-person workouts, such as enhanced accountability, increased endorphins, and constant motivation, and more by working out virtually with others,” he adds.
No going back
Most fitness enthusiasts say they will not go back to physical gyms even when the situation gets normal. “Although gyms are reopening, I don’t feel like going back to these as I have got into the rhythm of training anywhere. My living room and the gallery have become my makeshift gym, where I experiment with different routines.
I am actually loving the freedom of working out in my own space, at my own pace,” says Arora. “I started consulting a trainer after I purchased an elliptical bike in May last year. I never went to a gym, didn’t have a trainer; I was into walking and running. But when the lockdown happened, my lifestyle changed; there was no commuting, no travel and lots of work from home. In three months, I gained 5 kg weight and became pre-diabetic,” says Tarun Chhibber, a resident of Mayur Vihar. Chhibber then purchased a cross-trainer, and since then has been working out on it, assisted virtually by his trainer.
“The personal fitness experience is still marred by fear, and will remain so for quite some time,” says Ajay Singh, who earlier trained at RR Aerobics Centre in Mayur Vihar, and now helps his students through video sessions on his cell phone.