We’ve been working away in the gym on both the online content you have (hopefully) been seeing/experiencing and a couple of longer term things relating to online training…and trying to answer the question “What’s Next?” – or, rather, “What happens when the bans are lifted?”.
I have an opinion (unsubstantiated) that things are NEVER going to be the same. And we need to be prepared for a scenario where when you come to the gym for the ‘rest of your life’ this thing called ’Social Distancing’ is going to be the norm “IN SOME WAY”. And there is a part of me that sees that as a good thing (jumping on a bike covered in someone else’s sweat is never great!) and part of me that sees it as a real challenge (for example, how does a trainer do padwork in a class – change pads for every client??? Regardless, whatever the ‘NEW NORMAL’ is, we are trying to be ‘ready’ for it.
As the COVID19 restrictions increased during March, I was 100% comfortable with what was happening in the strength gym. Each person is at their own station – they grab the gear they need, they leave it OUT until the end…then before they leave each person cleans their OWN stuff and packs it away. That made perfect sense. Each person cleans all the gear that THEY used before they leave. It wasn’t as simple on the boxing side of the gym.
Now – that isn’t to say that people in the boxing gym weren’t “pulling their weight” with the cleaning – they were. But when the class was running we had continuous sharing of equipment…I mean, it is the nature of the way we have things set up – first your group is on the skis, then you move to the heavy bag…where another group was just training (and no doubt getting sweat on things etc etc). Is this the same as every other gym in the world? Ummmm – YEP. I mean, the cleaning we were doing was GREAT but it never quite felt like the perfect solution.
So here’s what I am thinking. The Boxing Gym needs to be COMPLETELY ripped apart and re-arranged. From top to bottom – to create a series of training ‘CELLS’ (stations really). And in each station you have a bag, speedball OR F2C ball, cardio machine (bike/sparc/ski etc) and some room to do bodyweight/strength activities. At the start of each session, people grab the equipment they need (slam ball, kettlebell, whatever) and take it to THEIR ‘CELL’…and we go through the class together. For example, the class starts and the first round used to be ‘SKI’…this would mean every person in the class grabs the cardio gear at THEIR station and does cardio. Next station was “Heavy Bags”…this would mean everyone in the gym puts gloves on, grabs THEIR bag and gets on with it. Next round – Floor to Ceiling ball. Every CELL would have a floor to ceiling ball or a speedball so that would be what we all do. Next round, BIKE….we are all back to cardio…etc etc. So – you wouldn’t be moving around the gym…you would be moving inside your ‘cell’.
Are their limitations of this? Well, of course. Common sense would tell you that based on the model I have just described, if your ‘CELL’ has a bike in it, well, it wouldn’t also have a ski or a rower…which would mean you aren’t rowing or skiing that day and every time there is cardio, you are on the bike. Some people might like this – others not so much. But in the short term, one thing that is certain??? Each person would be able to train without sharing equipment with others and this would help minimise the chance of ANY infection being spread by coming to the gym…
Positives – Enables social distancing, provides a mechanism to keep everything clean and prevent the spread of germs, creates a ’TRUE’ group training environment because everyone will be doing the same thing at the same time…
Negatives – It’s change and it is hard to get your head around, I still can’t quite work out how to communicate what everyone should be doing in the classes (yes, the whiteboards…but we would have to write up to 13x stations worth on info on them…what about tvs using an app of some-sort…who knows???), how exactly are we going to set it up – how much more equipment do we need and can we figure out a way to pay for it??? You know, all the ‘bad stuff’… I am trying not to get dragged down by what we can’t do though and just focusing on creating a truly ’SAFE’ training environment for everyone.
I’m going to leave it there. Today’s email was just an attempt to share some of the things I am wrestling with right now in terms of ensuring our facility is set up to be open ‘without restriction’ as soon as the government allows it. Like I said earlier – I don’t have any inside info on what the rules might be and this may all be ‘for nothing’ or another example of me ‘jumping at shadows’ but I truly think we can provide a safe, socially distanced environment for everyone at Round 1 where EVERYONE will feel confident that they can train in safety.
I am hoping all of you are going well and staying safe with your families.
See you in the gym,