As we all know, there's a new norm once gyms begin opening around North America, but what can we expect exactly?
COVID-19 has drastically changed the world we once knew. Masks, quarantining and social distancing are all practices we adopted in our everyday life. So what do the gyms have in store for us once we return? Here are some guidelines to help you get the most efficient workout in the right amount of time.
To help manage crowds clubs will begin implementing a booking process to ensure social distancing and to prevent overcrowding. In Canada, GoodLife Fitness was the first gym to incorporate this feature. Earlier this month in a statement from the company they explained that it will "Guarantee your workout time" and "Maintain a safe club capacity." Canada's largest fitness company did say that you can workout without booking only if the club is not at capacity limits. So what does that mean for you?
Pros: Guarantees you a spot.
Cons: Due to overwhelming demand, pre-booked spots will fill up fast. Expect several weeks before the demand dies down. Workout time is limited.
All the perks that came with your membership will not be available to you when you return. This includes swimming pools, saunas, tanning, showers, and yoga mats to name a few. Some clubs are also allowing members to use a limited amount of lockers or discontinue the use altogether. L.A. Fitness has also encouraged its members to bring their own towels as an added safety measure in addition to the use of "every other" machine to minimize the risk and spread of COVID-19. They have also explored using temperature checks upon entry.
Pros: Guarantees social distancing measures are in place and minimizes the spread of COVID-19.
Cons: Members will have to bring their own items (ie; towels, mats). Locker space will be limited or non-existent. No showers.
Many of the gyms will have more sanitation stations throughout the facility. This will come in the form of increased hand sanitizing stations and disinfectant sprays to clean gym equipment. Staff cleaning will be increased throughout the day in addition to members being held accountable to wipe down equipment before and after use. Although masks are not required for members, some clubs are encouraging it. Staff will be required to wear masks during their shifts and plexiglass will be provided for their protection and for the members. Many clubs will also implement a touchless keycard feature that can be downloaded on your phone with the use of the app. Blink Fitness is one of the clubs to roll out their safety measure in preparation for reopening.
Pros: These measures will ensure that clubs are cleaning and maintaining their facilities on a regular basis. It will assist in reducing the risk of COVID-19.
Cons: Working out with a mask may not be ideal however, prepare for it by bringing a mask with you in case there's a change of policy. Also, you will have to be vigilant in wiping down machines before use. As an avid gym-goer, what I know from experience is common courtesy isn't common.
When you return to the gym expect billing issues. Being a former General Manager at a gym I can tell you from experience that sometimes the operating system is slow at updating information. If you incur billing for the past three months that the gym was closed, ask to speak to staff or the manager so it can get resolved and most importantly be patient. If there's anything I can guarantee is clubs don't intend to charge you for fees you shouldn't be paying. With no one previously allowed in the clubs, it will be several weeks before everything is in order. Also, if you had a membership that included amenities that you previously paid for, look into getting a basic membership that will suit the current climate.
Your new gym experience will be limited and out of the norm. So in order to have the most efficient workout here's what you will need to do.
Planning: If your gym is allowing online booking, make your appointment as soon as possible. You may want to get a headstart by booking weeks ahead (if allowed) for up to a month to ensure your routine goes uninterrupted. Also, try booking during non-peak hours. So that means if the gym opens at 5 am try booking when they first open or taking an early lunch and booking an 11 am appointment. Again, non of this is ideal, but it will give you an advantage under the "new norm."
Time Efficiency: Be gym ready! What I mean by that is, show up to the gym in your gym clothes with your necessary items. This will include, your water bottle, towel, and a yoga mat (if needed). If you're booked for an hour or the gym has a one hour max time, you want to be able to get in and out. You will gain more workout time by not having to change or using the shower which you can do at home.
Information: Finally, whatever club you're a member of, be sure to check their websites routinely. For all of us, this is a new adjustment and policy changes may be frequent. Be sure to also consult with staff members to stay informed. If I can guarantee anything it's that the first couple of weeks will be chaotic and you want to keep yourself informed as much as possible. Be safe and stay well everyone!