As people isolate themselves from society to avoid sharing a COVID-19 infection, staying fit is more important than ever, says the owner of a Coquitlam fitness studio.
Dan Ferrato and his wife, Ashley, are conducting one-hour classes online for their clients, and through Instagram for anyone else who wants a workout.
Because of growing public health concerns, the Ferratos closed their studio, Club Sweat Fitness on Ridgeway Avenue, shortly after they returned from a fitness conference in Ontario. As an alternative, they’re using a laptop computer and cellphone secured to a tripod to bring their studio into client’s living rooms.
Dan Ferrato said a workout can go a long way to relieving the stress and anxiety brought on by the pandemic and its economic and societal repercussions.
“We know how massive that is for mental health,” he said of maintaining an exercise regimen. “It just helps you keep your sanity, being able to sleep more, that makes you feel more productive and feel better about yourself.”
It can also bolster your immune system, he added.
Getting exercise doesn’t necessarily require expensive equipment, Ferrato said.
That’s what he and his wife are proving as they use whatever they have on hand when they livestream their workouts from their own living room, and one a day from their studio.
“You can get pretty inventive,” Ferrato said, adding one client was using jugs of laundry detergent as her weights at home while another hoisted cans of chickpeas.
Ashley Ferrato has even put together a workout made up of six ways to get fit using just a broomstick.
Dan Ferrato said the workouts are structured to be suitable for any age — and users so far have ranged from six to 65 years.
He said as people adjust to new routines like working from home, exercise can also help bring structure if they set aside time every day.
“We don’t know how long this is going to take,” he said of the social-distancing edicts that are keeping people indoors and away from work, friends and fitness classes.
Dan Ferrato added with kids also spending more time at home because of school cancellations, working out at home can set a good example.
“You can show them you live an active lifestyle.”
While the livestream workouts are free to the gym’s members through a virtual meeting app, users of the free Instagram Live versions that are kept posted for 24 hours are being asked to make a donation to their local food bank as thanks.
Ferrato said so far about $150 has been donated to food banks in Vancouver and Edmonton, adding the donations are on the “honour system.” If visitors send proof of a donation, by email or message, they get unlimited access to further livestreamed classes.
And the challenge and social aspects of a gym workout aren’t being forgotten. Members who access the livestream workouts are participating in a weight-loss competition, with dollars raised for each pound lost going to food banks. And everybody participating — whether on the meeting app or Instagram — is being encouraged to interact by dropping likes or sending supportive messages.
“It’s just about constant communication,” he said.
• Club Sweat workouts on Instagram are livestreamed at 5 p.m. on weekdays. Other virtual classes run at 8 a.m., 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays as well as 9 and 10 a.m. on weekends. Club Sweat is on Instagram at instagram.com/clubsweatinc.