Being that I am a personal trainer and someone who has surrounded themselves and made fitness the forefront of their life. I felt intrigued to write about a very relevant topic. "What are gym's going to do post COVID-19"?
This is a very hot topic right now. As some states start to re-open and gyms being on the list of things set to open in Phase-1. It has left some people on edge and uncertain about what the gyms they are members at will to do post COVID-19.
If you have not heard news about gyms closing permanently, perhaps this is new to you but a prominent gym in the fitness industry for many years. Golds Gym has closed their doors in 30 locations. If you think Golds Gym is going to be the only one's affected you are mistaken. A franchise gym company like that, not having enough capital to back gyms for 1-2 months just shows what could happen to small, privately owned, mom and pop gyms if this continues on any longer.
Either way when this is all said and done and we do return back to the gym, I think we can all agree that the word "normal" will be redefined in many locations like the gym. Yet another lingering question that I had was "are people going to be hesitant to return to gyms?"
I decided to shoot the question to my Instagram followers and received a sigh of relief. Which was 48 votes for no they would not be hesitant to return to the gym and 20 saying yes they would be hesitant. This is a small population I surveyed but still it holds some weight on where people's heads are at. Some people did chime in and say they would perhaps wait a week or two then return. And some other people chimed in saying they would just be more cautious, wiping down equipment before using equipment/weights and after and be conscious of their distance to others.
What definitely surprised was the next question I asked which was "if you were asked to wear a face mask to the gym would you?" and this is where the voting went the other direction. 45 votes said they would wear a mask and 22 said they would not.
To me logically a mask makes no sense at the gym, if you are working hard and breathing heavy, good luck not passing out if you are wearing a mask. Therefore I hope gyms have medical staff on call at all times if this is a requirement for gyms.
Then there is the other side of spectrum the people who have probably been so sick of all these gyms closing, waiting to see when they can go back, uncertain about other people coughing on them at the gym, etc and have just built their own home gym. A place they know is clean, COVID free and can control who comes in and out of their own gym.
If you are big box gym and or a member of a big box gym. Just know that every hour will be closely tracked with how many people are going to be allowed in the gym. So if perhaps the gym's capacity at the hour is normally 150 people that will have to be cut down to 75 people and if you are the 76th person you'll more than likely have to wait for someone to leave and or wait until the next hour begins. You will literally have to wipe down every thing that you touch, you will have to be conscious of personal space when waiting for equipment. You may have to wear a mask even. Things will not be normal for about 4-5 months after this as well. Group classes will be cut down in size, they will more than likely be moved to bigger rooms with higher ceilings and or even outside. Therefore if the weather is showing rain and or if it rains mid-class you paid for the session so oh well.
I do not want to be pessimistic or turn people off but come to grips with the reality when things go back to normal. Accept the new normal. Think about how you will be able to handle this and make a decision on what you want to do moving forward.
I think we all have to understand right now that big franchise gyms are run by corporate leaders and people with fancy suits and ties, they are going to crack down on some things big time, therefore if you are a member of a Crunch gym, Orange theory, LA Fitness, etc that is a franchise and owned by corporate just know you are in for a different gym atmosphere/layout. And when I say layout, I mean those franchise, corporate gyms will probably be reducing gym equipment, spreading it out more, instead of 30 treadmills there may be 15, etc. I do not know this for certain but it seems this is what would is realistic due to CDC/government guidelines. If you are a member at a privately owned, small, mom and pop gym, reach out to your owner and express concerns and how they plan to address them. Those gyms are in much better shape as they typically have less members, small class sizes, less people in the gym and not as much equipment, packed up tight against one another.
Support local businesses, be safe, be smart and continue to stay positive!