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‘Dumbbells are now the new toilet paper’: COVID-19 leads to demand for fitness equipment

Fitness classes and equipment spike in popularity during coronavirus outbreak
WATCH: One business that is booming during the pandemic is anything to do with fitness. Whether its online classes or setting up a home gym, as Sarah MacDonald reports, the hardest part about starting may be finding the equipment.

As many industries struggle to weather the economic impact of COVID-19, the business of home fitness is booming.

“This is the busiest we’ve ever been,” said James Newman, owner and CEO of Fitness Town, which sells fitness equipment.

“We’ve just tripled our orders. There’s going to be a glut of inventory coming, but it’s way too little for the amount of people who want it.”

Working out at home while raising kids
Working out at home while raising kids

With gyms closed and classes cancelled, locals looking to improve or maintain their physical fitness are bringing the gym to them — if they can find the right equipment.

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“Dumbbells are now the new toilet paper,” Newman said.

READ MORE: Coronavirus closed your gym. Here’s how to stay fit — at a distance

“I would say, at this point in time, North America’s just about out of dumbbells and weights. A lot of the stuff is manufactured overseas. [We’re] off-the-charts busy, our phones are off-the-charts busy.”
How to stay motivated to work out at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic
How to stay motivated to work out at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Online fitness classes are also filling up fast. Kate Alvarado, a yoga instructor at TurF Kitsilano, says clients who typically train with her in person are now looking for virtual training sessions.

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“The demand is just becoming more and more,” she said. “I think people are yearning for some levity in their life, and some normalcy.”

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At a time when everyone is supposed to keep their distance, online fitness has a chance to expand its client base.

Armstrong gym owner fined for remaining open
Armstrong gym owner fined for remaining open

“What’s so cool about the virtual class, that you don’t get in your normal class, is you get all pockets of the world Zooming in,” Alvarado said.

“In my first class, I had people from Hong Kong, Australia, New York, California, Vancouver, Ontario, all at the same time. It just reinvigorated you that this is exactly what we need to be doing right now.”

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