Local gym adds live, online workout classes to sustain employees, clients amid closures

Gym Online

MADISON, Wis. — With all the major closings and cancellations, many are frustrated that gyms are also shutting down during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For some, the gym was one of the last remaining recreational outlets still open.

At the Transformation Center on Big Sky Drive on Madison’s west side, owner Dustin Maher said he doesn’t want to sit around and watch his business of 14 years crumble.

“This whole pandemic has really shown the world and shown local and small businesses that we need to have online options,” he said.

Maher has switched to live online classes taught by his trainers. He said his staff are now teaching classes on Facebook live and through Zoom workouts online.

“People will be working out in their homes with our trainers live,” he said. “So they can see everyone else working out together as well as the trainer.”

Maher said by doing this, he can keep paying his trainers and keep his gym open, even if his clients can’t show up in person anymore. Although he has had some people cancel their memberships altogether, he said a majority of his clients are paying the monthly fee and continuing their workouts online. He said there are even new members signing up who are coming to him from gyms that are not offering an online option.

“Action is the most powerful thing. We can’t just sit back and let things happen. We have to be proactive,” Maher said.

Maher said his client base, which is about 500 people, has shown a lot of support during this difficult time. He said he knows he is not alone in losing business right now but suggests to those who want to help struggling business owners to consider “buying gift cards to use at a later date, maybe doing the drive-thru if it’s a restaurant, or get delivery. Maybe writing a little $5 check or a little note. A thank-you note doesn’t pay the bills but it does go a long way.”