For some, it’s a place of solace. For some, it’s a place for gains. Whatever your purpose is for going to it, it is first and foremost a community. There’s something about going to a gym that makes you feel part of something. Maybe that’s why it’s called a gym membership?
Sometimes it’s not even about just lifting weights and doing cardio. There’s a ton of classes you can join – Zumba, Body Jam, or whatever fun activity is available.
Or maybe you don’t go to a gym – maybe you go to a studio. You like the specialization of a Yoga Studio, or a Spinning Studio. Or, instead of a traditional gym, maybe you tried one of those Mixed Martial Arts gyms, or the classic Boxing Gyms. There’s something for everyone.
Some use it is a way to catch up with friends, by working out together. Some use it to make friends, and chat up random strangers for tips on your form or your routine. Even if you don’t actively socialize, you see the regulars, especially if you’re a regular yourself. You know their schedules because they’re also building a routine like you. And sometimes, when you pass them on the stairwell, they smile, because you’re a familiar face to them, too.
It makes you feel part of something, and it feels nice. Not to mention that you feel stronger and better overall. So you push yourself by renewing that membership next month, and use that as motivation to keep on going. And when life gets too busy, you say, it’s okay, i’ll workout next week.
The convenience of fitness, gone
But then, COVID-19 happened. Even if you wanted to hit the gym, you can’t.
A few weeks before the lockdown, there were articles that said gyms and fitness studios are the perfect place for the virus to spread, because people congregate in a closed room and touch things. Even before everything officially closed down, people were already starting to avoid the gym.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a home gym. Most people don’t have the money to invest into their own fitness equipment; for the few that do, maybe they don’t have the space. The convenience of a membership was what people were paying for, and now it’s gone.
As with pretty much everything during this time of the pandemic, people went online. In the first few months, there was a surge of online classes. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) routines you can do at home, body weight exercises, even yoga classes. During the early days, a lot of teachers and fitness professionals were just releasing free classes online, testing out the waters.
A shift in the fitness mindset
The pandemic has changed everything, including the way we look at fitness. It’s starting to turn into an essential need, as we could all benefit from stronger and healthier bodies.
Many gyms and studios have adapted to the new normal. They’re not allowed to operate yet even under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ). However, many are prepared to follow social distancing and contact tracing guidelines and protocols, ready to open again once the quarantines get relaxed.
Online and home fitness also seems to be part of the new norm, as instructors are pivoting towards charging for classes.
It might take some time for gyms to be fully operational again, but the desire for health and fitness might just be strong enough that we will always find a way. We are #LookingForward to the day when we can all meet each other in the gym IRL, but for now, we have to make do with getting those gains at home.
#LookingForward is a new series by Flying Ketchup, where we talk about things that we miss about the “Old Normal”. It’s both reminding us of the past, and getting us excited about the future. What are you #LookingForward to doing again? Let us know, and you might get featured in the next article!