Taylor Calamese has been on the Charlotte fitness scene since 2014, but as she worked to open her new Charlotte FIT fitness studio during COVID-19, there were days she couldn’t even bring herself to visit the new space.
“It was really depressing. There were times during the demolition process that I wouldn’t even go look at it. I didn’t want to see it,” Calamese told CharlotteFive. “Here I was writing all these checks, and it was like, ’Is there a point? Does this even make sense?’”
Calamese had signed the contract in February, and renovations began just as the pandemic was getting started. “COVID slowed the process down tremendously, from shutdowns to supplies,” Calamese said.
Charlotte Fit’s original April 15 launch date was shifted to June, with group fitness classes eventually beginning in October. They include Restorative Yin Yoga, HIIT, Pulse Yoga, Athletic Yoga, Prenatal/Deep Stretch, Upper Body Blast and Gluteus Max-Out.
One thing that motivated Calamese to keep going? Her clients.
‘Skin hunger’ is tricky during a pandemic
“There is this concept called skin hunger. It’s a real thing. We need human interaction and community, perhaps now more than ever, and I knew having a space to bring people together to be both active and social would be important,” Calamese said.
The comfort level of clients coming into the gym to workout varies — and Calamese has taken these into consideration.
“Some clients have truly taken quarantine seriously and do not go anywhere, outside of necessities. These clients utilize our virtual training option to conduct their personalized workouts based on the equipment they have available to them in home,” Calamese said.
“Other clients fall somewhere in the middle, where they will come into the studio to train, but will utilize our flex space/group fitness room to train in a more isolated environment away from others. The last category of clients is very comfortable with coming into the studio and training with others, as long as they are properly socially distanced. I am happy that I have the option to offer the services and resources to support each individual’s level of comfort.”
Virtual training was not previously a part of Charlotte FIT’s offerings, but Calamese made the shift at the start of the pandemic. That move allowed Charlotte FIT to stay afloat financially. “I am so thankful. l’m grateful that people continue to trust me, support me and cheer me on as I’m figuring out this new way of maneuvering about the world and providing services to the public,” Calamese said.
Clients comfortable enough to go into the studio will experience reduced capacity — group training areas are limited to four people, and group fitness classes are limited to eight. Guests will also find sanitation stations, increased cleaning frequency and social distancing measures.
“I feel a large amount of responsibility to be socially conscious of keeping people safe and providing business protocols that make clients feel secure when they walk into Charlotte FIT,” Calamese said. “It’s been difficult because there have been no true protocols or recommendations on how businesses should proceed during these times. I think we have thrived because we are a small facility that is able to manage the number of people who enter our facility, as well as properly clean and sanitize all equipment and high touch areas between use.”
In addition to the personal training, nutrition coaching and weight management services that Charlotte FIT offered previously, this new studio has allowed Calamese to expand her team, including trainers Shayla Nyreé and Keianna Glover, and offer open gym memberships and group fitness classes.
For those uncomfortable with training in a studio, Charlotte FIT offers online virtual coaching sessions.
1001 E. W.T. Harris Blvd., Suite W