KANSAS CITY, Mo. — From sanitizing more often to getting children more active, personal trainers around Kansas City, Missouri, believe adaptations fitness centers developed during the COVID-19 pandemic will remain permanent fixtures.
“Our biggest focus is on families and children,” explained Tony Temple of Temple Made Fitness.
During the pandemic, the former local football standout fine-tuned the business model he launched around 2016 to better serve a need he saw arise while his own children were going through remote schooling: he wanted to get them more active and away from screens.
Other parents want the same thing. Temple said this year has been full of working with children as young as three years old in mostly camp-like settings at schools like Notre Dame de Sion Elementary, where he spoke with 41 Action News.
To help families keep the momentum going at home, Temple and his daughter, Stori, wrote a workbook called “Animal Movements.” The book, available in English and Spanish on Amazon, walks families through activities, nutrition and mindfulness exercises.
“We put together this fun book where you can move like a bear, you can act like a flamingo, and really explore animal movements through activity and fun,” Temple explained the title of the book.
Big box gym Life Time, with two locations in Johnson County, Kansas, also saw a rise in demand for classes tailored to families and children, especially during the summer.
A spokesperson for the company said enhanced cleaning protocols put in place during the pandemic will be standard procedure moving forward; pointing out the nationwide company worked with epidemiologists and industrial hygienists to update its cleaning and air filtration methods.
Life Time will continue asking clients to reserve a slot for in-person group fitness classes to avoid overcrowding. A spokesman said during the pandemic, Life Time employed concierges to set up before and clean up after group classes. That service will remain in place moving forward.
The gym now offers a digital membership for clients who want to access livestreamed classes, coaching tips, and more from anywhere in the country.
Micah LaCerte of Hitch Fit Transformation Gym was one of the first personal trainers to develop virtual workouts during the internet’s early days. He said he created more at-home workout plans during the pandemic.
He believes many people are looking for smaller, boutique-style gyms, like his two KC metro locations, because they provide a more controlled environment - like limiting how many people are inside at once.
“Everything that was touched was cleaned instantly. They [trainers] literally had cleaning spray and whatnot,” LaCerte pointed out. “We wanted this environment to feel very, very safe for individuals.”
All the gyms 41 Action News spoke to saw membership increase this year as people placed newfound importance on their health and wellbeing.
“What we knew [among uncertain times] is the first layer of protection in this is getting yourself healthy,” LaCerte explained. “When people realized that, they’re like, ‘Man, I need to get to the gym or work out from home, I need to start eating better.’ That is your first defense. So take care of your health.”
For someone looking to start a fitness regiment, LaCerte suggests you set a realistic goal, be prepared to change activity and eating habits, and most importantly prioritize your commitment to fitness; adding discipline and motivation happen naturally after prioritization.
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