Sylvan Lake fitness centres offering digital workouts



Scott McDermott uses a bag full of grocery items to do bicep curls in Best Body Fitness’s first digital workout video, posted on March 16. Under the direction of the Provincial Government all recreation and fitness-based businesses have been closed, but many are still working to keep locals active.

Best Body Fitness and Balance Studios in Sylvan Lake have both closed their doors due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but have plans in place to continue helping residents stay active during the days of self-isolation. Scott McDermott and some of the staff at Best Body Fitness are using social media to keep everyone moving while at home.

McDermott began posting workout videos on Facebook on March 16, before the provincial state of emergency was put in to place and the gym was told to close. He said he chose to start the videos for his members, and residents of Sylvan Lake, to continue with their health and fitness journey despite being cooped up in home. “These are really uncertain times, but I am a firm believer that eating healthy and staying active during this time will be the best way to combat this,” McDermott said.

Videos range in style and length, and so far have been shared over Facebook Live and a program called Zoom. The first workout video shared used toilet paper as prop in a move McDermott called “Toilet Paper Abs.”  “Our first video uses toilet paper, because I thought it was funny and timely,” McDermott said.

Becky Hutchinson, a yoga instructor and manager at Balance Studios, says social media and YouTube will be a great resource for people needing to stay active in the days to come.  She says the popular video website has a lot of great content for workouts, including a variety of yoga videos.

“There are a ton of great resources online… Youtube in particular is a great resource. You can find all sorts of different yoga videos to follow along to in a bunch of different varieties and skill levels,” Hutchinson said.  Like Best Body Fitness, and so many other fitness centres in Alberta, Balance Studios is looking to provide classes online.

Hutchinson says digital classes are in the works, and specifically looking to have classes through Zoom. “We aren’t looking to rush into anything right now. It is a crazy time, and we want to take our time with it right now,” Hutchinson said.  For now, Balance Studios is posting regularly on social media to keep members motivated and in the right head space.

One way they are helping is by recommending mediation, specifically through an app call Insight Timer, which gives thousands of options for guided meditation.  “Meditation can help clear our heads and get us into a space where everyone can accept stillness and reduce the stress going on around us,” Hutchinson said.

McDermott says it is important to stay healthy and active during this time. He suggests doing workouts at home, going for a walk if possible, and continue to eat healthy foods.  “If you stay at home for the next month binging Netflix and eating cheese poofs, you aren’t doing anyone any good,” McDermott said.

Hutchinson suggests finding something to be grateful for every day.  “It is a crazy time and no one knows what is going to happen next… Find something to be grateful for, more family time, taking time for self care,” Hutchinson said.

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