Gyms, Fitness Centers Step Closer to an Opening Day
Isolation and quarantine have put some of us in a position where we’ve packed on a few extra pounds. Gyms and fitness centers aren’t able to open quite yet, but they’re certainly getting ready for you.
Andy Page is the President and CEO of the Grand Traverse Bay YMCA. He says, “We’re anxious to turn the page and get this thing going.”
When gyms closed their doors in mid-March, many expected it would only be for a couple of weeks. Vern Gauthier and his brother Jeff opened Fit for You Health Club more than 30 years ago. They’re anxious too. “It looks like it’s going to be closer to 12 weeks by the time we do open. And that’s frightening.”
Page adds, “We’re anxious and excited to get these doors back open. This has been… kind of eerie in a way, and sad. We want all of our members and livelihood back here in the Y so we’re excited that hopefully that’s right around the corner.”
But for the owners and operators – and anyone who loves to work out, it’s gone on long enough. Page says, “Unfortunately what we’re seeing due to the longevity of this shutdown has been more Y’s (nationwide) than we would care to see having to close their doors.” YMCAs across the country are suffering. But those that are reopening are able to share the tales of what it will look like when the doors do open once again. “That’s given us some guidance and direction, it’s helped us to identify the growing pains from folks that have opened the YMCAs. What we are seeing almost universally is a relatively slow trickling back in of the membership. It’s typically around 25% of the folks that start to come back, and that starts to grow a bit as time goes on.”
Vern Gauthier senses it, too. “It’s not going to be an explosion that’s for sure. When we open I know there’s going to be several people that really want to come back and they’re going to be really ready to come back and try it out, and really not scared. But there’s going to be a lot of people that are going to be a little frightened about this. They’re going to be holding back and waiting and making sure the coast is clear before they walk in the door again.”
At the Y they’re re-arranging equipment inside to keep machines six feet apart, adding signage to the floors and will be sanitizing constantly. Page says, “We’re essentially doing everything we can to make sure the members, when they come back to the facility, feel as safe as they possibly can be.”
This week the Governor announced that outdoor classes can resume. Gauthier says Fit for You has started personal training with outdoor workouts. “We started calling our clients just to do personal training. Really it’s impossible for us to haul all of our equipment into the parking lot. So we’re doing personal training out here.”
He adds, “The best thing you can do for yourself is exercise. That’s the way we keep our immune system strong. Really it’s not about the COVID-19 right now, it’s about the COVID “10” and everybody knows what I’m talking about.”
And at the Y they’re working on creating an outdoor schedule right now. Page says it will start with a Zumba class Thursday night, and circuit training on Friday morning. “In the next few days we’ll be able to offer a few outdoor fitness classes. We’re working on that as we speak, but we’re eager to provide that to our members.” You can check out the Y schedule here.
Page also agrees that getting exercise is important for everyone, especially for anyone who has been sedentary for the last couple of months because of the virus. But staying home hasn’t done us any favors. “Immune systems are very important, one of the number one ways you can increase your immune system is through exercise and taking care of yourself.”
So if you can’t wait to lift weights, just know we’re stepping closer to opening day. Gauthier says small businesses need to reopen. “It’s like we’re starting over. This is brand new, so we’ve got to start bringing members in again, it’s going back to the beginning, it really is.”