I have been going to the gym since I was 19 years old. I never really bothered with exercise between leaving school and then. I had a boyfriend and was going out more, having fun. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror at Uni and although, I’ve always been slim, I wasn’t that toned. I decided then and there, perhaps it was time to join the gym? My Mum and Step-Dad had always gone so why not? Since then I’ve tried it all. Classes, cardio, running, weights, training alone and training with others. The gym has been a huge part of my life. I want to go. I enjoy it and it’s now part of who I am. I trained through all 3 of my pregnancies, right to the end and went back within 4-6 weeks. It’s my place to escape as a Mother and I never believed they would be shut for so long during the Covid-19 pandemic and going back to the gym after lockdown was a decision I didn’t make lightly.
During February this year, the chap who I train with and I would chew the fat over Covid-19. Did we have something to worry about? Nah it would all be fine. It was in China. There was nothing to worry about. But as the weeks passed and the virus spread, our denial changed into something else; fear. When the gyms closed the weekend before lockdown I remember my friend cancelling his membership and saying it was likely months before this was going “to blow over”. I was shocked but knew he was speaking the truth. I needed to get my head around that. I wouldn’t be going back to the gym for a good while.
It’s been ok at home but not the same. I bought a couple of extra dumbbells but the price of any equipment sky rocketed and it was hard to get hold off. I made things up as I went along, followed YouTube workouts, tried jogging and went out for lots of walks.
It was fine but I knew I wasn’t pushing myself. I used to train for up to an hour in the gym; at home I was getting 20-30 minutes to fit around my hubby and work. I didn’t have the same motivation and I didn’t have the equipment.
I knew I wanted to go back to the gym. Loads of people were saying they were enjoying home workouts and were never going back but for me I missed the weights and I missed the people.
So when they announced that the gyms were going to open again, I knew I wanted to go back. I was aware it was a bit of a risk. Sweat, breath and just people being together! But I thought if I felt safe in the gym, could keep my distance and wash and sanitise, I’d be ok. I left the first weekend, as we were visiting family and it was actually a week later that I managed to go back to the gym after lockdown.
The Gym After Lockdown
I’ve only been back three times since and not attended any classes but my first trip to the gym was fine. There isn’t a booking slot to go at mine, as I have heard others have needed to. Classes are on, smaller numbers and you need to book.
When you go in you have your temperature checked and have to hand sanitise. There are points around the gym to do this and to get wipes to clean equipment before and after use.
The equipment has been spaced out. The treadmills next to each other have signs on, as you can’t use two next to each other. The boxing room is only allowed a smaller number of people too.
I went early at 8am and was told between 7-8am was pretty quiet. It was. I trained alongside a friend and it was great to get back on the weights and use some of the equipment again!
I made sure I kept my distance from others and had a really good session; 20 minutes on the Stairmaster and 40 minutes of cable weights. I did notice there was no air conditioning however and it was a warm day!! Felt a little like I was on holiday.
I washed my hands, wiped down my phone and left! I felt positive and it really felt great to have gone back. I planned to have another couple of days to recover and go back. I showered as soon as I go home too.
The second and third times I did feel a little different however. I definitely noticed not everyone sanitises equipment between use. To be fair it is really difficult to do, when bouncing between things, as part of a training programme. You would spend the entire session cleaning and wiping things down. The gym was quieter on all 3 of my sessions but I simply came to the conclusion if I wanted to go, I did need to accept some risk.
I go in. I train. I sanitise as much as I can. I finish. I wash my hands. I wipe down my phone and I leave. I don’t touch my face or eyes and I have been taking a bum bag to keep my phone and keys in, to avoid dropping or putting down. That is that. There is only so much the gym can do and the rest is up to me.
I’ve got no idea how long the gyms will stay open for. There is a part of me thinking I need to make the most of it as come September, there maybe some changes again. Who knows if gyms will struggle in the winter and if Covid cases rises, will they need to close again. I’m really hoping not, as even though home working out is manageable, it really just isn’t the same.
For now, I’m going to keep going to the gym. Keep safe, keep clean and enjoy the company and the equipment! The gym after lockdown is different.
Have you gone back?