“Amazing rooftop Alice!” Matija shouts from the livestream on my laptop. “Where are you guys?!” My audio is turned off, so he can’t hear me, but I shout “Sydney!” anyway.
It might seem odd that I’m on a rooftop in Sydney star-jumping along to a live-streamed workout from Berlin, but it all makes sense if I back up a bit. I’d been on my travels through Asia when the pandemic hit, and I happened to be staying with my brother in Sydney when most of the flights back to Europe got cancelled. So I decided to stay put.
Meanwhile, Europe has slowly closed down with people confined to their homes, allowed outside only for essentials. Although this experience is a huge challenge for businesses and people alike, I love how everyone is making sure they stay fit with home workouts from their living rooms. My social media feed is full of people doing burpees in the kitchen, press ups in the garden and crunches in the living room. Better still, Urban Sports Club has wasted no time in adapting their offering to support not just our community but our partners, too.
Urban Sports Club has given people the option to un-pause their memberships to gain access to thousands of live, online classes. That means we can workout just as we usually would from inside our own homes – either with our favourite partners or trying out something totally different.
No one could have predicted what 2020 would bring, but one thing is certain: we can get through this if we work together. Urban Sports Club are ensuring their partners can keep their businesses alive by live streaming their classes online – with partners receiving 80% of check-in revenue.
So I, of course, tried one out immediately. I reserved my place on BEAT81’s Abs Burner workout through the Urban Sports Club app, and 15 minutes before the class I received a link to the livestream.
So here I am on a rooftop in Sydney. I’ve put my brother in charge of taking photos and convinced my housemate Alicia to join the workout (without mentioning how brutal BEAT81 can be). Within a few seconds a video comes up introducing our instructors and the BEAT81 concept. EDM music pumps over the speakers to get us appropriately hyped.
Then the link goes live and Matija and Marija walk through a gym with a huge BEAT81 sign in the background. “Hello hello hello!” They bounce around with such energy it feels like I’ve been given a shot of adrenaline. “Hello Masha in Munich! Lucas in Berlin! Hayley from London, hello! Wow, we’re an international bunch!” Their energy is contagious.
There’s no point sugar-coating it. We can’t travel, we can’t see our friends, we can’t catch up over coffee and we can’t go out for beers. But workouts like this make it a little more bearable. Seeing those friendly, happy instructors on the screen, and knowing they can see me too, made me feel connected – like I was back in Berlin, getting fit with my community.
Today we’re doing an Abs Burner HIIT workout. “That means 8 exercises, 25 seconds of work, 15 seconds rest, and repeat four times,” Matija says. “Now grab a water bottle, we’re going to use this as a weight.” Genius.
Alicia and I can’t help but laugh as we sprint manically through the warm up, doing high knees and heel kicks and air squats. I can tell Matija and Marija are enjoying themselves. They must miss their usual fitness classes, and they do an amazing job of making us feel like we’re in one.
The workout is tough. We race our way through sets of star jumps and bunny hops, through to intense ab circuits. Mountain climbers, Russian twists, ski jumps, sprints, crunches. My body burns but Marija notices when I slow down. “Keep it up Alice!” She says. “You got this!”
By the end of the four rounds I’m sweating my face off but, in typical BEAT81 style, the workout isn’t finished. “One minute challenge!” Marija yells. This is how BEAT81 ends all their workouts – it’s guaranteed to totally finish you off.
“Squat! Keep it low!” I can see people’s faces grimacing in the camera. “We’re going to get through this together!” Matija says, sweat dripping down his forehead. “We’re all in this together!”