Moving one’s business online is becoming increasingly par for the course as the COVID-19 pandemic precludes business owners from operating out of their brick-and-mortar locations, and it’s no exception for Fit Buddha Fitness Studios co-founders Eva and Marcus Kettles.
While shifting their fitness sessions from their two physical locations to a digital format hasn’t received quite the same participation from clients as in-person workouts did, the couple and many of their trainers still manage to hold a few workouts a day for those looking to maintain a clear head and stay fit during quarantine. Their business may be impacted like most small businesses are, and virtual classes may only be a small way of keeping Fit Buddha’s trainers paid rather than an income generator, but the Kettles see Fit Buddha’s bolstered online presence as a way of broadening its horizons beyond the localities of its Santa Barbara and Ventura studios.
Fit Buddha’s switch to virtual classes has taken the form of live online video calls via apps like Zoom and prerecorded videos posted on the studio’s Facebook page. While Ms. Kettles had considered doing online meditation seminars for some time, the idea of conducting workouts digitally never occurred to her. But once the coronavirus outbreak meant conducting group workout classes at the Fit Buddha studios was no longer an option, she and her husband expedited the process of moving each aspect of their business onto the internet.
“A part of me was planning to offer webinars… But we never thought of offering fitness classes online. That was very new to us. We were very quick in responding to that,” she said.
She admitted that Fit Buddha’s trainers initially didn’t much care for conducting classes via Zoom, as it was tricky to generate the same connection they had with students when teaching them in person. However, Ms. Kettles has found that taking time before sessions to check in with clients and get a feel for the room in which they are working out helps maintain that feeling of connectedness even when apart.
Virtual classes may not provide opportunities to give clients a friendly hug after a hard workout, but Fit Buddha’s online focus has made it so former clients who have moved away from the Central Coast can reconnect with the Kettles and take classes with them. One former client who has taken part in Fit Buddha’s digital classes now lives in England.
As it turns out, that former client is not the only person across the Atlantic who has joined in on the virtual classes. One day, Mr. Kettles was taking an online yoga course that he didn’t find all that interesting. A couple of fellow online students from England shared his sentiments and expressed a desire to find a different program. Mr. Kettles seized the opportunity and informed them about classes Fit Buddha’s offered in Megaformer training, a varied fusion of yoga, Pilates, and CrossFit-esque exercises performed on the eponymous Megaformer machine. For those who don’t have Megaformer machines in their homes, which is most people, Mr. Kettles said the machine’s slow movements can be approximated using fitness sliders. Those who don’t own fitness sliders can use makeshift items like paper plates or socks on a hardwood floor to emulate the Megaformer movements.
Acquiring a few overseas participants has revealed to the Kettles an opportunity to extend Fit Buddha’s reach. As Mr. Kettles remarked, he and his wife are now discussing their business in terms of “Fit Buddha Global.”
“It’s just one of those things. They tell two friends, they tell two friends, and before you know it you’ve got a thriving online business,” Mr. Kettles said.
Next week, Ms. Kettles will introduce the latest addition to Fit Buddha’s online business, the Magnetic Mind Recode sessions. During these mental exercise classes, Ms. Kettles will guide students through a process of reprogramming their minds away from a mindset of “scarcity,” or belief systems that make one feel unworthy and diminished. As she described it, it’s both a mental and physical experience.
“It’s a transformation into your authentic self, ultimately,” she said. “It recodes the DNA, so it’s very profound work and that’s why it’s called magnetic. You draw toward yourself the magnetic moments in life and you let go of the ones you don’t need anymore.”
She added that this results in “a whole alignment within the personality, so nothing feels like a struggle anymore. It feels like a flow, and ease, and effortlessness and simply acceptance.”
Those interested in the Magnetic Mind Recode sessions can try their first class for free by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with “FreeRecodeSession” written in the subject line.