physical exercise

What to expect when gyms reopen

Beatrice Go
As gyms prepare to open its doors again, Rappler talks to Gold's Gym on operating in the 'new normal'

Gyms nationwide are now busy preparing for their long-awaited reopening as the Inter-Agency Task Force gave the green light for them to resume operations, but with stricter protocols under the “new normal.”

Rappler speaks to Gold’s Gym Fitness head Gerald Tenorio on how physical trainers and gym operators are planning to create a safe environment for their regular members.

Social distancing

Just like other public establishments, gyms will also implement safety protocols and proper hygiene practices such as providing disinfectant foot mats and contact tracing forms, setting up dividers in the reception area and making alcohol readily available in the area.

According to Tenorio, Gold’s Gym will also be rearranging its machines and equipment by making sure that they are spaced out across the area. In general community quarantine, group classes will not be allowed yet, so the area will also be used as an extension for other purposes.

Only 30% of the maximum capacity of the gym will be allowed, so members will be given a time limit of one hour to use the facilities, and they will have to make sure to schedule ahead with their personal trainers.

The staff per branch will also be limited as they will be separated into two groups to be able to contain a possible spread of the virus.

“Because social distancing is a must, we don’t want everyone – our clients and our staff – to overcrowd. The staff will not be in full duty because we’ll make it a point for us to be safe,” said Tenorio.

Communication in coaching

Even before the pandemic, Tenorio has already mentored and awarded certificates to aspiring fitness trainers, and has always focused on proper communication to be a good coach.

“That’s why the mode of communication and how the trainer should instruct are really crucial and it’s good that the trainers who trained from the very start with us, we made it a point to have a good connection with the clients,” explained Tenorio.

“You need to have the client visualize and understand what he or she should be doing and for what purpose.”

According to Tenorio, gym instructors are not supposed to touch their clients to begin with unless they are given permission to adjust their forms when performing exercises.

But with the coronavirus situation, trainers have to maintain a distance from their clients, and will have to rely on the coaches’ calls.

As the head of fitness in Gold’s Gym, Tenorio oversees over 500 personal trainers nationwide, who will need to be stricter in enforcing safety protocols with their clients.

Exploring new platforms

Tenorio’s philosophy of good communication skills reaped its value in the last 5 months since Metro Manila entered lockdown through online workouts with their clients.

“With the lockdown, the realistic platform was online, so we continued doing it with our corporate clients, especially with those doing personal training and it’s a safe way because there’s no [physical] interaction,” said Tenorio.

According to Tenorio, fitness instructors have been trained to conduct online workouts since last year.

Rappler’s Inside the Industry also interviewed The Coaches’ Lab, which is one of the first purely online gym coaching services in the country. As it sprung forth from enhanced community quarantine, it wishes to pave the way toward a new environment. 

The opportunities and innovations of fitness inspire Gold’s Gym to expand its membership platforms online in the near future.

“We have a fitness institute and of course, some enrollees want to be trainers and [get] certification. We made it a point that they’ll try [coaching] online,” said Tenorio.

“Since it’s more online and techy, we’re looking into engaging more on the techy type of thing in our online platform.”

As safety becomes very crucial in this period, Gold’s Gym will make sure that it will flesh out all its protocols and announce the reopening of selected branches on its social media pages.

“We’re going to give it some time to prepare – slowly but surely,” said Tenorio. – Rappler.com

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Beatrice Go

More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.