Gyms are now better than before: anti-Covid measures

Some gyms reopened as soon as the green light was given, in June; others took advantage of the summer break to reorganize; all with the same goal: to be ready, in September, for the “real” post-lockdown return.

This year, in particular, renew your gym membership will have a different meaning, between the desire for normality and the desire for security. We have seen this in the large fitness centers which, favored by the large spaces, immediately applied the rules of hygiene and social distancing and registered, since the reopening, a good influx of presences.

But even in small studios that focus more on personalized training: «We don’t just promote usual one to one cards with our trainers at affordable prices, but we have transformed group courses into lessons for a maximum of 4-5 participants. To comply with the provisions but also to satisfy the request for attention to the person, very widespread at this time; which also means particular care in cleaning spaces and equipment », explains Chiara Petterlini, personal coach and co-owner of the Sevenfit gym, in Pioltello (MI).

A sign of the need, for many, of go back to being active in a social context, however limited. The appointment with the gym is essential for those who are stimulated by a fixed commitment, do not intend to give up the lesson of their favorite trainer, want to sweat on spinning or aim to improve their performance on the treadmill.

The trend is increasingly virtual

This phase 3, in the training room or between the balances, however, must deal with the boom in online training during the lockdown: Italians experimented with a different way to keep fit; connected from home, between the sofa and the bookcase, they toned up biceps & Co. with “for free” workouts offered by social networks and digital platforms, many offered by the gyms closed for quarantine.

A trend that is revolutionizing the world of fitness, because the demand for web training continueson the part of those who are still afraid of going to closed spaces or have simply appreciated the convenience and convenience in terms of costs.

Fitness will be increasingly multichannel, as Paolo Evangelista, professor of physical education at the University of Turin, underlines: «A way also to involve many more people, not only the sportsman or the habitué of three hours of training a week; if anything, all those who have started or resumed movement because they are in the “comfort zone” of their own home and who now ask to continue with the lessons on social networks or personalized, via zoom or whatsapp ».

To understand what awaits us, starting with the anti Covid provisions, we turned to our best experts.

The courses will be limited

Everything starts from the need for respect the distance of 1-2 meters, in the common areas, in the training rooms, in the weight area as well as in the changing rooms. «To avoid crowds, the entrance to the club and all the activities will be by appointment onlyconveniently managed through an app to book day and time », explains Ilario Volpe, training experience director of Virgin Active.

So forget the last minute “I’ll jump for the step lesson and then relax in the sauna”. Meanwhile the relaxation areas, sauna and turkish bath are closedmoreover, entrances to the photo finish are no longer allowed already with sneakers: gym shoes must be worn on site.

“Naturally all with masks, except during training. We count on people’s sense of responsibility, even in the locker room », continues the Virgin Active top manager.

True, it takes a little organization effort, but bear in mind that the courses will be less crowded and you will no longer have to worry about arriving in time to place the step wherever you want. In addition, the trainer will be able to follow you better, customizing the exercises on the class even more.

Great attention to hygiene

Safety is the big issue that has already emerged in recent weeks, because those who return to the gym do not want to take risks. And there is some fear. Possible to measure the temperature at the entrance, guaranteed dispensers with sanitizer available to sanitize the hands but also to contribute to the cleaning of tools: in many centers, in fact, the room trainer invites you to disinfect those used. As well as for the locker, where the hangers and have disappeared all gear change clothes must be placed in the bag.

In presence, on the web or outdoors

Even if gyms are gearing up to extend hours and recover space for activities, especially group activities, they are required to comply with the provisions for sanitation of environments, therefore the rooms will no longer be occupied continuously. The planning can therefore be reduced, to which is added a lower “capacity”, in terms of participation in courses and entry to the weight room.

And then what? «Those who cannot book the gag class will be able to work in live streaming. The ability of the trainer will be precisely that of customize the lesson, to also involve people connected from home. In fact, it is essential to create a sense of belonging to the community, even if it is virtual. Because starting to train is easy, the difficult thing is to continue », underlines Paolo Evangelista, professor in Turin.

Then there is the alternative of open spaces: «Many centers with outdoor areas have started offering outdoor classes and will continue as long as the weather permits. Many do it in the park: not improvised groups, but formed and guided by the trainer, by appointment », continues the expert.

More activities on site

In small numbers but you can do more or less everythingfrom spinning to step courses, from Trx to Crossfit, but with some variations.

As Ilario Volpe of Virgin Active explains: «We have remodeled some trainings, varying the sequence of exercises, repetitions and recoveries, to privilege work on site without reducing intensity and results. In courses such as Cross Active or The Grid, for example, everyone works in their own station or square and with their tools; in this way a training “comfort zone” is created, where people feel safe. Among other things, we have seen one increasing participation in body-mind, yoga and Pilates courses. Also on the male side. Of course, in these disciplines distancing is easier, but it’s not just for that. I think it depends on the need, in this destabilizing period, to regain mental equilibrium also thanks to movement ».

Easier to apply the rule in the weight room, where the influx is monitored according to the tools available. «Furthermore, the trainers in the room, equipped with masks, monitor compliance with the provisions. By relying on people’s sense of responsibility, it is also possible to train in circuit on machines. The training is structured in such a way that whoever uses the space will find the tool sanitized», Underlines the director of courses Virgin.

The offers in the field

After the boom in web fitness, experienced during the lockdown, many centers have adapted by expanding and focusing on the offer of digital services. «This trend will continue with packages they propose, including in the subscription to attend i “face-to-face” courses, even bookings via the app; live streaming lessons and one-to-one online coaching, with personalized cards and virtual meetings, once a week or every fortnight to discuss the results “, underlines Evangelista.

“Prices? Most likely they will be in line with those of last year or with a slight increase but, in addition to the guarantee of professionalism, you will have the opportunity to train more, for example when you can’t go to the gym, on the weekend or if you are out of town ” .

Among the first to ride the virtual wave, the Virgin Active brand with the proposal of Revolution, digital training took off during the lockdown with 12 million views. «The app offers 8 different types of classes, with 100 new contents per week and an archive of 500 pre-loaded classes. Not only that: the proposed workouts are designed according to the needs of those who train at home and the trainers are prepared to interact from a distance. For example, all the classes are modulated in three levels: beginner, intermediate and advance and each exercise is offered in a basic or advanced version », Ilario Volpe underlines.

“Now then there is something new: it is possible to subscribe only to the Revolution digital channel, without necessarily paying the subscription to the club as well”.


Article published on n. 21 of TipsForWomens on newsstands in August 2020

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