Red Zone X

Red Zone X Zones in on New Ways to Train

Story by Nancy Saunders

Based in Thunder Bay, Red Zone X offers numerous fitness and lifestyle services both in their facility and, more recently, online. When the gym was required to temporarily close its doors due to COVID-19, Red Zone X got creative. “We couldn’t do anything in-house, but we rented out all of our equipment. We paused everybody’s membership, then if they wanted to rent dumbbells or benches or barbells, we let them do that,” says Red Zone X co-owner, Matt Degiacomo.

Red Zone X launched Red 30 during the pandemic. It is an at-home subscription training program where subscribers are emailed a new, safe and effective workout each day. “The workout is done by one of our local coaches, and you have variety with the coaches. We can’t be in-person but we can keep that relationship going—it’s the next best thing. It runs six days a week, then there’s a stretch and mobility day on the seventh,” says Degiacomo. Red 30 workouts require minimal equipment and the program also includes nutritional support and accountability.

With help from the Digital Main Street grant, Red Zone X created a new landing page on its website with information about the Red 30 program. While Red 30 was paused once the gym was able to reopen, the subsequent lockdown brought it back. Degiacomo credits the time and effort they put into the website with making the transition much easier. “We launched (Red 30) again in January, and it was relatively easy because we’d already done it—there wasn’t as much figuring things out or down-time. We already had everything updated on our website,” says Degiacomo.

In addition to Red 30, Red Zone X also offers live Zoom workouts as well as online coaching using an app called Trainerize, where members use the equipment they have at home. Yet another way to access Red Zone X workouts is through Thunder Bay’s Shaw TV channel where they are aired twice a day. “People follow along at home, doing one new workout each week. If they like them and want more variety or to do the workout whenever they want, they can apply for the subscription,” explains Degiacomo.

Feedback on Red Zone X’s various virtual offerings has been overwhelmingly positive during these challenging times. “Some people have said that if we didn’t offer the at-home videos, they’d be lost. The biggest thing is accountability. People have more free time and they don’t want to do anything because motivation is low. Usually it’s inactivity that gets chosen—you’re not being forced to go to the gym just because you’re paying for a membership or you’ve got an appointment or whatever. With the Zoom workouts, they want the appointment in their day to give them the urgency to do something. If they’re left to their own, it may or may not get done,” says Degiacomo.

Participants were also motivating each other, posting photos of themselves doing the workouts and tagging Red Zone X on social media. Degiacomo says that it has been nice to see the program become interactive in this way and says that by going virtual, they have been able to target a larger audience that extends beyond Thunder Bay. Red Zone X is looking at offering virtual programs indefinitely due to the demand.