If you’re asking, ‘Will my gym be the same again?’ the answer is simply: No. The nature and design of gyms as we have known them are simply not suited to restricting contact or exposure to contaminated surfaces.
It’s going to take extraordinary measures on the part of gyms to limit the chances of exposure. And it will take extraordinary tenacity for gym members to flock back.
For now, gyms remain closed and will only be allowed to reopen once we reach Alert Level 1. In the meantime, here’s what we might expect when that day finally arrives.
Countries that are further down the road to recovery and reopening facilities like gyms give us a good idea of what to expect. Hygiene and social distancing will clearly be the top priority.
Spaces will have to be reconfigured to allow for this, with some suggestions to create workout spaces in which you have all the equipment you need. So rather than moving from machine to machine, you book your sessions in these contained spaces.
For a glimpse of our dystopian future, look no further than these exercise cubicles in Hong Kong.
Some fitness instructors have already made the shift to online classes during the lockdown. If this takes off, there would less motivation to return to a packed, enclosed area for group exercise classes. Some people might still prefer this, so we could see a hybrid model developing where some classes are in person and others are remote.
Retailers locally and abroad have reported a spike in the sale of home exercise equipment. This may initially have been in response to the lockdown and the need to be doing some exercise. But don’t be surprised if more people opt to exercise at home in their own, controlled environment.
Part of the recalibration of gym culture may mean home training most of the time, supplemented with selected personal sessions at a gym set up to promote distancing.