The Alberta government’s recent COVID-19 restrictions are impacting smaller fitness studios and many owners admit is a bit confusing.
According to new health guidelines announced Tuesday, gyms all group classes aren’t allowed. Fitness studios, like Revive Lifestyle Fitness, can’t do group training or semi-private training. Owner Mike Du said they are only allowed to conduct one on ones, if a coach is involved.
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He says the problem is gyms can still have a group of members working out together, physically distanced. The trainer has to be kept outside the room. For Du, the logic doesn’t make sense.
“It’s hard for us to understand, part of it is about the coach pushing people in a way that’s high intensity and breathing hard,” Du said. “But there’s nothing stopping people from doing that if we put 12 people in there working out on their own.”
Guidelines don’t allow even a handful of participants to be led by a professional, even if it’s fewer numbers than a group without a trainer.
“As long as you have a group bigger than one you can’t have a coach present,” Du said.
These new rules are contradictory to the whole fitness model of some studios, ones that rely on the motivation of a trainer. Tricia McDonald owns Orangetheory Fitness in Airdrie.
“Typically we would have 24 people in here. But in this location we are capping it at 10 to 12 people per session,” McDonald said. “That means they are always physically distanced in the class. But there’s nobody coaching you into it anymore, so you have to essentially coach yourself.”
McDonald admits it is challenging but is grateful to be able to give clients the space to workout.
“To be able to pivot like this and stay open for them is so important to us right now,” McDonald said.
Orangetheory is preparing to launch a new platform called “Orangetheory Live” to adapt to the new guidelines.
“These will be coach inspired workouts you do in the safety of your own home,” McDonald said. “It’s not virtual, we are still connecting because the coach is there inspiring you, cheerleading you, correcting form and its much more than typical virtual workout.”
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