With closures, gym owner finds new opportunities online and outside

On a hazy Wednesday afternoon, gym owners Lisa and Casey Kammel rallied outside with a small group of their friends, family and clients preparing to host a virtual workout for those self-quarantining indoors.

Just a few days before the couple had to close their private training studio, Executive Fitness, in Naples, as the cities of Long Beach and Los Angeles ordered the closure of bars and restaurants, as well as theaters, gyms and fitness centers on Sunday night.

By Tuesday, the Kammels had already decided to host a live workout session on Facebook, an effort to find new ways to reach their community and adapt to the quickly changing times.

“Literally, we closed business on Monday and we started a class on Tuesday morning,” said Lisa. “Anything is a chance to learn and having been a brick-and-mortar business based here in Long Beach for 23 years, there’s a lot of new tricks we need to learn.”

Executive Fitness co-founder and Lisa’s husband Casey Kammel, who was paralyzed from the neck down after fracturing a vertebra and learned to walk again, leads the workouts while Lisa films the session on her phone, cheering participants on by joining in and keeping the energy up.

Those who can afford to leave their house or have the day off show up to the Naples fountain, careful to maintain social distance.

Dr. Karen Koe, who has known Lisa for years, said she usually works out at 5 a.m., but with all the gyms closed she was a little nervous about not being able to get enough exercise. As an OB-GYN in Long Beach, Koe is one of the hundreds of medical professionals adapting to the quickly changing health industry.

“We’re still seeing patients, but not routine patients; all pregnant patients are still being seen,” Koe said. “The patients are very scared, so it’s a lot of calming fears with things we don’t know the answers to.”

Lisa said during this crisis, they’ve been forced to change their thought process, something easier said than done, but they’re open to finding new opportunities.

“Taking ideas from people in the community saying, ‘Hey, these are things that we need, what can you do to fix that need or fill that need?’ Oh yeah, we can do that.”

Join the Executive Fitness team from home, where they will host live workout sessions from their Facebook page at facebook.com/execfitness, Monday through Friday at 12 p.m. If you miss one, their videos are accessible on the Facebook page.

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Asia Morris has been with the Long Beach Post for five years, specializing in coverage of the arts. Her parents gave her the name because they wanted her to be a world traveler and they got their wish. She has obliged by pursuing art, journalism and a second career as a competitive cyclist.