In February of 2020, D1 Training, a growing brand that prides itself on bringing a Division-1 training experience to the public among many other things, opened their San Antonio location. A month later, the COVID-19 pandemic forced their new facility, like many other gyms and businesses across the country, to close down. The pandemic forced D1 to adapt, and they have succeeded in doing so.
D1’s San Antonio location had roughly 30 clients in February. Following the initial wave of the pandemic, the number dropped down to 19. After overcoming a considerable closing period, they have managed to fully and safely reopen, now helping over 100 clients reach their various athletic goals.
The training facility features a central weight room with quality squat racks, various weights and other equipment. The gym itself leads to an indoor field, which gives athletes plenty of space to train for their various sports as well as enough space for social distancing measures to be followed. All along the walls to the gym are words such as “discipline,” “dedication” and “perseverance”; they’re meant to accompany D1’s motto: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
When D1 was forced to shut down, they made it a point to keep in close contact with their athletes through various online resources.
“We have what we call our loyal snap: It’s our communication platform with our members. We want to make sure we keep in contact with our athletes regularly,” Jimmy McDonald, the assistant manager at the San Antonio location, said. “We also have D1-to-you; we’re able to do virtual training as well. It’s been a great program to be able to have during this time. It was formed during COVID by our corporate headquarters, and so we were able to keep in contact in that way as well.”
McDonald also mentioned that D1 was able to send their clients specific workouts as a way to keep them in shape until the facility was able to open again.
After D1 reopened, the gym took several steps to make sure that all equipment remained clean and ready for safe use by their athletes.
“We make sure that every piece of equipment is clean from every use,” McDonald said. “We have athletes wiping down equipment in between sets if they’re changing out; we provide the cleaning materials that they need to do that. We try to do the best job that we can from a cleaning perspective of keeping the facility clean.”
D1 is unlike many gyms; its trainers and staff prioritize creating an atmosphere that promotes teamwork and strong bonds with their customers. McDonald credits their significant growth post-COVID to this trait.
“It starts with building a family atmosphere,” McDonald said. “We just want to be a community that lifts people up and helps them reach their goals. I think that people are going to come into D1 and they’re going to feel like they’re in an environment where people care about them and people genuinely want the best for them.”
McDonald talked about some of their customers, mentioning specifically how kids who had been mostly inactive during quarantine have used D1 to get back in shape. He went on to say that, in some cases, even the parents would become motivated to work on their fitness through D1. The way D1 is able to reach entire families and motivate them to work on themselves in a positive way seems to be an indicator of their success at creating the feeling of community and family through the training they provide.
In order to help clients reach their various goals, D1 has recruited and hired an incredibly talented group of coaches. McDonald went through their staff, highlighting their talents and accomplishments. The group is filled with high-level college players from soccer to football and beyond and even features professional players from the NFL such as quarterback Dustin Vaughan and offensive lineman Louis Vasquez. Vaughan played for the Cowboys, Bills, Steelers, and Ravens, while Vasquez played for the Chargers and Broncos. These coaches are tasked with helping all kinds of customers, from D1’s scholastic level, which features athletes as young as 7, to adults and pros looking to perfect their skills.
D1 was put in an impossible-to-predict scenario mere weeks after opening. They have preserved and succeeded in attracting a diverse set of clients to their program despite the limitations caused by the pandemic. McDonald and the rest of the D1 staff are hopeful about the future; they expect the summer of 2021 to be especially positive as the world starts to return to some level of normalcy and athletes begin to prepare themselves for the new school year.