By Matt Noonan
Since mid-March, our workout routines have looked a lot different.
We’re no longer rushing to our local gym or fitness center to watch the news on the treadmill or lift weights. Instead, we have shifted our daily (or weekly) exercise routines to our homes where workouts are being conducted in kitchens, living rooms, basements, home offices, and bedrooms.
We have also taken part in virtual exercise classes through Zoom, which is something The Training Room in Somerville, Massachusetts has enjoyed offering its clients. The Training Room currently offers various exercise classes from circuit training to online cycling with classes being held in the morning, midday, and evening, as well as on weekends.
And while the state of Massachusetts did permit fitness centers and gymnasiums to reopen this week – currently, gyms are closed in Boston and Somerville until next Monday, July 13 – The Training Room has decided to continue its remote offerings, which will be something they will continue to do once it is safe to resume in-person activities.
“When the doors (to our two gymnasiums) open, we are planning to offer both (an in-person and online experience),” said Tyler Cote, who is the general manager of The Training Room. “I am really excited about this option.
“I think having both of these options is important and that is our plan going forward. We also want to do what our clients want and continue to provide them with the best service possible.”
Cote said the online services both he and his colleagues have provided these past few months have certainly been enjoyable, but also a great way for coaches and clients to remain connected.
We recently spoke with Cote to learn more about the gym’s virtual classes, as well as how he has been able to provide instruction remotely.
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How have the online classes gone from your perspective?
We were a bit unsure of how everything would work, especially coaching through a computer, but the staff has taken right to it. You figure out what angles you need to see when you’re coaching to sometimes moving your computer so our clients can see your feet through for exercise or your hips, so we have learned how to provide instruction remotely these past few months.
I really think now that we have it down really, really well.
What is a virtual circuit training class? Is it any different than your in-person classes?
Normally we would run eight to ten stations in-person and we would go through them four times. But for our online classes, you can go from one exercise to another much quicker, so the pace of these classes is a little faster. And the format is the following: five exercises – we do them twice and then take a break. We then do the same five exercises again followed by another break. And then we introduce five new exercises at the end of the session.
I think people are really enjoying this format. I also think people are looking at circuit training online as much more of an aerobic challenge than it has been in the past.
Obviously, there are some things that equipment might limit, but we have done a really good job with putting together classes where if you have the equipment you can totally use it, but if you don’t there are options for you to use just your bodyweight. We also have been mindful of those that can’t jump in place because they live in apartments so we do provide alternative exercises for those that cannot run in place.
How are you able to watch everyone’s exercises and forms through a computer?
I was adamant from the start of making sure I would see everyone doing the same exercise at the same time. I consider myself lucky that I knew our clients really well and that I can speak to them directly throughout the session. So, all in all, it has been an adjustment, but it has worked out extremely well.
Lastly, tell me about the online kettlebell classes. How have they gone from your perspective?
We rented out a majority of our equipment to our clients – we have two facilities (herein Somerville) with a lot of equipment. We also had some clients buy their own kettlebells, but a lot of my clients have been doing (kettlebell training previously) and have set up home gyms at their place with two bells. One is a lighter bell which they can use for presses and rowing, and then a heavier bell for different types of swing variations.