PICTURE STORIES: GYM GOES VIRTUAL TO ADAPT DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC
In March of 2014, Dennis Guerrero and his business partner opened a gym on Long Island. The pair shared a passion for fitness, a dream of creating a local community of like-minded people and a willingness to take a risk. Over the next six years, hundreds of members experienced and embraced a unique environment that fostered a palpable energy, helping athletes of all ages and abilities reach their potential. The gym became a place to share achievements, work through losses and overcome illness. But like so many other businesses, it seemingly had no way of overcoming the financial impact and ongoing uncertainty of a global pandemic. With the arrival of Covid-19, the gym shut its doors back in March, with no idea when it would reopen. The owners, though, were far from done. They lent out every piece of equipment they owned to the gym’s members, continued to pay their staff and worked to set up outdoor classes in hopes of keeping their membership active and healthy. As the shutdown stretched on, it became clear that the physical gym was closed for good. They have since reinvented themselves and are now called Life Outside the Box. Their business model has changed drastically, and all their workouts have gone virtual. The workouts are conducted by a small group of fitness trainers led by Guerrero. The members pay a monthly fee and can take live Zoom fitness classes. They are coached by the virtual trainers in real time. More and more people have reconstructed their garages, spare rooms, backyards, and basements into home gyms since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States.