LOS ALAMITOS, California – Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Vanessa Bartsch had an active fitness routine.

Three to four times a week, the 38-year-old immigration attorney from Los Alamitos visited a gym at her local country club and did intense interval training or a kickboxing class where she kicked a heavy bag.

What you need to know

  • When the gyms are closed, people create home gyms to keep fit
  • Sports equipment sales have risen by three-digit numbers since the beginning of the pandemic
  • Lots of people watch YouTube and subscribe to other fitness apps for exercise routines
  • Experts believe this home fitness trend will continue throughout the pandemic and beyond

But when the pandemic hit and the state closed gyms and fitness centers, Bartsch had to find other ways to stay fit and maintain a fitness routine.

So she goes to her garage four days a week and works out on an elliptical for an hour. Other days, she would put a yoga mat on the floor in front of her smart TV and watch a yoga or pilates routine on YouTube.

“I’m just trying to find a way how I can stay fit,” said Bartsch.

Bartsch is not alone. To stay fit, healthy and lose weight while the gyms are closed, Bartsch and other recreational athletes have turned parts of their home into small gyms. Many people use YouTube for fitness routines and others subscribe to mobile or web-based fitness services to get their adrenaline pumping.

The New Years season is traditionally one of the most popular times to go to the gym, as people set new fitness goals and others burn the fat off the vacation.

With most indoor gyms across the state remaining closed due to state and local regulations aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus, the home fitness revolution that began in the early months of the pandemic is expected to continue well into the new year and beyond.

“New habits are being born right now,” said Charlie Hale, Shred co-founder and chief product officer. Shred is a Los Angeles-based mobile fitness app that allows users at home or at the gym to view personalized workout, exercise, or coaching videos. “People keep training even in these difficult times.”

Before the pandemic, global athletic fitness was a $ 94 billion industry. Studies show that millennials born between 1980 and 1999 pushed health club membership, and sporting goods continued their upward trend.

While the gyms are closed, many of these athletes find areas in their home to train in. Sports retail – fitness equipment, shoes, and sportswear – saw sales soar during the pandemic.

In the first few months after the start of the pandemic, sales of fitness equipment in some categories rose by up to three-digit figures year on year. According to a research firm, NPD Group.

In March, free weights sales increased 181% year over year; Weight benches saw a 259% increase, stationary bikes a 170% increase and yoga mats a 146% increase over the previous year.

EBay reportedly saw a 1,000% increase in home fitness equipment from March to April 2020.

According to the NPD Group, sports equipment continued to record double-digit and triple-digit growth in all market segments over the course of the past year. From March to November 2020, fitness equipment sales reached $ 2.7 billion compared to the same period last year, an increase of 110%.

“The home fitness equipment business continued its strong growth in the third quarter, with sales growing nearly double the prior-year period,” said Matt Matt, vice president, senior industry advisor, Sports Branch Powell in his December report. “Every major category saw robust growth, with cardio machines leading the way.”

In an email to Spectrum News 1, Powell said he believes this fitness trend will continue into the new year.

“The rise in the virus and a desire to stay socially aloof will keep interest in home fitness high,” Powell said.

Especially fitness videos on platforms like YouTube, have become extremely popular as a place for exercise routines or additional motivation.

YouTube culture and trend manager Madeline Buxton said fitness video views on YouTube increased in April before declining for the rest of the year. Buxton did not provide the exact number of views of these videos. Some of the early reports from YouTube found that “dance workout” videos were viewed more than 180 million times from March through mid-May.

“January is usually the time to meet the new solution when it comes to fitness, but due to the pandemic, we’ve seen this all year round. It has been continuous,” Buxton said. “We saw an increase in home exercise video views in April, but they continued to stay at their pre-pandemic averages for the remainder of 2020.”

Buxton added that a large number of new and existing influencers have uploaded fitness videos to YouTube. One of the most popular search terms was weightless training.

Shred’s co-founder Hale said Shred’s subscriber base, which has more than a million members, has increased since the pandemic began. Hale did not disclose the exact number, but said that workouts at home had doubled compared to workouts at the gym that were done with the app.

Shred enables users Upload your own live or recorded training video and share it with friends or family. Friends can then see this recording and do the same training with them.

“We introduced more social components to make people feel closer to other people,” said Hale.

The company recently raised $ 4 million to expand The pandemic offering is currently beta testing a new offering called Classes to capitalize on the ongoing fitness trend at home.

“One thing we learned is that people found comfort in continuing to exercise, that it was some kind of routine they could stick to to drag them through this different, unique trial period,” said Hale.

Tee Phanphairoj, a fitness instructor better known as Tee Phlex, was religiously at the gym five days a week. Phanphairoj said when the pandemic broke out and the gyms closed, he bought $ 1,600 worth of exercise equipment. Equipment, from bench presses to dumbbells to a tractor tire, is under a white tarp in the driveway of his home in North Hollywood.

“I was a private trainer at a local gym and when that closed I had to do something,” said Phanphairoj. “It was either spending money on me or investing it. I put the money into exercise equipment and [my training] Business to keep me sane. “

Nowadays Phanphairoj trains at home with his fitness equipment six days a week.

He believes that exercising from home is not a short-term trend. The virus won’t go away, he said, and even if a vaccine is introduced, many people will still be reluctant to go to the gym in the future.

Even so, he said it was important to exercise and stay fit, especially with so many working from home or seeking protection because of the coronavirus.

“When people are protected, they are not outside getting their vitamin D from the sun,” he said. “You are sedentary. You indulge yourself and eat badly, and that leads to depression and frustration. Worry turns into stress, and stress causes inflammation in your system. The more inflammation you have in your body, the more weak your immune system is. “”

He advises that even if people don’t have the money to buy weights or fitness equipment, don’t have space in their house or living area for such things, or are still reluctant to venture out on the trails, they can do one of the simplest things they can do At home.

“Go around the block,” he said.