YMCA takes workouts to virtual platform

Published 3:16 pm Wednesday, April 22, 2020

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By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

When the YMCA of Chilton County had to close its building to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, workout classes moved to an online platform to help the community have continued access.

A variety of workout options are now offered on the YMCA of Chilton County Facebook page.

Classes are live every weekday at 9 a.m., Tuesday and Thursday at 3 p.m., Saturday at 10 a.m. as well as Monday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Each workout is also available for later viewing on the page.

“I talked to the instructors, and we decided to offer classes that used very little equipment and classes that would be a lot of body weight and a lot of different types of exercises,” CEO Lori Patterson said.

The workouts include options for every fitness level, because the exercises can be modified to be less or more strenuous.

“I usually have two or three modifications that I show them before we get started for whichever skill level they feel comfortable doing, so they don’t have to go as high impact as me or someone else,” instructor Kerri Davenport said.

Davenport leads the 9 a.m. class on Tuesday with class combining PiYo and Pilates and the intervals class at 9 a.m. on Thursday. She said PiYo and Pilates works several different muscle groups, while the intervals is more of a whole-body workout with cardio. She commented that PiYo is good for loosening up and dealing with back pain.

“It has really taken me out of my comfort zone, but I adjusted and kept going,” Davenport said.

Davenport said the ordinary workout has been shortened for the video format. The average is 30 to 35 minutes. Those who have more time to dedicate to the workout can do the workout a second time.

“I miss the one-on-one with the people, but it has been great because I still feel like I am connected,” Davenport said.

She commented that participants also still feel connected to the Y through the virtual events.

“It is really important that we keep our members that are involved in group fitness … plugged in, so that they feel like they have something to do,” Patterson said.

She also said the videos provide an opportunity for community members who do not attend Y classes to try them out for free. Four or five Y instructors rotate in offering the classes.

Live online workouts will be available as long as the Y is required to be closed to the public because of social distancing.

The number of people who watch the live events has fluctuated, but Patterson said she does know that some people watch them later at a time that works better for them.

“It’s just figuring out what instructors you like, which specific workouts you feel pushes you … creating your own schedule,” Patterson said.

Community member Debbie Street has been attending classes at the Y for about four months.

“It was a great idea for them to make that available because there are so many of us that depend on those classes,” Street said.

Street said she has taken a variety of the workout classes. Since the transition to the online platform, Street has done the Cardio Swag and intervals classes. She said the instructors are very helpful in adapting the day’s workout to one’s specific skill level.

“The down side is you aren’t in a group of people,” Street sad. “(Usually,) It’s a team atmosphere, and everybody cheers each other on.”

However, she said have the option to view the video after the live class gives more flexibility to fit a workout into one’s schedule.

“It’s new territory for everyone,” she said.

The YMCA is also connecting with members and the community at large through the YMCA of Chilton County app, which is available in any device’s app store.

Patterson said the app allows users to see who has worked out and how many times in a week.

“It’s an additional way to try to keep everybody moving and everybody accountable while we are at home and not working out together,” Patterson said.

The app is available to members and nonmembers alike. The app also features a monthly challenge, schedule of available classes and a way to keep track of calories and workouts.