It’s a word at the forefront of many minds during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s also the best term to describe how business partners and co-owners, Melissa Sloos and Nicole Strickland, approached running their workout studio Coast Fitness amid public health restrictions that limited their operation in Powell River.
“We adopted a policy of ‘riding the wave,’ or ‘embracing the storm,’” Sloos explains. “It was better to calm yourself, so to speak, and don’t try to quell or calm it. Sometimes, you just have to accept some situations and make productive business decisions to help work within the parameters we had.”
In this case, this meant helping customers adapt by taking part in a new fitness regimen.
“We changed what we were doing, for example, by going more online,” Sloos continues, adding they turned to social media, running live classes free of charge.
“Then, we transitioned all of our classes to our website. We did group fitness classes for all levels, plus yoga,” she says.
They also rented out some equipment, such as spin bikes, to make joining in as easy as possible for clients. Additionally, during the good weather spurts, the pair held spin classes outdoors under the shade of a tent at the side of their studio.
This pivot allowed clients not only to continue their fitness programs but incorporated a vital social aspect, as well.
“That’s a huge part because people want to come and meet their friends, to get and provide motivation and support for each other,” Sloos describes. “The hard work being put into the sessions by our clients is much more enjoyable for them if they see other people committed along with them.”
Working out is also beneficial for promoting positive mental health.
“Oftentimes, customers came in and told us this was their way of relieving stress,” Sloos explains. “And because they were in a small group, they were able to talk to each other about how they were feeling and share their frustrations while exercising.
“They were getting their dopamine release, felt more motivated, energized, and came away feeling more positive.”
Now that public health restrictions have been lifted, allowing fitness businesses to re-open at total capacity, things are returning – almost - back to normal.
Still, the lessons learned over the past two years remain a testament to the resiliency of Coast Fitness and its customers.
“We’ve only had one year in business without COVID after taking over from the original owner in 2018. So, it’s probably been the most challenging thing we’ve ever done,” Sloos says.
“There were definitely rough moments, but we feel so proud of what we’ve done, and we thank our customers for being there for us.”
For more information about Coast Fitness, class schedules and more, visit their website at coastfitness.ca.