Youth athletics gym slides into online training program

Nate Daniels, owner of Daniels Sports Performance, plans to offer outdoor exercise in line with recent state government guideline changes next week. The gym created an online, app-based training program to allow athletes to train from home during the pandemic. (Courtesy Daniels Sports Performance)

Pandemic or no, Nate Daniels figures young athletes in Richmond still need to keep their skills sharp.

And despite having just opened a new 5,000-square-foot gym in Midlothian in January and promptly being forced to close it for the time being because of coronavirus restrictions, his Daniels Sports Performance continues on – on the internet.

For Daniels, that meant bringing the workouts into members’ homes and yards while schools are closed and sports games canceled.

“I wanted to give them that option, to continue to make progress and get gains (despite the pandemic),” he said. “I designed the program to allow 90 to 95 percent of it to be done online and with no equipment whatsoever.”

Daniels introduced an online program in early April to the more than 100 young athletes who are enrolled in his gym’s regular programs. Regular programming includes team training, personal training and sports camps catered to all sports.

Daniels, who played football for Ferrum College and is a member of the school’s Alumni Sports Hall of Fame, played professionally in the Arena Football League for six years.

The online program is focused on speed training, and members pay to access via a mobile app. The program includes specific exercises, along with sets and reps, and videos of Daniels demonstrating proper technique. The four-week online program costs $99, though the website advertises a $79 discount rate.

Daniels also launched outdoor programming Monday, an offering that’s allowed under the state’s phase one of a gradual loosening of restrictions placed on businesses to stem the tide of virus infections. Phase one, which applies to some businesses in most parts of the state, permits gyms to hold outdoor programs, though gym facilities themselves must remain closed.

Response to the online program has been good, and Daniels plans to continue to offer the program post-pandemic, seeing it as a strategy to expand his company’s reach beyond the Richmond area.

Daniels isn’t the only gym owner who’s leveraged the internet as an alternative to in-person workouts. The Short Pump franchise of Cyclebar launched a bike rental program after the pandemic shut down its gym.

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