A year ago, business owner Liz Kamp made the decision to shut down her cycling, bodybuilding and fitness studio. New trail.
New Trail, located at Lac Anne in Reston, was thriving after it opened in November 2018. The clientele was growing, nine employees had been hired and Kamp, 36, mother of three, was proud of the community she had. built. There was even talk of opening a second studio.
Everything changed on March 14 of last year.
“We had a St. Paddy’s [cycling] event and I had a million safety precautions in place that I felt pretty good about, ”Kamp says. “Then we got it and I felt like I didn’t have total control over it.”
Immediately after this event, she made a very difficult decision.
Seeing people getting too close to each other after class and realizing that there was little she could do to spread COVID-19 by taking precautions, she shut down New Trail.
“It was too stressful and too risky,” she says. “It was my social responsibility to shut it down. “
Exactly one year later, on March 14, 2021, Kamp reopens his studio and allows people to exercise indoors for the first time.
Classes will remain very limited, with only six people at a time inside and spread over at least 10 feet. The doors will remain open for fresh air, a new HVAC system will operate, and masks are required.
Participants can also exercise outdoors for those who are not yet comfortable being indoors.
But it’s a throwback to something that feels like normal for the fitness studio and for Kamp’s ambitions. She hopes to create a space for those like her looking for a good workout.
Kamp has been a fitness instructor for most of her career, including a stint as a fitness specialist for the Herndon Parks and Recreation Department.
Then, in 2009, she moved to Reston and a short walk from Lake Anne.
“It was sort of an underutilized space at the time,” Kamp says of Lake Anne.
It took almost a decade – she’s a mother of three – but Kamp has finally made her dream come true – opening of a new path in a part of the space that was once the Lac Anne pharmacy (which closed in 2014).
“Such a deep part of my mission is to create the space where it is a meeting place,” she says. “You are not anonymous. They know me. I know them. The attraction of this small town was strong for me.
Her goal was also to create a studio for people like her.
“I think a lot of times when people see what we call boutique studios it’s 20-year-old models teaching and that makes people feel intimidated,” she says. “I wanted to take all of that out of the game and focus on creating a real community where the focus isn’t on how we look, but on exercise and movement for well-being. Mind, body and soul.
Everything was going very well until March 2020. In the past year she received a Payment Protection Program ready while moving towards outdoor (summer) and virtual classes, but admits it was not the same.
“Our value in the market is the in-person experience, so when you take it out, it’s just different and it takes away our uniqueness,” she says.
The competition with the Platoons of the World was also very difficult as they can provide top notch production at a lower cost.
“It was sometimes defeated… I was like ‘how can I compete?’ Kamp says.
But this return to the interior and, perhaps, normality gives him hope. She misses seeing her clients and thinks people will come back in droves.
“Places like New Trail are going to mean a lot more to people now,” she says. “We missed that human connection.”
As for this second studio, she remains optimistic about it but is waiting to see what 2021 and beyond – will bring.
“We will continue to advance our mission,” Kamp said.
Photo courtesy of New Trail / Kim Chevez Photography