Free workouts help exercise business boom in lockdown
When lockdown began in March, Steph Claire Smith and Laura Henshaw knew exactly what they wanted to do.
The models turned creators of online fitness and wellness program Keep It Cleaner began offering free, no equipment needed workouts on Instagram IGTV and Facebook Live.
"As soon as social distancing restrictions did come into place in Australia as a team we wanted to do everything we could to help members of the community through these times," Laura told news.com.au.
"We've been doing three a week for about six weeks now and it's been really amazing to see people from all around the world joining us."
The introduction of free classes also had an unexpected benefit - it saw a rush in sign-ups to Keep It Cleaner.
"From that we have seen a spike, like a lot of people in the fitness industry have, with people coming in and signing up," Laura said.
"But the most important thing for us was just offering that free option so no matter what your option was, you had access to the workouts."
While Keep It Cleaner remains popular with their core 18-26 female age group, lockdown has also seen a rise in other demographics.
"The age demographic has swayed a little bit in this time," Steph said.
"I think we've found that particularly that mother's age has jumped as they're spending a lot more time at home and having to be at home with their kids, they might be homeschooling."
With more people exercising from home than ever before Steph said it's possible the trend towards online fitness programs may continue when lockdown ends.
"At the moment we're hoping that we're helping people through this challenging time, and maybe it will go beyond this time and it's proven to some people that they can motivate themselves to get it done in a smaller space," she said.
"And they might have surprised themselves how they can encourage themselves to do that and prove to themselves that they don't need certain things to still move their body. We hope we've opened people's eyes to that."
Tomorrow Steph and Laura will be hosting yet another one of their live workouts on Instagram, this time for a special cause.
The fitness duo will be hosting a hosting a free online Keep It Cleaner 'Overies' pilates class in recognition of World Ovarian Cancer Day.
Laura and Steph will each be wearing a pair of their "Overies" over the top of their tights to mark the occasion - teal undies being sold at Bonds, Bras N Things and Jockey to raise money for ovarian cancer research.
While none of their loved ones have been touched by the "scary" cancer both Laura and Steph are determined to raise awareness of ovarian cancer among their followers after learning that there is no early detection test.
"We both have cancer in our families but ovarian cancer we haven't experienced first hand," Laura said.
"However since working to support ovarian cancer and to raise awareness we have met quite a few women who have diagnosed and are fighting the disease.
"Hearing them speak and what they've been through and what their families have been through … it's really hard to listen to because it's such a scary disease."
HOW TO EXERCISE FROM HOME
With many of us struggling to find the motivation to exercise and work from home, Steph said the key was to find what works for you right now and "work with what you've got".
"Everyone is really different in their lifestyle, what their lockdown looks like and how much time they've got, what equipment they've got available or no equipment and space as well," she said.
Also important was doing the right kind of exercise and mixing it up to stop things from getting boring.
"Whilst exercise should be challenging you've still got to somewhat enjoy it," Steph said.
"If you absolutely hate an exercise and it doesn't make you feel any good then don't try and force yourself to do it everyday."
Originally published as Exercise business booming in lockdown