Virtual workouts cultivate sense of community for gyms and personal trainers in Round Rock, Pflugerville

Gyms and personal trainers in Round Rock and Pflugerville have found that virtual workouts have offered clients a "saving grace" during the pandemic. (Courtesy Rebecca Dunn)
Gyms and personal trainers in Round Rock and Pflugerville have found that virtual workouts have offered clients a "saving grace" during the pandemic. (Courtesy Rebecca Dunn)

Gyms and personal trainers in Round Rock and Pflugerville have found that virtual workouts have offered clients a "saving grace" during the pandemic. (Courtesy Rebecca Dunn)

This weekend marks a busy one for Rebecca Dunn, owner of Round Rock’s Pure Barre, as she prepares for the studio’s grand reopening June 1. The past 2 1/2 months have been marked by a sense of uncertainty and plenty of uncharted territory, Dunn said, while also allowing her to tap into the world of virtual fitness classes.

“There's been a lot of ups and downs and emotions wrapped around it all,” Dunn said. “It's been very stressful. But at the same time, I also felt very grateful for the support and engagement we've seen from our members.”

When Travis and Williamson counties limited in-person gatherings and nonessential business operations in mid-March, gyms, fitness centers and studios were forced to navigate unprecedented circumstances, Dunn said. So much of the work she and fellow fitness instructors do, she added, relies on one-on-one, in-person interactions.

Through the pandemic, virtual workouts became a stand-in for gym sessions and studio offerings, lending way to a kind of personal engagement people had been craving, she said.

Following Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order that allowed gyms to reopen in Texas starting May 18, some locations, including Dunn’s, held off on opening to clients. Dunn said that for Pure Barre, she wanted to ensure the studio’s reopening strategies protected both staff and clients from the health crisis.


Karen Lenhard is a group fitness trainer in Pflugerville and an instructor for U-Jam Fitness, an urban dance workout that includes choreographed routines to Latin, hip-hop, Bollywood and pop music. Since the pandemic shut down in-person classes, Lenhard has turned to virtual classes as a form of exercise, mental relief and community.

Lenhard’s classes run on Tuesdays and Thursdays, just as they had prior to the pandemic. One of the unexpected results of turning to virtual classes, Lenhard said, is the extension of her fitness community—from Pflugerville’s 24 Hour Fitness to participants across the country.

“What's really neat is that now we can virtually take other people's classes in different areas of the country,” Lenhard said. “I think it's great to stay connected—this opportunity to dig into what some other instructors out there are doing. Even though the dance and the music is pre-choreographed, everybody's going to put their own elements into it.”

When classes resume, Lenhard said she is most excited to see her class attendees and to celebrate the progress they have made during the past few months.

The energy of in-person classes is palpable, she said, adding that no matter how that looks with social distancing measures, she will still be reunited with her “back corner hustlers.”

“I don't know how it's going to work, if we stay in our own little square,” she said. “But you know, if we can be in the same room and hear each other and see each other—I'm really looking forward to that.”

As many people have turned to online classes for exercise, Dunn said just as many have sought out fitness as a source of refuge and mental relief during this time. Whether it is a positive word of affirmation for a client during her digital classes or their Friday happy hour Zoom virtual meetups, Dunn said human connection is what is needed most.

And on June 1, even with social distancing measures in place, those same connections will finally come from something other than a computer screen.

“We feel like we're kind of coming together,” Dunn said. “It's that sense of community. And we've heard over and over again—this has been my saving grace kind of through all of this.”
By Kelsey Thompson
Kelsey Thompson is the reporter for Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto, where her work focuses on education, city government and community development. Originally from upstate New York, Kelsey relocated to Austin after graduating from Syracuse University in May 2019.


MOST RECENT

An orange virus graphic that reads "Today's coronavirus data updates"
Travis County reports 753 new coronavirus cases July 8

The Austin MSA is still hovering near Stage 5 risk with 67 new hospital admissions in the past day.

Census worker
2020 census: Bureau prepares nonresponse follow-up field operations

For individuals who have not responded to the 2020 census, one of about 500,000 census takers will visit the their household between Aug. 11-Oct. 31.

Emler Swim School operates 28 year-round locations in Texas and Kansas. (Courtesy Emler Swim School)
Emler Swim School now offering interactive lessons online

Families can choose to receive training via weekly video calls or through instructional videos online.

Dr. Mark Escott, Austin-Travis County interim health authority, said in a July 8 news conference that officials are "desperately trying to avoid" both overcrowding hospitals and shutting down the economy with another shelter-in-place order. (Courtesy ATXN)
If new shelter-in-place orders are needed in Austin, local officials hope to have 'productive dialogue' with Gov. Abbott

With area ICU beds at 85% capacity, officials are preparing the Austin Convention Center to accept hospital patients and are calling on health professionals from around the country to assist in Texas.

Williamson County confirmed cases of coronavirus rose July 7. (Screenshot courtesy Williamson County)
167 additional coronavirus cases, 1 death confirmed in Williamson County on July 7

Currently, 112 patients are hospitalized, and 33 are in intensive care, per the report.

Stage 5 is not triggered by an exact number but could be triggered anywhere above 70 hospitalizations per day over the past seven days, depending on the recent rate of the increase. (Courtesy Travis County)
With 74.8 new hospitalizations per day over past week, Travis County could move into coronavirus risk Stage 5

Under Stage 5, Austin Public Health could suggest only essential businesses remain open.

A screen capture of a virtual meeting of the Travis County Commissioners Court, feauring Gerald Daugherty and Sam Biscooe sitting in the courtroom
UPDATE: Travis County postpones public discussion on Tesla economic incentives until July 14

County commissioners will continue discussions on Tesla with economic development staff at their next regular voting session.

The Texas Education Agency released guidelines about on-campus activities, attendance requirements, and health and safety precautions for the 2020-21 school year. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas Education Agency issues guidelines for 2020-21 school year

The guidelines address on-campus activities, attendance requirements, and health and safety precautions that should be enforced at Texas schools this year.

Edward Logan is the new CEO of Sport Clips Inc. (Courtesy Sport Clips Inc.)
New Sport Clips Haircuts CEO to succeed founder

In his early work with Sport Clips, Edward oversaw the company-owned stores, taking many of them to top performers within the system.

"We're very aware that we are in the heart of a growing area," Branch Manager Buzz Carruth said in the release. "Right off the edge of the Texas Hill Country, Hutto is a great place to live, work, and play." (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)
City Electric Supply Hutto opens as company's 39th Texas branch

"We’re very aware that we are in the heart of a growing area,” Branch Manager Buzz Carruth said in the release. “Right off the edge of the Texas Hill Country, Hutto is a great place to live, work, and play."

In-person appointments for driver license renewal and replacement are now being offered at driver license offices across the state. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas driver license offices reopen for in-person renewal, replacement services

The second phase of reopening announced July 7 expanded services offered at driver license offices.