By: Kay Rivera
We all can say that this past year was not easy for many. However, even with mandated shutdowns to ensure safety amidst the pandemic, Tone House still pulled through with solutions for our Athletes while continuing to grow the business. We sat with Tone House’s COO, Elvira Yambot, to hear more.
When New York State first began shutdowns to businesses and workplaces, for many this provided large uncertainty.
It may come with no surprise that Tone House held its own and thrived through the challenge.
Tone House voluntarily closed the studio doors March 15th in lieu of social responsibility recommendations from the city.
COO, Elvira Yambot, remembers this moment, stating how the team “went through the first week watching to see what was next.”
A Virtual Tone House Experience
With the uncertainty of how long athletes would be out of the House, the day after the initial shutdown, Coaches James McMillian and Zack Daley came into the studio for a complimentary virtual workout that ended up dropping to Tone House’s Instagram and Youtube channels, providing thousands of views.
Yambot saw an immediate opportunity to monetize the digital workout experience and bring live video to Tone House’s strategy for the beginning of the pandemic.
By the end of March 2020, Tone House introduced Tone House(work), live workouts via Zoom hosted by your favorite Coaches to get those dearly missed workouts while in quarantine.
Yambot states, “that turned into an essential pivot in Phase One and took up the majority of the second quarter of 2020. It was a real quick turnaround [about a week after the studio closed], and it stemmed from observing two of our coaches hosting complimentary workouts in order to provide some level of engagement with the community.”
While House(work) provided scheduled live workouts with a Coach, another product to the brand was underway. A digital catalog of Tone House workouts for anyone in the world to view, Tone House Television (TH-TV).
Yambot speaks more into this pivot, “we had been spending a lot of time formulating the evolution of the digital offering, from a bare bones Zoom perspective to a more elevated and produced on-demand perspective. James had a background in video production and editing for larger brands, and it was around April, when time was moving at a snail’s pace. There was this thought process of how to keep busy and to elevate with what we were currently doing on Zoom. It began as, ‘Let’s take our team, we have a skill set on the fitness programming side, and we have our behind the camera skill set, as well as the talent. We should at least dabble into it’.”
Within a month of shooting, on May 11th, Tone House Television had their soft-launch debut. And a year later, today, Tone House has continued to push this agenda forward, with over 300 pieces of content in their on demand subscription catalog, with multiple specialty series available.
Yambot states how Tone House Television had the team, “collaborating in a way of taking something that was on the high-level to-do list as a company and fast-forwarding it five to eight years earlier. And now it’s an ancillary service that allows us to reach a larger audience outside of those who have taken our in-studio workout.”
Fast forward a few weeks to the summer of 2020, where guidelines permitted no larger than 50 people to an outdoor gathering which would allow for outdoor fitness to occur. Tone House’s Outdoor Conditioning sessions were announced beginning July 6th.
Regarding Outdoor Conditioning, Yambot enthusiastically articulates, “it was amazing because it allowed us to understand and realize that our Conditioning programming is easily designed and manipulated to be brought outdoors (since traditional team sports training usually takes place outside as well).”
She adds, “This proved to be a successful Phase Two pivot,” as the ease of transfer of Conditioning to the outdoor Turf, while also making it more accessible than the daunting ambience of red lights and anxiety-inducing music in-house training provides. Yambot notes that Outdoor Conditioning brought in “over 500 new athletes” to the House’s training regimen over the course of six months. In comparison to other fitness brands who may be unable to easily transfer their modality outdoors, Yambot praises Tone House’s ability to successfully bring fitness outdoors without having to make major adjustments to the program.
You can read more about Outdoor Conditioning through our Founder and Director of Training, Alonzo Wilson, here.
The final product that was introduced to Tone House’s portfolio was the debut of Strength, the final puzzle piece of the 360-approach to athletic training.
Announced in September of 2020, Strength allows athletes to lift like their favorite athlete through weightlifting programs derived from collegiate and professional athletic team training. Strength’s first appearance was shared on Tone House Television, featuring on-demand Strength based workouts to subscribers.
Phase Three arrived by the end of Summer 2020, which allowed gyms to re-open. In September 2020, Strength sessions opened up the studio doors to well missed athletes to lift in semi-private sessions that allowed for six foot social distance.
At the time, Strength sessions took place in-studio while Outdoor Conditioning was running at East River Park. This provided insight, in a “bare bones fashion,” Yambot states, “seeing how two formats could run simultaneously in a studio space that allows for it.”
Of course, none of these product launches would have been deemed successful without the support of our Athletes.
“Community is everything at Tone House,” Yambot affirms, “it adds that energy that is palpable and is hard to replicate, and when you combine that with all the other ingredients of Tone House; the programming, the workout experience, the way the team treats you, the endorphins; the obvious direct byproduct is the physical changes and the mental changes that you experience through fitness. You are paying it forward to the community in ways that [other athletes] will hopefully pay it forward as well.”
Yambot presents, “the best kind of referral is from our community. If [athletes] can speak on it in a manner that generates their friends to come in, you start to learn about the athletic mindset through Tone House.”
All in all, as we approach the tail end of pandemic restrictions, this year has proved a lot to the Team. As Yambot puts, “a silver lining, we found out that many of our products and ideas are going to prove fruitful and impactful to the future while still being able to stay true to Tone House.”
Huge thank you to our Tone House Athletes and Team for getting us through this past year!