Gyms around the country have begun to reopen as coronavirus cases continue to rise. My gym, Equinox Austin reopened on June 1st and although I was skeptical about going back at first, I have to say that I feel incredibly safe when I am there.
Before the pandemic, I would work out four to five times a week and not having the option to go to the gym during lockdown was challenging for me. The classes at Equinox are taught by some of the most talented and inspiring people who not only motivate you to take your workout to another level, but they also make you leave feeling better mentally and physically.
I have been a member at Equinox since 2015 and I have always been impressed with their level of cleanliness and small class sizes, but now in the time of COVID, they have taken their standards to another level. In May, ahead of the gym’s post-lockdown re-opening, I had to read and sign what seemed like dozens of pages of new guidelines. Before each visit I make now, I have to read and sign a shortened health declaration before I am allowed inside.
The new rules at Equinox require members to make appointments to visit the gym–whether you’re going for a group fitness class, a personal training session or just to use an elliptical, you must schedule your visit in advance. Once in the gym, members and staff are required to wear face masks until they are working out. A member of the Equinox staff also checks everyone’s temperature at the door…anyone with over a 100 degree temperature will not be allowed in the gym.
Since going back to the gym, I have only attended group fitness classes and I have loved how much Equinox is respecting spacing, safety and cleanliness. In rooms that can fit up to 40, classes have been limited to under 15 people. All of the spots in the classes are spaced at least six feet apart and cleaned equipment is set out for each guest. Equinox has also shortened class times to allow more time in between classes for a deep cleaning of the studios. During class, instructors do not walk around the class, they stay at the front of the room to maintain social distancing standards.
Since June, I have not seen crowds of people and the equipment looks very clean in the main parts of the gym. There are also sanitizing stations in several locations around Equinox. To maintain cleanliness standards, Equinox is not providing their iconic chilled eucalyptus towels, which I kind of live for, but they do offer clean towels in plastic bags upon arrival.
One other heartbreaking change at the gym is that the steam room has been closed since the reopening. I used to use the steam room two or three times a week before coronavirus because of the many benefits steam can offer for skin and health, but it was also just so relaxing. Social distancing is a top priority in the bathroom as well. Sinks, bathroom stalls and showers are being rotated to maximize spacing and to make sure they aren’t being over-used.
Have you gone back to the gym yet? I hope these insights help with your decision making on whether to go back into the gym or not. If you have any questions I have not answered in this post, please leave me a comment and let me know!