Local CrossFit gym keeping members connected

With gyms and fitness studios closed down due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many people have had their usual fitness routines interrupted in some way.

Fortunately, there are still plenty of in-home exercise options out there, and we’re enlisting the help of local trainers and instructors to share ideas. In the latest installment of our Quarantine Fitness series, Jennifer Binkley of CGX CrossFit in Bargersville talks about some creative ways to stay fit — as well as the ways she’s reaching out to help her gym’s members with the process.

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced gyms across Indiana to shut their doors, CGX CrossFit owner Jennifer Binkley saw no reason to leave her equipment behind a locked door collecting dust.

Rather than leave it sitting around unused, she decided to spread the wealth.

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"We’ve emptied our gym," Binkley said. "All of the equipment went out to every member, so every member got barbells or plates or dumbbells, kettlebells, any kind of free weight that we had. So we literally have nothing there."

Not only did CGX’s members get blessed with workout equipment for the duration of the quarantine, but also instruction on what to do with it.

Bargersville-based CGX is conducting live workouts via Zoom chat three times a day — at 8 a.m., 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. — and members who can’t make it at those times can access them later on the gym’s website (cgxcrossfit.com). The idea, Binkley says, is for members to "at least have somebody yelling at them to get them through or showing them the movements."

Of course, with the equipment spread among so many members, nobody has the full array of weights and apparatus available, so many of the exercises are modified to allow for the use of household items instead.

"We’ve gotten really creative with people just finding odd objects at home," Binkley said. "Maybe a half a bag of dog food, and we’ll do some things with a half a bag of dog food. I have some older clients and I’ll say, ‘Just go in your pantry and get me two cans of a vegetable.’ Anything that can kind of get them some weight in their hands."

Body-weight exercises are also being incorporated. Binkley notes that for one class she utilized a folding chair, which those working out along with her could use for squats and tricep dips, and for another used a bed sheet and a door frame to replicate a pull-up movement for those without access to a bar in their homes.

Even with the weights having been shared among members, most people still won’t have enough iron on hand to lift as heavy as they could in the gym. Binkley is trying to encourage her clientele to place more of an emphasis on improving technique.

"Now’s the time to kind of step back and, just don’t worry on the strength right now, because we can’t get you deadlifting 500 pounds, but work on your form, work on range of motion," she said.

As much as she enjoys being able to stay connected with members through the online workout sessions, Binkley says she’s even more moved by the support that her customer base has shown her since the gym’s doors closed. Every one of CGX’s members willingly paid full price for April even with the gym closed down, deciding that having access to some equipment and daily online coaching was well worth it.

Binkley trying to repay their loyalty — not only by charging half price for May, but also by reaching out to help some of her members who might be a bit more financially insecure during the outbreak. Even if it’s as simple a gesture as buying pizzas or gift cards for someone who’s temporarily out of work, she’s making it a point to take care of the people that are taking care of her.

"I think I have the best community around," Binkley said. "I’ve been very fortunate; my community has supported me 100 percent."