With a Difficult Winter Coming, Gyms Think Outside the Box to Adapt

As coronavirus cases climb nationwide, fitness centers in the Boston area are finding new ways to make their businesses work

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Just days ago, a massive Boston warehouse was abandoned. Not anymore.

On Wednesday night, the 20,000 square-foot building was the site of a sold out spin class.

"We knew winter was coming," said Mark Partin, founder of B/Spoke.

Partin knew he had to do something, the intimate spin studies no longer workable during the ongoing pandemic.

"Right after July 4, we started looking at ways we could move indoors safely," Partin said. "We never thought we would be in a space like this, 14 feet apart, 20,000 square feet. That is just not the normal model."

The space has allowed Partin and his crew to space out bikes and offer an outdoor experience inside, thanks to high ceilings and more than enough room to spread out.

In the Seaport District, Move Studios founder Drew LaCombe took it a step further.

LaCombe is designing a gym on wheels, transforming an old box truck into a mobile workout studio.

"I had to pivot, had to learn, had to be innovative," LaCombe said. "Figure out what I had to do to keep my business moving."

LaCombe says he hopes to have his first truck up and running by next month, with more trucks to follow. He says the pandemic forced him to think outside of the box.

"It totally opened my eyes, it made me pivot, it made me create something that had to be different," he said. "There is not one in the world."

For Heather White, owner of TrillFit in Roxbury, cold weather on the horizon means a renewed emphasis on online classes.

"The sweet spot is in the pivot if you understand how to pivot your business plan, what you are doing, what comes next, you can still deliver a great service," White said.

White says the results have followed.

"We have seen our audience quadruple, we now welcome people from 92 cities, many different countries, and our community has gotten so big, it is really incredible," she said. "This studio, which is in the heart of Roxbury, now people in the UK, Singapore, Paris, Oakland, get to experience what we do everyday, that is incredible."

The gym owners continue to push the envelope, knowing standing still isn't great, either while working out or while running a workout company.

"You constantly have to be thinking ahead, current plans can change on a dime," Partin said.

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