What to Expect as Fitness Facilities Begin to Open
We’re all excited. Finally, we get to return to normal and begin our fitness routines once again……or do we?
Understanding and navigating the new phase
There are a few things to know and understand as we begin this new phase. Gym owners and fitness professionals want you back as much as you want to be back. We care deeply about our clients and participants. We ache to get back to doing what we love and were meant to do–it’s in our bones.
But, we as fitness professionals have a huge responsibility to get everyone back safely, and to protect and secure our businesses and families at the same time. It is going to take time to implement the structure and procedures before we open our doors. It will be a slow process for many of us, so please be patient and trust that slower re-entry is better.
Things will not be normal. The gym or studio environment will be new and different. It will take time for all of us to adjust to these changes. If you choose to look at the positives, it might make moving forward a bit easier. For example, you will have more space while you’re working out – no more crowded weight rooms or fitness classes. Equipment will be squeaky clean, and no more clutter. Smaller groups means trainers can focus on individuals more effectively. Find the silver lining – it will help.
Yes, I understand there are going to be inconveniences. You will be asked to do strange and mundane things, like wash your hands constantly, and thoroughly wipe down every surface you touch. What might frustrate you likely frustrates us as well, but we have to follow the government regulations for everyone’s benefit and protection. Remember to be kind and encouraging, even when your fitness professional, centre, or facility can’t give you the answer you want.
Supporting one another through the transition back
Be sensitive to the fitness business-owner. They likely still have all the same expenses, but not the same income they had pre-shutdown, due to capacity restrictions. While it may be an inconvenience to you, it could mean the end of some of your favourite fitness centres. For most of us in the fitness industry, we’re in it because it’s our passion and purpose. To even imagine it compromised, and possibly lost, is devastating. Just because we are able to open doesn’t mean we are out of the woods. We have a lot of work ahead of us. And we need support and understanding.
Also consider – many fitness business-owners may have found it necessary to reduce staff support, and some have none at all. They may need to do all the cleaning themselves. This means valuable time they would like to be putting toward you, the client, is now gone into daily arduous cleaning in order to keep the business open and running and, most importantly, to keep you, the participant, safe.
There will very likely be a waitlist and wait times. The new capacity restrictions and area required to maintain recommended distancing will drastically reduce how many participants we can have in our facilities at one time. Please be patient with this process. We are all creating systems to alleviate the effects of the capacity restrictions.
One of my biggest fears as a trainer is turning someone away because there is no space or time. I know what it takes to get up the courage to finally decide to take care of yourself and make that big scary step, only to be told, “No, you can’t come here”, or, “Sorry, expect a long wait for a spot”. Please understand NO trainer wants to say those words. It makes us cringe. We do what we do because we want to help as many people as we can, and provide you as many opportunities to improve your health and fitness as we can. We are being as creative and as diligent as we can be to find ways to get you back into your fitness routine. Remember, when you are not getting the answers you want, we are not turning you away. We are only telling you we can’t accommodate you at this time. Please remember: we do care, and you do matter.
Bridging the gap with virtual classes and programs
All is not lost. There are things you can do while you wait. It may mean trying something new, or pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. The fitness industry and especially those of us right here in Pincher Creek have worked at creating virtual classes and online programs that will fill the gaps. I know this is not everyone’s first choice, but what is the alternative? These types of programs are more than simply doing a workout. It’s a connection – it’s accountability. Is doing nothing a better choice?
Outdoor programs will become commonplace as well. I know this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for some it’s the best alternative. Regardless, we can see it as an opportunity rather than an obstacle. Give it a try and see if perhaps you discover it is something you enjoy.
We, as fitness professionals, are here for you. We are doing our best to provide as many options as possible to meet you in the middle. If we work together and help one another, we can create a new, improved, and effective fitness industry, with so many options.
Specific to Pincher Creek, you have more opportunities and support than most small communities. There are some incredible professionals available to you right here, locally. Karla Breeze with Shanti Hollow, Alecia Williams with WildR, Paula Szaroz with Consistent Fitness, Jenifer Meuler and Byron Jackson with Total Balance Fitness, Joe’s Gym, and many independent fitness professionals. And myself, Sheryl Baker, owner of SGB Fitbodies. We’ve been cheering each other on and supporting one another so we can better support you.
That’s what it’s all about – supporting one another. We’re here for you.
This article is the opinion and perspective of Sheryl Baker. It speaks in general terms and is not specific to any one person. Others may have a different perspective.