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Des Moines Metro Gyms Offering Virtual Fitness Classes During Coronavirus Outbreak

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DES MOINES, Iowa — For many, gyms are a second home, a family that pushes you to healthier living. But since last Tuesday, the doors to these facilities were forced shut in Iowa in an effort to flatten the curve of COVID-19.

Now, gyms are trying to give their members a different way to still get their heart rate up while social distancing.

“[I felt] extreme sadness. I was completely overwhelmed just thinking about our family here, a huge family that we have here and the impact that it would have on us,” Denise Dehamer, a Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping employee said.

Over the past eight years, Dehamer has hardly missed a class at Farrell’s, let alone been told she can no longer come to the gym.

“I came in here just before noon on Tuesday when the Governor said you have to close and Denise sat in her desk and sobbed. So it’s emotional,” Founder, CEO Lance Farrell said.

Closed for at least a few weeks, Farrell knew they had to come up with a way for his members to still get that workout in.

“Since they can’t come in, we’re doing the next best thing. We’re going to take it to their home,” Farrell said.

Hiring a video production crew, Farrell’s is currently creating online workouts for their 68 locations in 13 states.

“Our mission is to inspire people to live with power and purpose,” Farrell said. “Even though they aren’t coming to our class we want to inspire people to do that same thing.”

Many other gyms are following suit.

“We’re trying to give people things to do that they can accomplish without the equipment they usually get in the gym,” Bruce Mason, Altoona Campus’ Executive Director said.

Altoona Campus’ personal trainers are reaching their members with daily workouts via Facebook Live.

“We’ve had a very good response from our members. They are very supportive and understand why we had to close. We were worried because we are kind of the hub of the community,” Mason said.

Both gyms said their members are staying loyal at this time, and that means they are able to keep paying their employees. But they hope soon enough they can get back to being a family, under one roof.

“Hopefully what we are doing right now will help stop the rise of the coronavirus so people can get back to normal routines, get back to the gym, and get back to socializing. That’s one of the important things we have at the campus is the social aspect,” Mason said.

“I am praying that it’s only a couple of weeks, you never know though. Let’s hope that the warmer weather helps, let’s hope that social distancing helps, whatever we are doing, let’s hope that it helps so we can get through this. We’ll be back to normal before we know it, but right now it feels like I just want to wake up from this dream,” Farrell said.

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