It took the COVID-19 crisis to push boxing instructor Peggy Maerz into the ring of online instruction.
Maerz, head coach at Bulldogs Fitness and Boxing Centre in Salmon Arm, said she and her coaches had the idea of going online with live instruction but were dragging their feet, not knowing how to start.
The push they needed, said Maerz, came from their students with Parkinson’s. Restrictions put in place on public gatherings, along with the pressure maintain social distancing to reduce the spread of the virus, meant classes at the gym had to be cancelled.
“A lot of them were just in distress that the one sense of stability or place to de-stress… was going to be gone.,” said Maerz.
To provide ongoing training and support, Maerz decided to give the program Zoom a shot. A live streaming program, it allows Bulldogs’ students to see what coaches are doing and vice-versa.
“You should have seen them, the first time on, they were in tears,” said Maerz. “It had been over a week since they’d seen each other or had any outside interaction and they were so joyful… It’s really hard on them not having that physical regulation… having Parkinson’s they need to have that regulation otherwise they suffer so much and they decline so much quicker.”
That success prompted Bulldogs to transition to the online alternative for all classes, including a special one designed for their young boxing students and their families.
“It was great for the kids because they got to be the teacher of their families… it gave them a role in the room which was a lot of fun to watch and do…,” said Maerz, who missed seeing the kids in her gym.
“Just to see them in their home and working out with their families – damn, it was wonderful. It brings me so much joy just to watch that.”
Moving online, Maerz explained, required some improvisation that allowed trainees to do the exercises without all the usual equipment. Such as using canned foods or water bottles for weights.
“It was thinking outside the box about stuff they could do at home where they won’t have to buy gear.”
Now that Bulldogs has taken its first steps into the ring of online instruction, it’s something Maerz wants to continue offering when the crisis is over.
“It’s funny how crisis pushes us to grow,” commented Maerz.
On Thursday, April 2, Interior Health, in response to COVID-19, ordered all fitness centres, gyms, yoga studios or similar personal training facilities closed.
For more information on Bulldogs’ online classes, visit www.bulldogsboxing.com.