In-person fitness classes were forced to go virtual at the beginning of the pandemic, but now, the reverse is happening: an online workout platform is opening a brick and mortar studio. Fitness start-up Moxie’s first in-person location opens today in Bethesda, offering a buffet of boutique workout classes available attend at the studio (or stream at home).
The virtual fitness club was founded in October 2020—it was born in and created for the pandemic. As with other workout apps like Peleton, classes can be streamed live at any time, in any place. However, instead of having a set of coaches that are tied to the company, Moxie’s roster includes more than 2,000 freelance fitness instructors with different specialities such as boxing, kettlebells, and more.
Among them is Jenn Blackburn, who is running the Bethesda studio. The former manager at Bethesda gym Equinox pivoted to the nascent world of virtual workouts when the pandemic hit. (“Fifteen months ago I was doing YouTube tutorials about how to fill a book bag and use it as a weight,” says Blackburn.) She later joined Moxie in December, which lets teachers see class members when they stream live classes. They can then correct form in real time and message users within the app.
The Moxie Bethesda team features instructors who, like Blackburn, once worked at area gyms like Orange Theory, Flow Yoga Center, and Next Phase Fitness. Members can sample a variety of exercise classes—such as tabata, running, strength-training, and yoga—under a single subscription. In addition to teaching more than 40 classes per week, instructors will also offer personal training sessions.
“It goes back to inclusivity—what do you really want? What are you paying for?” says Blackburn. “Even though people were super-excited to run back to the gym, now they’re kind of realizing, ‘oh, I can actually create this better balance with my fitness regimen.”
Whether members attend classes in-person or stay virtual means the space must be flexible as the pandemic ebbs and flows. Although Covid vaccines are now widely available, the proliferation of the Delta variant and return of indoor mask mandates in Montgomery County is a reminder that we are still in the midst of a pandemic.
Moxie members can opt for different monthly subscription models based on their level of comfort: in-person only ($120 for ten classes), virtual only ($80 for ten classes; $99 for unlimited classes), or a hybrid of both ($189). Some of the classes are offered outdoors for members who want to participate in group fitness, but aren’t ready for indoor exercise.
Attendees are required to show proof of vaccination and masks are optional—private businesses can set their own policies in Montgomery County. Currently, classes are open to a maximum of 20 people for social distancing purposes.
Moxie Bethesda. 7610 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda.