University District

How three local gyms are helping people stay fit from home

One of the few positives of many aspects of life coming to a screeching halt due to COVID-19 is the opportunity to do some self-care. Maybe it's more sleep, prayer, meditation, or time in the sunshine. Maybe it's less screen time, more flossing, or time in the gym.

Yes. Gyms are currently closed under local and statewide orders. But health experts including the World Health Organization say it's vital for mental and physical health to stay active while sheltering in place.

Many Mid-South gym owners are finding alternative ways to help people achieve their fitness and health goals from a distance.

Here are three gyms and their strategies: God Body Fitness and Nutrition, Panorama Movement, and Recess.

Members of the Memphis' Recess gym pose for a photo in 2019. The gym is now offering a range of services and socializing opportunities online during the COVID-19 shutdown. (Submitted)

God Body 

Roderick "Chef P" Duncan owns God Body Fitness and Nutrition in The University District. The shop is currently closed following local and state safer-at-home guidelines, but Duncan is still serving clients with meal prep services and daily personalized workouts send by email.

He feels his approach, which centers sustained change and growth in both mental and physical health, has been a huge contributor to his gym's success and a big factor in his clients' self-motivation in the absence of face-to-face training sessions. 

“I tell my clients all the time, ‘I don’t promote fitness, I promote lifestyle changes,'" said Duncan.

God Body Fitness has two trainers who are currently accepting new clients for remote training.  Duncan is one, Martin “Taz” Hopkins is the other. They can be reached through God Body's website and social media pages.

While the shop is closed to the public, Duncan is renovating his first location for use by Brian Hall and his new Law School MMA gym. 

Panorama Movement

Britten Bailey, owner of Panorama Movement, is offering free weekly classes via Facebook and Instagram live while still giving individuals access to one on one assessments, coaching, and private zoom classes.

Baily said her workout routines revolve around mobility and stability with a heavy emphasis on helping people feel healthier, stronger, and more stable as opposed to focusing on a visually pleasing results. Rather than heavy weights or machines, the exercises often use a person's own body weight. 

She said that's helped smooth the transition to virtual workouts.

“Body weight is what I’ve specialized in for so long that it’s not very challenging to switch it over to at-home workouts," said Bailey. 

Her work outs have been modified to incorporate more stress reduction and breath work to help clients cope with the stress of the pandemic and shutdowns.

Bailey just launched Panorama Movement in the Fairgrounds area on January 1. She's already thinking about adjusting her business plan after reopening. 

“If someone lost their job or their pay was affected by the COVID-19 shut down, a sliding scale will be implemented. I’m not about to turn someone away because of inability to pay due to a pandemic," she said. 


Recess has moved their community to a 100% online coaching service.

They are currently hosting three daily small group classes via Zoom, archiving classes to make them accessible 24 hours a day, making weekly coaching calls to address client’s personal needs, and offering ‘hang out’ time before and after classes to discuss how the circumstances are impacting their daily lives.  

Recess is owned by Brooks Meadows and located in the Flicker Street Arts District portion of the Fairgrounds area.  

The coaches at Recess mentor clients in exercise, nutrition, sleep, breath, and mindset.

“We knew as soon as social distancing was recommended that we needed to not only continue to provide physical nourishment but to increase the value of what we offer people by providing social, intellectual, and emotionally nourishing experiences and content," said Meadows. 

Recess also offers discounts to educators and proudly uses their platform to advocate for youth athlete nonprofits that focus on providing access to sports in low-income neighborhoods.
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