America’s Gyms Are Reopening and Your Workout Will Change

“Overall, there will be limits on class sizes,” she said, such as “only 10 per class in a class that could easily hold 30 to 40.”

Gyms might even restrict how many patrons can be in a facility at any one time, amounting to roughly 30% to 50% of actual capacity, Poppler said. At many centers that could mean a “workout reservation” system, rather than patrons dropping in spontaneously.

Gyms are also going to become “hypervigilant” when it comes to cleaning and disinfection measures, Poppler said. Maybe because of all the sweating going on, some people have the notion that gyms are somehow “dirty or germy,” she said, although gyms are “no dirtier than many other businesses.”

Still, “many wet areas like showers, steam rooms, and pools will not be able to open even when the clubs are allowed,” Poppler noted. “Also, where possible, classes, equipment and programming will be moved outside. And, of course, no high-fives after a tough workout.”

Then there’s “social distancing.” That’s being enforced in a number of ways.

Most gyms “are moving and/or unplugging equipment so that it’s all 6-feet apart, installing partitions between cardio equipment, and staggering group training classes in ways that don’t create unnecessary traffic congestion,” she said.

Courthouse Club Fitness, a small chain with locations across Salem and Keizer, Oregon, has posted detailed guidance about its reopening protocols on its website. The rules they’ve already put in place seem similar to IHRSA’s advisory.

Following regulations laid out by Oregon’s “Phase 1” business reopening plan, Courthouse is telling customers that, for now, all pools and childcare facilities are closed. Locker rooms are for restroom-use only, with showers and lockers remaining off limits. Team sports such as basketball are also not permitted, though solo practice sessions are allowed.

The gym is requiring users to maintain a 6-foot distance from one another at all times, and asks them to “thoroughly clean all equipment before and immediately after use.”