Strong through socials: MWR using social media to maintain fitness classes

GREAT LAKES, Ill. – Stay-at-home orders and social distancing have left many gyms closed until further notice. People have been working out at home more than ever. For anyone missing their favorite Great Lakes Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) fitness classes and instructors, they’ve made it possible to keep up your routine using modern technology.

Their solution? Using Facebook to broadcast virtual fitness classes like they would in a gym.

“Virtual fitness offers so much opportunity and flexibility,” said Jerrick Fabro, Great Lakes MWR’s fitness manager. “It allows us to reach a wider range of participants, as well as gives participants the flexibility to continue with their fitness goals whenever and wherever they choose. It’s a new world with a lot of unknowns. Before this, most of us had routines, whether it was going to the gym, work duties, family duties, etc. But now we are faced with restrictions and situations that have to be stressful. Virtual fitness has given us the opportunity to help support others during this time. Just because the fitness centers are not open doesn’t mean you can’t continue working out at home.”

And it’s not just one type of workout either. Their variety of content includes high-intensity calisthenics, home strength and conditioning, core and more, and plyoga–which mixes Pilates and yoga into one workout. Classes are posted on the page and patrons can watch a workout alongside the instructor at any time.

“What I enjoy about teaching virtual fitness classes is the ability to reach more people, the convenience it gives patrons to the workout whenever they want as oppose to scheduled in-person classes, and also it forces me to be creative with my workouts and content I create,” said Brendan Taylor, one of MWR’s fitness instructors.

Taylor and other instructors stated that being able to maintain fitness isn’t just about physical health. Staying at home and major lifestyle changes can effect mental health.

“To be healthy is to stay healthy mentally and physically,” said Monica La Mar, another fitness instructor with MWR. “It helps you to release endorphins and cortisol which in turn acts on many different parts of the body and can help your body respond to stress or danger, increase your body’s metabolism of glucose and regulate your body weight.”

Fabro says that their goal is to support their community and get them to be active. All of their workouts can be tailored to an individual’s fitness needs and no special equipment is necessary, just yourself. Need workout ideas, activities to stay active at home, nutrition advice, or health and fitness recommendations? Just message the MWR fitness team via the Great Lakes MWR Facebook page. The fitness team is here to help and is looking forward to returning to the gym.

“I cannot wait to return to the gym for in-person classes!” said Cherrielyn Filozof, another fitness instructor with MWR. “I miss the interaction with patrons and being able to help motivate them with awesome music and personal guidance through what may seem like a difficult or advanced workout.

Providing them with the confidence boost and/or proper modifications they need to be successful whether it’s with us in class or within their own fitness program. We’ll all be back there soon enough to help each other! For now, I’ll do my best to help those while we are at home, keeping our essential personnel safe by reducing the spread through unnecessary exposure.”