Lifestyle: More stuff about gyms

Gyms are starting to reopen — here’s a look at what it’s like to work out during the pandemic

Lifestyle: Looking to the future of gyms.
Co-owner Chad Cole tapes down 7-by-7-foot social distancing boxes as preparations are made to open for business at CrossFit Apollo, which has been closed since March 17 due to the statewide shutdown because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on May 28, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

  • As gyms begin to reopen after lockdowns around the world, additional precautions have been implemented to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
  • Many places have spaced out gym equipment and limited how many people can be present in fitness classes.
  • Others are enforcing stricter hygiene from both staff and clients.
  • Here’s what it looks like to work out right now.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Depending on where you live, you might be seeing local gyms reopen or prepare to do so in the near future. In some places, like Sweden, gyms never actually closed.

But working out during and after the pandemic looks a little different. Many fitness facilities have already created new rules and gym setups to keep staff and clients safe during workouts.

From stricter hygiene measures to limited group classes, here’s what you can expect to see when you go back to the gym, based on how people are working out now.

Some fitness classes are moving outside to allow for social distancing.

Jacob Morden leads a fitness class on a closed street in downtown Indianapolis, Friday, May 22, 2020.
Jacob Morden leads a fitness class on a closed street in downtown Indianapolis, Friday, May 22, 2020.

Michael Conroy/AP Photo

Research suggests that group fitness classes, with many people sweating in a small space, might be especially risky for spreading disease.

As such, some gyms are bringing classes with big groups outdoors, since the open space better allows for social distancing.

 

Fitness classes that are held indoors have limited the number of participants and designated workout areas.

Employee of CITYROW Atlanta Midtown, Ellie Klarl, center, works out as gyms reopen with limited members on Saturday, May 16, 2020.
Employee of CITYROW Atlanta Midtown, Ellie Klarl, center, works out as gyms reopen with limited members on Saturday, May 16, 2020.

Brynn Anderson/AP Photo

For fitness classes that are continuing indoors, gyms are limiting the number of participants and requiring people to sign up in advance.

Many gyms have also designated areas for each participant, with lines of tape or chalk on the ground, to maintain distance throughout the workout even in a smaller studio space.

 

Gyms have modified schedules to allow extra time to deep clean equipment and facilities.

Terry Sullivan, general manager of Fondren Fitness, a Jackson, Miss., fitness center, sanitizes a glutes workout machine, May 14, 2020.
Terry Sullivan, general manager of Fondren Fitness, a Jackson, Miss., fitness center, sanitizes a glutes workout machine, May 14, 2020.

Rogelio V. Solis/AP Photo

Prior to re-opening, gyms have revamped their hygiene protocols and reduced hours to allow for more time to clean and sanitize the facilities.

 

 

 

National chain Life Time, for example, has a 400-page document outlining a strict cleaning routine for staff and management,

Jason Nichols, facilities operation manager, disinfects equipment at the Life Time Biltmore as it opens for business after being closed due to the coronavirus Monday, May 18, 2020, in Phoenix.
Jason Nichols, facilities operation manager, disinfects equipment at the Life Time Biltmore as it opens for business after being closed due to the coronavirus Monday, May 18, 2020, in Phoenix.

Ross D. Franklin/AP Photo

The protocol prioritizes high-touch surfaces like exercise machines, weights, railings, and lockers.

Gyms have spaced or even shut down some equipment stations so people can work out at a safe distance.

This Swedish gym has closed every other cardio machine so gym goers can keep their distancing while exercising.
This Swedish gym has closed every other cardio machine so gym goers can keep their distancing while exercising.

Filip Stojanovski

To maintain social distancing throughout workout areas, gyms have cordoned off or unplugged some cardio machines like treadmills. This helps gym goers keep their distance.

Depending on the size of the gym, this is also the case for other equipment, like strength machines and weights.

Gym hygiene is more important than ever.

Michelle Crothers sprays disinfectant on a medicine ball after working out at CrossFit Apollo, which opened for the first time since closing on March 17 because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on May 29, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Although gym hygiene has always been important, sanitizing equipment before and after use is now mandatory in many fitness facilities.

 

 

Gymgoers may even be assigned their own spray bottle to encourage frequent sanitation of equipment.

Co-owner Monica Cole fills spray bottles with disinfectant as she gets ready to open for business at CrossFit Apollo, which has been closed since March 17
Co-owner Monica Cole fills spray bottles with disinfectant as she gets ready to open for business at CrossFit Apollo, which has been closed since March 17

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Cleaning wipes, spray bottles, and hand sanitizer, distributed throughout workout areas, have become a regular feature as gyms have re-opened to the public.

In this CrossFit class, each member is given a spray bottle to wipe down their equipment after use.

Gym staff and clients are undergoing temperature checks as they enter some facilities.

Paul Pitney, right, Executive Director of the Dickson County Family YMCA, takes the temperature of Eric Thornton as Thornton arrives at the facility to work out Friday, May 1, 2020, in Dickson, Tenn.
Paul Pitney, right, Executive Director of the Dickson County Family YMCA, takes the temperature of Eric Thornton as Thornton arrives at the facility to work out Friday, May 1, 2020, in Dickson, Tenn.

Mark Humphrey/AP Photos

High fever is a common symptom of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

In France, gyms are allowed to reopen only in “green zones” where there is less circulation of the virus.

Coach and manager of "Body Staff Gym" fitness centre Mabchour Mourad tests a machine on June 1, 2020, in Artigues-pres-Bordeaux, southwestern France, on the eve of the reopening of the gym
Coach and manager of “Body Staff Gym” fitness centre Mabchour Mourad tests a machine on June 1, 2020, in Artigues-pres-Bordeaux, southwestern France, on the eve of the reopening of the gym

Mehdi Fedouach/Getty Images

France has allowed a partial reopen of gyms in some areas starting June 2, according to France 24, but gym-goers are still required to wear masks and maintain distance at the gym.

Gyms that were previously ordered to close have reopened outside.

Sean Manovill, owner of Club Fitness of Vermont, poses with exercise equipment he moved outside so the Rutland, Vt., gym could reopen on May 19, 2020
Sean Manovill, owner of Club Fitness of Vermont, poses with exercise equipment he moved outside so the Rutland, Vt., gym could reopen on May 19, 2020

Lisa Rathke/AP Photo

A Vermont gym owner moved his operation outside after a judge ruled he could no longer operate his indoor facility, the Burlington Free Press reported.

In some areas, gyms are subject to scrutiny by regulators to make sure they’re following hygiene precautions.

People exercise at Mi Fitness after the reopening of some of Beijing's gyms in Beijing, China, May 8, 2020
People exercise at Mi Fitness after the reopening of some of Beijing’s gyms in Beijing, China, May 8, 2020

Thomas Peter/Reuters

For example, in Beijing, where gyms reopened last months after three months of lockdowns, everyone who enters the gym is required to have their temperature checked at the door, reported Martin Quin Pollard of Reuters.

They must also wear a mask and maintain a distance of six feet from others whenever possible.

The gyms are subject to spot-checks three times a day from regulators to make sure the rules are being followed and that the facility is cleaned thoroughly.

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