Fitness studio proves flexible, transitioning to web-based wellness amid COVID crisis

Dorian Madreperla is the latest New Jersey entrepreneur to transition to the world of online to help evolve her business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Madreperla founded and operates Sphericality, a boutique lifestyle and fitness studio offering proprietary wellness solutions for women in downtown Flemington.

Madreperla’s computer setup for streaming and editing her classes.

Recently, due to the statewide lockdown, Madreperla has had to quickly realign her business and dive into the online world. Although she founded the Limitless Lifestyle Fitness Academy in 2019, which was her first step towards transitioning to online courses, the pandemic accelerated her plans.

Madreperla, in an exclusive interview with ROI-NJ, detailed her speedy transition to giving online courses.

“I needed to make sure that my women who worked so hard to take care of themselves (can continue) to lose weight and to get healthier and live better,” Madreperla said. “We needed to somehow translate not just exercise, because that’s not the thing that’s really important.”

What was important to Madreperla was the sense of family and community that Sphericality provided to its members. She wanted her online courses and livestreams to reflect those core values, including exercise, nutrition, stress management, community, mindset and understanding your body.

Madreperla utilizes Zoom for her online courses, live streaming her classes to members and editing them afterwards to upload later. She is even inviting guest speakers into her livestreams to talk to members.

According to Madreperla, the virtual classes have been massively successful.

“It’s been wild. It’s been really incredible,” she said. “We’re getting new people to sign up every single day. People are coming on that are telling me, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is so great.’”

A student works out at home, using her computer to view the class.

She provides access to her streams for only $1 a month. She originally wanted to provide them free of charge, but noted that the streaming service charges a fee for large groups.

She also didn’t have much difficulty transitioning her course to the online format, either, since most of the exercises she teaches are bodyweight exercises.

“We just tell our clients, ‘If you want to use weights, use them, if not, don’t,’” she said. “The only thing that’s really different is that we have a ballet barre on the wall, to do a lot of our exercises and a lot of our classes … but we’ve just adjusted and started telling people just use the back of the chair or countertop.”

A benefit of these online courses, she mentioned, is the ability to have many more people in one class. She mentioned how she’s had 60 people in one class at a time, as opposed to 20 in her Flemington studio.

The technical side wasn’t bad, either, she said, praising her tech consultants on her easy move to a virtual space.

Her success comes from the many women who Madreperla describes as being empowered by her courses, saying: “A lot of women are very afraid to start working out. … They’re afraid, they’re intimidated. So, a lot of the women that are coming to us are so happy, because now they found a platform that they felt comfortable starting.”

For Madreperla, that is ultimately what is most important about these online courses; that the women that she gives her services can build their confidence and improve their lifestyle at the same time.

Madreperla intends to continue these courses after the pandemic dies down: “It’s going to continue in a big way.”

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