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These Hudson Valley Gyms Are Streaming Fitness Classes Online During the Pandemic

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In the wake of the temporary closure of gyms throughout the tri-state area to slow down the spread of the novel coronavirus, fitness studios and gyms across the Hudson Valley are turning to technology to continue serving members with virtual workouts and classes.

Using videoconferencing applications like Zoom or via Facebook Live and pre-recorded videos, people can work out in their own homes, following the guided lessons from their instructor, even if all parties are not in the same room.

Cortney Whitebay-of Hudson Valley Pea Performance. Photo by Evangeline Gala (www.evangelinegala.com)

Studio owners interviewed say they are taking these measures to not only allow people to maintain their fitness but also have a sense of normality by continuing an exercise regimen but also gain the stress-busting benefits exercise affords. Check in with your gym (website, email or social media channels) to see if they offer virtual workouts or scroll down here as some studios are not just offering these services to members but are opening them up to the public.

“The worst thing to do for people right now is to slack on their fitness routine,” says Stephanie Vaughan, co-owner and head coach at CrossFit Momentum in Nyack. “Our bodies are meant to be strong, we’re meant to move. If we stop that now, we could compromise our immune systems. We also need to keep sane, so with workouts included into our daily routine, we can keep on track, keep good energy flowing while we’re at home. It can also be a great thing for parents to do with their kids!”

The Studio at Beacon, a boxing/barre/indoor cycling studio, is producing a series of short exercise videos to launch on its social media channels to give clients easy ways to stay fit at home. “We understand that people are overcome with worry right now but staying active is so vital to our mental and physical health,” says co-owner Laura Leigh. “We’ll be demonstrating some shadow boxing techniques, core work, and some moves from our barre instructor that can be practiced anywhere with limited or no equipment!”

Susannah Grange of Hudson River Yoga

Posh Fitness in New Rochelle has various online classes, including a track for those without fitness equipment at home. Owner/trainer and health coach Peter Marino says in addition to staying fit, people can boost their immunity by drinking lots of water and eating lots of green vegetables and fruit high in vitamin C and fiber.

Local Gold’s Gym franchises, including those in Carmel, Fishkill, and Middletown already offered members digital workouts through its Gold’s AMP app. It is also available for Fitbit. The Middletown location recently posted on its Facebook page that celebrity trainer Tony Horton (creator of P90, P90X and other fitness programs), will help launch the Gold’s Gym Middletown/Newburgh in-home workout series for members and guests, which will include livestreamed workouts, classes and discussions.

“We will provide you with live workouts that can be done at home including full body weight training, HIIT, running tips, yoga, nutrition, and meditation, to name a few,” the studio wrote. All Gold’s locations also use the online platform, Les Mills On Demand, offering members 95 free workouts.

Mara Lileas of New Paltz Rock Yoga

Planet Fitness in Poughkeepsie alerted members on Facebook that it would start using Facebook Live to offer free at-home workouts for anyone who tunes in. “Get moving with our trainers and even some surprise celebrity guests for a 20-minute or less workout because we know to stay healthy, we need to stay active. No equipment needed!” it wrote. Livestreamed daily workouts will also be scheduled for 7 p.m. EST.

Planet Fitness in Poughkeepsie alerted members on Facebook that it would start using Facebook Live to offer free at-home workouts for anyone who tunes in. “Get moving with our trainers and even some surprise celebrity guests for a 20-minute or less workout because we know to stay healthy, we need to stay active. No equipment needed!” it wrote. Livestreamed daily workouts will also be scheduled for 7 p.m. EST.

Elaine Ewing of Rhinbeck Pilates

Exercise physiologist Cortney Whitebay started her business, Hudson Valley Peak Performance in New Paltz, teaching online classes before moving to in-person classes, and is returning to her roots now offering online workouts during the current pandemic. “It has always been a really amazing way to workout and I often prefer it to in person because of how flexible it is for everyone involved,” she says. She is offering whole body fitness classes for beginners and intermediates, yoga spa classes, personal training and holistic care. After working out the kinks, short versions of the classes may be available to all on Facebook and then through Zoom or Google Meet/Hangouts.

To keep healthy even while nerves are frayed, Whitebay recommends eating healthy (more fruits/vegetables and less sugar) and trying to keep stress levels low. “Move your body regularly. Consistency is key when it comes to exercise otherwise you can find yourself operating with lowered rather than improved immunity,” she says. “Not to mention you’re helping to keep your lungs strong and healthy as well as your muscles!”

Laura Leigh of The Studio Beacon. Photo by Alicia Martire Photography

Fitness Fusion of the Hudson Valley in Red Hook hosted its first Facebook Live workout class on St. Patrick’s Day, which saw 44 members complete the class. Open to all for now, the group can be found on Facebook as “Fitness Fusion Virtual Workouts and Wellness Community.” The virtual classes are led by its instructors and members can participate in real time or later on at their convenience. No fancy equipment is required, one can use dumbbells but if they don’t have them, they can use make-do items around the house.

“With the mandate to close the doors on my fitness studio for two weeks, literally overnight, leaving hundreds locally with no place to workout or connect with their fellow fitness tribe, I knew I had to act fast,” says owner Liz Cort. “As a fitness professional, your heart is always first and foremost finding a way to keep folks healthy and on track with goals, you figure the business side out later. I reached out to my team of instructors and formulated a game plan to conduct virtual classes. What’s even more incredible was that while this virtual group was designed to be exclusive for paying clients at the gym, the entire client base agreed with me that we should open it up to the community at large so that everyone could have access to the classes and resources we were providing. Within minutes of announcing this, clients were sharing the group on social media and it began to grow rapidly.”

Shawn Harrison of Yoga Lab

People suddenly now stuck at home, home-schooling their kids or looking for an escape are happy to have virtual gym classes. “Community members are letting us know that they’re feeling isolated and stressed during this time and are using these classes and this group as a way to not only workout, but de-stress, get their endorphins going,” Cort says.

Many area Pilates studios have been quick to jump on the digital bandwagon. Rhinebeck Pilates is now offering virtual classes to anyone, not just members, seven days a week (schedule is available here) and all people need is a mat or towel, says owner Elaine Ewing. “Pilates classes are a workout for the whole body that consists of stretch and strength at the same time,” she says.

Pilates on Hudson in Peekskill owner Marilyn Miller says she was hard at work on the back end setting up the technology logistics to be able to offer virtual classes. “I anticipate having live online classes a few times a week, if not more, and also creating a digital library that they can access,” she says. “For now, there are no membership fees, but as I grow the online offerings, there probably will be a subscription fee to access.”  Props needed for the online classes will include a mat, fitness circle, stability ball, bands, yoga blocks, pillows and yoga blankets.

Chelsea Streifeneder of Body Be Well Pilates

Breathe Studio: Barre, Pilates, Yoga & Sculpt in Rhinebeck will offer both virtual using Zoom and recorded classes, free, in Pilates, Sculpt, Barre, Yoga  and Fusions. A schedule will be posted on its website and social media channels. “While moving your body and staying fit is an important component to boosting our immune system, it is about staying connected,” says owner Nicole McGrath. “We are all missing our friends, family, coworkers and the people that we see on a daily basis that we take for granted. At Breathe we have a community that we depend on for support, motivation, laughs and so much more. Group exercise is so much more than the physical experience.”

Body Be Well Pilates in Catskill and Red Hook will stream classes as well as private and customized Pilates mat sessions through Zoom and YouTube. “We are going to keep a very consistent schedule,” says owner Chelsea Streifeneder. “The important thing about working out is it’s not just for your body, but for your mind, for our sanity, for our breathing and stress level.”

Yoga studios have also been eager to continue supporting members with many offering virtual workouts. Offering programs through Zoom will be Hudson River Yoga in Poughkeepsie, Yoga Lab in Kingston (classes so far are 9:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.), BeBhatki Yoga in Beacon hosting a daily morning yoga session via Zoom for its clients at 9:30 a.m.; The Art of Healing in Carmel (both on Zoom and on Instagram Live), Red Tail Power Yoga in Hopewell Junction has livestreamed classes weekdays at 9:30 a.m. and 6 p.m., Saturday at 9:30 a.m., and Sunday at 9 a.m.

Peter Marino of Posh Fitness

Alma Yoga in Newburgh, which launched a trial class March 18 to work out kinks and will announce a schedule soon; and Sol Full Yoga in Monroe with unlimited classes for $20 for two weeks.

Yoga Lab in Kingston owner Shawn Harrison notes movement + mindfulness practices are both excellent ways to reduce anxiety. “In this moment, it’s so easy to get rundown and sink into the anxiety. Yoga offers an hour to step away, move, breathe, relax and regenerate,” she says.

Heartspace Yoga and Healing Arts in Albany announced it is looking forward to live-streaming classes as well as organizing outdoor meetups to stretch and breathe and Redtail Power Yoga in Hopewell Junction has expanded its live-stream classes weekdays at 9:30 a.m. and 6 p.m., Saturday at 9:30 a.m., and Sunday at 9 a.m. Lotus Wellness Studio in Troy will also offer online classes via Instagram.

New Paltz Rock Yoga has several full-length virtual classes of the Hot sequence, HIIT, Vinyasa, Restorative, and Yin that people at home can do in their PJs or yoga pants for a small fee. Anyone interested can email the studio for payment and log-in info. “If people are interested in mimicking the heat we offer in our studio, a space heater or something of the sort could add to the experience!” says owner Mara Lileas.

Liz Cort of Fitness Fusion

Nyack’s Birchwood Center for Yoga and Massage co-owners Charlene Bradin and Betsy Ceva knew they needed to continue to provide connection and support for their community, so they started producing videos for their students to practice yoga at home and are posting to Birchwood’s YouTube channel. The videos offer shortened versions of Betsy’s classic gentle and Charlene’s more vigorous Hatha Yoga classes, as well as Pranayama (breathing) practices and special guest appearances from Ozzie, their standard poodle.

“Our motto is Move and Be Moved, and the expressed gratitude from our students for these videos has moved us beyond measure,” says Betsy. “We hope to keep our efforts going through the duration of the shutdown and to continue to spread health through the power of yoga.”

Among area Crossfit studios revamping programs to transition to digital offerings is CrossFit Momentum in Nyack, which has split members into teams to keep up motivation for modified classes through the studio’s app, now also available to the public. It will also offer a once-a-week class on Zoom.

Railroad Crossfit in Hudson is transitioning all its 100+ members to remote personal training and will connect via a private Facebook group and Facetime, says owner Shawn McQueen. Three separate customizable tracks of programs will be offered in the areas of fat/weight loss, muscle/strength gain and an equipment-free track.

“We love what we do and are extremely excited at the opportunities ahead in these unique times,” McQueen says. “It would be very….’easy’ to just post at home workouts for the masses but that’s not our style.”

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