Around the world, businesses are starting to reopen in phases, including fitness centers and many of us, unmotivated by at-home workouts, are eager to work out at a gym again. But, as you can expect, your workout experience and how gyms will be managing their operations will be different than before the coronavirus pandemic.
In Ontario, thus far, the protocols and guidelines from the provincial government have yet to be laid out for fitness facilities, but we can look to what’s happening in cities around the world to provide a glimpse of what to
“Facilities will have to operate at most 50 percent capacity, however,some may have to operate at less to ensure each person is able to maintain the recommended four square metres of personal space,” says Jennifer Lau, co-owner of Fit Squad Training in Toronto. And as expected, there will be increased cleaning protocols as well.
Given the regular and frequent cleaning, gyms may also have to plan to shorten the length of classes so as to allow for more time spent on washing equipment. Also, some gyms will have to rethink how equipment that was formerly shared, during, for example, circuit training, can be used. “We are fortunate to have enough equipment to accommodate no sharing of weights,” says Lau.
As for your workout habits, popping into the gym when you can squeeze a workout into your day won’t be as easy as it was before. Lau says some gyms will have to consider staggered start times for clients to alleviate congestion in common areas.
Another thing you’ll likely have to wait for besides your actual workout appointment? Physical hands-on coaching. “Until social distancing measures are lifted, coaching will be at a safe distance from clients,” she says.
Sweat & Tonic, a gym in downtown Toronto, is also waiting for protocols outlined by the government but in the meantime has prepared a phased plan for welcoming back members. There, and likely at many other fitness studios, you’ll find the premises have been renovated. To start, gyms will have more hand sanitizing stations. In addition, Sweat & Tonic is also ensuring doors are no touch, setting up plexiglass dividers between equipment, and upgrading their air filtration system to one that is hospital-grade.
As keen as you are to get back to your gym, take the time to learn about their new procedures and ask questions about the safety protocols in place. Feeling safe and confident that your health isn’t at risk is the first step to getting the most out of your gym workouts in the new normal.