Inspired to Stay Strong During COVID-19

Inspire Women's Fitness
Inspire Women's Fitness

In continuing with our special COVID-19 in the Community series highlighting local businesses in ‘the Valley,’ we’re shining the spotlight on Inspire Women’s Fitness in Langley. Up until the pandemic, this has been where I’ve been spending the past couple of years maintaining my mental and physical health. They’ve recently closed their doors, but that doesn’t mean my workout routine has come to a halt.

Inspire Women’s Fitness

Local gyms have had one of two choices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic – shut down indefinitely or change their programming.

For Ayanna Gibb, owner of Inspire Women’s Fitness at 20178 96 Ave. in Langley, the decision was a no-brainer. But that didn’t come without technical difficulties.

On March 16, she voluntarily closed her studio for the safety of her members and employees. A week later, she ventured into the online realm of Zoom fitness classes.

The cloud-based video conferencing service allows participants to virtually meet with others – either by video or audio-only or both. Because of this technology, Gibb and her team of instructors have been able to resume teaching fitness classes without breaking any social distancing rules. And since her gym doesn’t utilize big fitness equipment in its programming, participants can still get a full workout using hand weights, or in a pinch, a couple cans of kidney beans, bag of flour, jars, etc.

“It took a little bit of adjusting and coaching for some but we seemed to have got most of the kinks out,” said Gibb, who broadcasts a variety of classes from her studio, and sometimes her living room.

Inspire Womens Fitness

Inspire members can sign up for a variety of classes through the MINDBODY app, including Zumba, Piyo, barre, body sculpt, yoga – just to name a few. After they sign up, members receive a link through Zoom two hours before the class start time that directs them to live broadcast.

For women who are now working from home, acting as a substitute teacher for their children, braving the frontlines or all of the above, the benefits of continuing to exercise are endless.

“I think everybody should have some sort of fitness routine during this time as it is one of the best things you can do to relieve stress and also help keep your immune system strong, which is very important right now.”

Ayanna Gibb, owner of Inspire Women’s Fitness

“The workouts may not exactly be the same since we are doing them online and the trainers are not there in person, but I think right now it’s just important to keep moving… whatever that looks like.”

And while high commercial rent costs, lease payments on equipment and other expenses have meant permanent closures for some major gyms, many of Inspire’s members choosing to still pay their monthly fees to ensure the fitness studio will still be there when social distancing is of the distant past.

“Our members are doing everything they can right now,” said Gibb. I’m so grateful for those that are still able to pay their memberships and help support us. For those that are in a hard situation we are happy to hold their membership fees.”

The speed at which Gibb has been able to adapt her small business to meet the needs of its 200+ members–women who range in age from 18 to 80–has been inspiring. In addition to providing some ‘normalcy’ to their routine and help her members keep fit, it has been helping many to stay connected from a safe social distance.

Inspire Women's Fitness

“Ayanna has worked tirelessly to provide members with a “new normal” in lieu of in-studio classes from the comfort of our homes,” said Laura Keen, a long-time Inspire member and mother-of-two from Langley.

“The impact Ayanna’s efforts have had on my mental and physical health during this unprecedented time is immeasurable. I am extremely grateful for her quick action and dedication to her members and the community as a whole.” 

Laura Keen

For Jennifer Beynon, 75, the virtual classes provide a small window each day of social interaction.

“I live alone and these classes are not only helping with my well being and fitness, they keep me in touch with others in the class,” she said.” I look forward to returning to the gym, but this is the next best thing.”

Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak, Rie Uenishi, 48, says she’s been feeling guilty about not going to work, not seeing friends being inactive. Thanks to Inspire’s online classes, the Langley mom is now feeling more connected and content during the pandemic.

“When I started taking Zumba, Barre and yoga classes, I felt stronger and healthier. I was able to look forward to every day and feel good about myself for accomplishing something good every morning,” she said.
“Using Zoom, we can see all the familiar faces and see how everyone’s doing. Ayanna acted quickly in finding what she can do for us under the circumstances and continues to keep improving the classes. Her action really inspires me every day… it has taught me not to dwell on the bad situation and keep moving forward. “

Inspire Women’s Fitness started out as a franchise called Envie Fitness back in 2017. Around a year after opening, Gibb bought herself out of the franchise. Today, her boutique fitness studio has over 200 members, offering a place for women of all ages to feel comfortable and safe. Fitness classes offered include are Barre, Bootcamp, Zumba, Body Sculpt, TRX, Boxing, Yoga, Bollyx and more. The classes are formulated for all different fitness goals and fitness levels. Complimentary childcare is available.

On top of the regular classes, Inspire Women’s Fitness is involved in various community events: wine and workouts, fundraisers, community dances, karaoke, couple’s nights and more. To sign up for a free two-week trial of Zoom fitness classes, or for more information, email info@inspirewomensfitsnes.ca or visit www.InspireWomensFitness.ca. Follow them on Facebook @InspireWomensFitnessLangley, and on Instagram @InspireWomensFitnessLangley.

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