Gyms are reaching members virtually

By Sheryl Roadcap -

Kirstyn Legge, a Sidney-Shelby County YMCA instructor, teaches a Dance Blast class virtually via Zoom Monday evening, April 4.

Courtesy photo

SIDNEY — Gyms, fitness centers and studios across Ohio have been shut down for almost two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but owners and trainers are reaching out virtually to help people stay motivated and healthy.

Just Breathe Health and Wellness studio, 4249 N. Main St., Minster, offers yoga, several group fitness classes, massage, reiki, various women’s health services, and cancer support to members. Founder and owner Kimberly Oen is a holistic health coach, nationally registered yoga teacher and pre- and post-natal corrective exercise specialist. She has a total of seven instructors at her studio. When Gov. Mike DeWine ordered fitness centers and gyms to close on March 17, Oen knew she needed to reach members where they are: at home.

In an effort to stay connected, her wellness studio offers a combination of 12 classes a week, including mediation, yoga, cardio and boot camp virtually via Facebook Live.

“Sundays I put out a schedule, of what times and the instructor that will be teaching. So (members) get a notification that, for instance if it’s me, it says, “Kimberly is live” doing yoga, and they can do the class with me,” Oen said.

Instructors post ahead of time to find out members’ needs and inform them what is needed for the class. Most of the members have continued to stay engaged virtually, but some have decided to freeze their membership until the physical studio reopens.

“We are tying to give a mix of getting your cardio, strength, yoga, stretching and flexibility in. And we are encouraging people, if you don’t have dumbbells at home, grab a water jug or a water bottle or anything at home that you can use in your classes. So in yoga we use blocks, so asking people to grab books, or just be really creative for things you can do at home.”

To join the virtual Facebook group, click the “We went virtual” button on the studio’s website’s home page at This link will take you to Facebook which directs people to join the group and what is necessary to take virtual classes. The studio can be reached at 419-501-2378 or

The Sidney-Shelby County YMCA is offering many staple classes through Facebook Live or Zoom to all Shelby County community residents, not just YMCA members, said David O’Leary, YMCA associate executive director.

“We, the very first day of being closed, March 17, launched a certain number of group exercise classess through Facebook Live, set up in a separate Facebook group, and off and running. And now in just over that month period we have over 700 individuals in that group,” O’Leary said of being prepared ahead of shutting down, as the Y had already been planning to engage with members online.

Prior to being closed down, classes were already free for Sidney YMCA members. Now with a simple approval, all members of the community can utilize YMCA services by going to its website at .

“Our classes are a gift to the members,” Suann Kleinhans, YMCA wellness coordinator.“All of my instructors were excited about this possibility (of online classes). My main goal was that our members could see the instructors that they know. So they see that it’s OK. We are all in this together. And they see this instructor they know who can say ‘Hi, I’m here with you and were are going to get through this together.’”

Virtual classes offered at the Y include: yoga; pilates, spin, dance blast, cardio drummer, boot camp, power plus classes and Live Strong, for cancer survivors. Also on the Facebook page are live weekly events featuring basketball drills, meal prepping, doctor talks and team challenges, etc. Through Zoom, they have continued the Delay the Disease class, which supports individuals with Parkinson’s Disease.

“Now that we are doing everything virtually, we made the decision to reach out not just to our members but also to the entire community and say this is who the YMCA is — an organization that is here to serve and strengthen the entire community. And that is made possible through the generosity many individual donors as well as all of our partners who support the Y,” O’Leary said.

Information about the numerous services and classes offered and how to join YMCA’s Facebook group can be found on its website.

Sidney YMCA will treat April and May membership drafts and any subsequent drafts as a tax deductible, charitable donation to support all the necessary community work the Y is currently engaged in, its website says.

The YMCA, located at 300 E. Parkwood St., can be reached at 937-492-9134 or

Owner and trainer of Big Four CrossFit, Jason Jones, said they also closed at the end of the business day on March 16. His gym is different than typical fitness centers in that all CrossFit workouts are conducted in group sessions.

“It’s not a team sport, but kind of feels like back when you were in high school and had all your friends there,” Jones said of his gym that uses aerobic and body weight exercises and weights to get into shape, but no machines.

Jones and members have short one-on-one coaching sessions through Zoom, but CrossFit training virtually has been a little challenging, he admitted.

“The amount of stuff we can do at home is lower. We loaned out some of our equipment. Some people took some of our dumbbells and jump ropes home so we can still make workouts with some weight, but most people don’t have dumbbells at home. And very, very few people have pull-up bars at home, so, gymnastics have kind of been out for all of us. But we have been able to stay in shape with things like burpees, and sit-ups and pull-ups, and other gymnastic core exercises that we do, and jump ropes and obviously we can all run,” Jones said. “I wont lie, it’s starting to get a little redundant after over a month and a half because there is only so much we can do.”

Most members have kept their membership current, with the exception of those who have lost their job. But because members feel a sense of ownership of the gym, he said, members are supportive.

When CrossFit can reopen, it will the follow state orders, class sizes will be capped and all equipment will have been thoroughly sanitized, Jones said.

For more information on Big Four CrossFit, located at 102 Wall St., Port Jefferson, visit The gym can be reached at 315-777-7257.

The YMCA and Just Breathe Health and Wellness will also be thoroughly cleaned prior to reopening and plan to find ways to limit the number of people in close proximity to one another, O’Leary and Oen both said.

Kirstyn Legge, a Sidney-Shelby County YMCA instructor, teaches a Dance Blast class virtually via Zoom Monday evening, April 4. Legge, a Sidney-Shelby County YMCA instructor, teaches a Dance Blast class virtually via Zoom Monday evening, April 4. Courtesy photo

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.