A few weeks ago, during our “100 Year snow storm” in Knoxville, I had to close Black Dog Fitness for a week. We had about 10 inches of snow, then it rained then it was bitterly cold. (It was 1 degree. I require multiple degrees). Driving to the gym was not worth the risk – especially for people with Parkinson’s disease. To ease some of the desire to get to the gym and give my members an opportunity to exercise, I hosted live streamed workouts on YouTube.
I will bring the gym to them!
Let’s do a full workout from the comfort of your own home. No special equipment needed – a chair and hand weights, if you had them. You only need a space big enough to lie down. There are hundreds of exercises you can do with just the floor, a chair and gravity. Most of the best exercises for people with Parkinson’s don’t require any equipment. I hosted the workouts during my regular Rock Steady Boxing class times and I calibrated them to the class level of that day. My Tuesday and Thursday class is a lower intensity so eased up a little on those days and I didn’t include any exercises on the floor. Monday, Wednesday and Friday was full tilt.
I thought these workouts would be well received and highly attended. Everyone was feeling slow and bored. I was bringing the gym to them. All they had to do was click the link in the email message at the right time and do what I did. No driving. No commute time. They didn’t have to brush their teeth or even get dressed. I made this as easy for them as fitness can be other than someone else moving your arms and legs for you.
We had about 10 people participate every day. Maximum of about 15 and minimum of 6. In the gym, we regularly have 25 people in the Monday/Wednesday/Friday class! What was going on? This could not be much easier. Why aren’t there more people here? We actually had more non-gym members join our livestreamed sessions than we did gym members.
This confirmed my suspicion: Most people don’t like to work out by themselves. No matter how cheap and easy it might be, they just don’t want to flap around in their own home by themselves. Some people are ok with it, but not many. At least, not many of my Rock Steady Boxers.
Back to the Gym
When we finally returned to the gym, the first couple of classes were slim because some people were still snowed/iced in. But that Friday, we had one of the largest classes ever – over 30 people!
Conclusion: Although an online at-home workout program seems like a great idea, most people like to get out of the house to see their gym friends and exercise somewhere else. Gyms and classes are often just much a social event as a workout. I think this eliminates the idea that online workouts will overtake gyms and fitness classes. At least, not with the current generation of people and technology.
However, online workouts for gym-going people might be like trying to sell meat grinders at a Vegetarian convention. “Go-to-the-gym” people are not “online-gym” people. They belong to my gym for a reason. Although a decent idea, it was not a hit for my gym members.
I will keep doing these when we can’t get to the gym, (Subscribe to us at The Parkinson’s Gym) but I just know that my audience will be small and it will be a different group than my gym-going Black Dog Fitness members.