Bright Spot: Jabz Boxing Bobs and Weaves to Online Classes During Coronavirus Crisis

Despite initially remaining open with some safety measures in place, Jabz Boxing had to pivot from in-person only classes to all online classes using Zoom and Vimeo after local mandates required their doors to close. (Photo courtesy Jabz Boxing.)

It’s tough to shut the doors of your fitness studio. The decision becomes more difficult during a growing health crisis. A lot is at stake. Before news about COVID-19’s spread became more pronounced, we initially tried to keep the doors of all of our Jabz Boxing locations open while implementing social distancing protocols and other safety measures to keep our members, trainers and teams safe. We have 17 franchised locations, three additional company-owned locations, and 11 in development.  

Adjusting the class size and practicing social distancing before, during and after classes are two of the initial measures we took to increase safety upon the cusp of COVID-19 concerns. Eventually, the time came for us to close our doors due to the local mandates on essential businesses, and we had to pivot fast. With the mandates in place, we shifted to online content using Zoom and Vimeo. We didn’t have any online content in place previously.

Fast forward, and now our founders, franchise owners and trainers are carefully curating content for the live online classes. The online training is included in our membership fees. Members can either choose to join a live class or use the five- to seven-minute pre-recorded workout demonstration videos that are shared in an email the night before a live class. Each location hosts its schedule for live-streaming classes, so depending on location, there are four to six classes to choose from per day.

Our online classes are an extension of the in-person classes. In essence, the platform is different, but the workout experience is designed to be the same. We are working to provide our members with the resources to stay active throughout the day. Classes are broken up by the time of day, two to three classes before 10 a.m., two to three classes before 8 p.m. and some studios offer a lunchtime/noon class. The full body plus core class takes the top rank for a Jabz workout streamed across the board. We offer a different workout every day for each part of the body.

Our online classes do not require any special equipment and can all be done at home. This is a huge adaption from our typical classes that use the Jabz Boxing Ring, Jabz Bobs, Jabz Rowing machines and the Jabz weighted punching bags. We’ve adapted our workouts to use common household items when a little extra push is needed.

Maintaining our members’ health and wellness is critical to us during this pandemic. We’ve worked hard to ensure our members feel supported along their fitness journeys amidst social distancing. Additional ways we’re staying innovative is through our newly launched Sunday Wellness Series, streamed live every Sunday at 2 p.m. Eastern weekly to our public Facebook pages and YouTube channel. Each will feature expert guests covering a range of topics across the fitness, wellness and nutrition industries. Also, coupled with our recent onboarding with Gym Pass, Jabz will allow a larger audience across the country to experience the community and workouts.

We’ve received a positive response from our members on the online classes and resources we’ve launched in response to COVID-19. Our virtual shift has assisted with keeping members engaged and attracting new members looking to stay active at home. We’re hovering at about 70 percent to 80 percent retention across all markets currently. Our franchisees have built great relationships with their members, and we are encouraged by their work and the dedication of their communities.

There’s no precedent or rule book for how to run a fitness company during a global pandemic. At Jabz, we’ve found that the most effective way to operate has been to look for opportunities to innovate, change our perspective, adjust and build programs relevant to our circumstances. Through these efforts, we have created an added benefit of an online resource for our members, where previously there was none. The best way we’ve found to weather the storm is to uphold consistency through continuing engagement and introducing initiatives slowly, maintaining timing. We’re prepared to play the long game and have learned as a brand and franchise network just how fast we can pivot when life throws us a major punch. 

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