Pod systems, temperature checks and no more 'drop-ins'.
By this point of the pandemic, we've gotten accustomed to many of the fallouts from COVID-19. Working from home feels so normal now that we can't really comprehend ever having to commute again, spending Saturday nights anywhere but on the couch seems like alien thought and we've kind of lost touch with the etiquette of dressing oneself for life beyond the four walls of our homes.
Two aspects of quarantine-living, we've refused to just lie down and accept though; not being able to see our hairdressers and not having access to our favourite gyms or workout studios. For me, the gym was my happy place - where I’d go to challenge my muscles and calm my mind, and when 'Rona came and took that away, my reliance on it for sanity became all the more apparent. I've given the working out from home thing a good go, but getting a sweat on in one's own living room, just doesn't cut it, and in all honesty, still feels a little gross.
Gyms Set To Reopen
On Friday, the Government announced that COVID-19 restrictions are being rolled back for more businesses and it seems as though gyms have the green light to reopen on Monday, 29 June.
However, as social distancing and hygiene will remain major issues for the foreseeable future, it's likely the gym experience we came to love will be drastically different once their doors do reopen.
We spoke to a couple of our favourite workout spaces to find out more about the measures that are being taken in preparation for reopening, as well as what they think our sweat sessions will look like in the new normal.
Flying through the studio door with just minutes before class kicks off won’t be doable in a post-lockdown world. We'll need to factor in earlier arrival times.
“To allow for social distanced check-in and queueing, we will be asking for clients to be mindful of allowing more time to arrive at our studios ahead of their class to ensure they have enough time to check-in safely and efficiently,” says Annie Kirwan, co-founder of yoga and pilates studio, Reformation.
Other studios will be implementing staggered, self check-ins where possible to minimise interaction with staff. Temperature checks via touchless infrared thermometers on arrival set to be more commonplace too.
Come Ready To Go
While it's not yet set in stone across the board, many gyms will be closing changing rooms and showers, for the time being, to encourage social distancing and reduce the amount of time clients spend in the facility.
This will obviously mean that, where possible, it will be best to come ready to work out and wash at home after a session. Lockers could prove problematic as they're difficult to ensure they stay COVID-19 clean, so it's advised to avoid bringing valuables to classes.
Classes and Timetables Will Change
If you've memorised your gym class schedule better than you know the train timetable, you might need to do some more studying. To allow time for cleaning the studio space, classes are likely to be more spread out with extra time in between each session to allow the studio to fully empty.
"To have absolute control of the number of people present at any one time, we're limiting the class size to between 9 or 18 members depending on the square footage of the studio. There will be a minimum 15-minute break between any classes to allow all members to leave and the equipment to be properly sanitised before the next class," adds Brendan Spratt, owner of circuit-style class F45.
Changes in class style are also in store for loyal F45 fanatics. With locations in Bray, Sandyford, Blackrock and across the city centre, new F45 classes have been designed to comply with strict reopening guidelines. Members will be assigned to a fixed station for the entire workout to eliminate person-to-person contact and sharing of equipment.
Equipment will be spread out
We've always been fans of giving people plenty of breathing room in the gym and thankfully, that's something that isn't about to change. In fact, having someone breathing down your neck when you’re trying to lift won't be a worry post-Corona.
“During coaching sessions, our equipment will be generously spaced out and trainers will ensure each client understands the requirement to stay within their designated pod or workout space," says John Belton, owner of No.17 Personal Training.
"Trainers will utilise a fixed location for the duration of the workout too."
Bringing your own yoga mats will be encouraged
The sharing of props will no longer be on the agenda. "Props will be limited to mats and foam blocks and ideally, we'll ask clients to bring their own," say the team at Reformation. "All mats and blocks will be sanitised before and after each class."