This photo is probably not the most flattering but it is basically how I look in the mornings before heading to the gym. Since the gyms reopened in June (in Calgary), I've been one of the many a.m. workout enthusiasts lining up, keeping 2-meters distance of course, with my palms open ready to receive hand sanitizer from the gym employee as she asks, "what's your name?" Once she finds my name on the list, she singles me to go into the gym, I scan my pass, run to the change room to secure my stuff, and start my workout as soon as possible. Every minute counts, I only have 1 hour. As you may know, I attend GoodLife Fitness and I have for many years. I know that COVID has hit the fitness industry very hard. It has forced many businesses to pivot their business model or perish. I've heard of many boutique gyms in Calgary closing their doors because they could not weather the storm called Hurrican COVID. For the business who have managed to keep their doors open, I cannot imagine the level of preparation, consideration, time and expense needed to have the necessary items in place (e.g., barriers, hand sanitizer, signage, technology) to ensure they comply with provincial health guidelines and that they are keeping their staff and patrons safe. Crazy town. As someone who is in the fitness industry as a teacher and customer, I have deep empathy and understanding of the changes that small and big gyms, like GoodLife or Orange Theory, had to make to ensure safety. That being said, all of the changes in place is making me rethink how I want to engage in my workouts. My biggest issue is having to book my workouts. Ugh. Given that you're penalized if you miss two workouts within a week, I can see how booking a workout could help you if you struggle with accountability. This also makes it very hard for someone to have the flexibility in their day. I often struggle with health issues which makes early morning workouts tough and often a.m. is my only opportunity to workout. Another area I struggle with is the lack of distancing on the gym floor. It can be challenging (near impossible) to maintain distance from other people. It feels like the 2-meter distance rule goes out the window, people are about getting their reps in and nothing else. Unless we are all wearing masks on the gym floor, how can you feel safe in a gym environment?
Additionally, the one hour time limit can be tricky to work with. I'm all about not spending hours at the gym but by the time you get to the gym and settled, you are probably looking at 50 min to do a warm up, workout and cool down. This is definitely enough time; however, if you are training for something specific or using a training program the time limit can be frustrating, especially if you're weight training and you need to add time to load and unload weight. Again, it is totally possible you just have to be smart about your time and flexible with your workout routine. When GoodLife first opened, I remember being rushed off of a machine by an employee, my response, "Oh no Sis, I still have five minutes left in this hour and I'm going to use it!" As I mentioned before, I am rethinking how I consume my fitness. Perhaps this means attending more classes, which I find it's a much more controlled environment or doing more workouts at home or online. How about you? Do you attend a gym and if so, what has your experience been like? If you can relate to my story then you may also be thinking about changing how you access your workouts. Like many fitness instructors, I decided to take my classes online. The experience is different but the outcome is the same, great total body workout that will leave you feeling stronger and energized. Yes, you could say this about any workout but in my classes I merry the best worlds of fitness and dance to the background of old school hip hop, reggae, and R&B music. In one of my classes, BootDance, you will work on your strength and endurance through a variety of different fitness techniques all of which will prepare you to learn and perform a short dance routine to hip-hop, African or pop music. If you have not signed up for my biweekly emails where I announce upcoming classes, provide tips and resources, then where have you been? Head over to ghanagirl.ca and enter your name and email address in the pop-up box on the home page. I hope to see you online! -GhanaGirl