“We aren’t completely confident about how it is going to be in the new settings. We are looking forward to seeing how people are disciplined about gym rules. We expect some basic discipline from people when they are in the gym — like sanitising the machines during work out, wearing face shields and gloves, etc. As of now, we are planning on how to interact with our students and how to position them during workouts. The only way to go forward is by having time slots — we are planning to have 10 people at a time in our centre,” says Rakesh.
Radhika Ramanujam, a freelancing ESL teacher and a fitness enthusiast says that after days of confinement and limited movement, going to the gym feels great. “It feels nice to sweat it out with others. Also, many of us would need help with posture and form again as we would have become rather sedentary. I have missed working out at the gym. One of the reasons people visit the gym is for motivation and I’m no different. Working out alone doesn’t feel the same. A disadvantage with indoor gyms is the inevitable use of AC which makes it kind of hard to sweat. At home, I get to control dynamics, in the sense turn the AC off and open the windows for air. But having said that, gyms are fun in their ways,” remarks Radhika.
Though she is thrilled to get back to her gym, she is highly concerned about hygiene factors and social distancing norms to follow in the new normal. “For instance, it was cool before to use sweaty equipment which had been used by someone else, without caring much about the consequences. Now, things will have to be constantly sanitised. Also, too many people can’t be entertained at once courtesy social distancing. So we might not be able to workout every day, there might be batches, etc. All these things will have to be weighed in.”
During this period, model Prahitya Mahavir missed the playful banter, the motivational push and like-minded company in his gym. “Hitting the gym is a keystone habit for most of us and when that falls in line being disciplined and following through on other goals becomes easier. Plus, I see lifting as a form of therapy, the endorphins and serotonin rush keeps me ticking. Home workouts are okay if you’re too busy to hit the gym, but never to hit overall fitness goals. The home environment is inadequate to push yourself consistently even if you have all the equipment and space you need. Praying at home and going to the temple isn’t the same,” points out Prahitya.
People tend to follow some unhygienic practices in most gyms. They do sweat a lot, but some tend to create puddles out of it wherever they go which is a specific concern because of the pandemic.
“Social distancing isn’t easy in crowded gyms and waiting too long for people to clear and cleaning each seat and equipment before working out is quite ineffective. Of course, one could hit the gym at odd times when people wouldn’t be around. But, I suppose that’s the strategy everyone else is thinking of as well. If the air conditioning wouldn’t be functional in Chennai weather, I don’t think anyone could work out for long,” he says.