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Mom creates online fitness group with thousands of followers in wake of pandemic

One Knoxville mom is helping others online get fit and live healthier lives.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The pandemic shut down the daily lives of many, including gyms and impacting health in a huge way.

However, one mom saw this as an opportunity to help others in need of an outlet to stay on track.

In her garage in South Knox, Brooke Pancratz records her latest workouts to be shared with others on an online fitness platform.

More than 2,000 people follow her program, but a year ago, this thriving community was just an idea that got a kickstart from the pandemic.

"I had taught group fitness for under a decade. Like lots of people, I loved being in the gym. That was my community and COVID hits," said Pancratz. "Gyms shut down. You are kind of asked to stay home. These people had leaned on to me for years for fitness, and I got my fitness in the form of teaching them. Then we didn't have it."

A friend urged Pancratz to post her workouts online when she wasn't able to go to the gym. From there, the online workouts became a surprise hit.

"It's one of those things that blows up the next morning. Hundreds of replies, people saying, 'yes I'm desperate for something to do,'" said Pancratz.

Followers of Pancratz's online workout routines say it is her authentic presence that helps connect her with hundreds who want to stay healthy while balancing life.

It's not unusual to see Pancratz warn her kids to not fight while doing her workout, or see her dog wander into the shot. However, this is exactly what makes others relate to Pancratz's work.

"People said the reason this group is so great is it feels like my life," said Pancratz.

A year later, the business continues to boom along with friendships that Pancratz's community has formed online. Both women locally and virtually have been impacted through her workouts. 

Pancratz's goal is to continue to help change people's lifestyles for the better and get on a better path of nutrition and fitness.

You can find out more by visiting her website or her Instagram @thefitknox 

She is also hosting a group fitness gathering on Saturday, Aug. 21 at Dick’s House of Sports. You can find out more here.