A pre-pandemic visit to a low-key gym in Seethammapeta would have had you invariably met with clanging barbells, squeaky machines, blaring speakers, and dozens of grunting fitness enthusiasts all cramped for space. Cutting to the chase, a visit to the very same gym now paints a subdued picture. With just a handful of mask-wearing individuals, the space looks rather deserted. The aging machines are taken out to free up space and the existing ones wear a new look, thanks to the frequent cleaning and sanitisation. As several institutions, businesses and the public at large continue to find ways to beat the odds amid the pandemic, the fitness industry too has been forced to adapt the ‘new normal’. Yo! interacted with a few personalities from the gym industry to find out how gyms and fitness centers in Vizag have been functioning after reopening doors for the public recently.
Being shut down for nearly five months, reopening came as no mean job for a few gym owners in the city. From managing finances to attracting the members back to ensuring that safety norms are followed strictly at the gym, the job on hand has been an unprecedented one. “When the government announced its plans to lift the lockdown in a phased manner, we hoped that permissions for reopening gyms in Vizag would be granted by the end of July. However, we weren’t given a nod until recently. While getting back into the mix of things has brought a sigh of relief, the ride hasn’t been an easy one so far,” shares the owner of a gym in Akkayyapalem.
Owner and Managing Director of Fitness Edge, Ramya Adimulam, opines that the fitness industry has taken quite a hit due to the pandemic. “The fitness industry, which was blooming well, has taken a serious hit due to the pandemic. The current scenario is completely different as compared to the earlier times. It is not until a vaccine is introduced that normalcy is likely to be restored,” she says. Talking about the safety measures being taken at Fitness Edge, Ramya shares, “Apart from strictly instructing our trainers and members to wear face masks and maintain physical distancing, we are sanitising the equipment at regular intervals. Currently, we are allowing only eight individuals (including trainers) on the floor at a given time. In view of the situation and the safety at stake, we have even temporarily stopped functional training at the gym.”
Sharing insights on the response from the public, Farzana Begum of Fit with Fab says that while some are preferring to stay indoors and opt for virtual sessions, another set of people has grown inclined towards hitting the gym. “While building a strong immune system and taking care of mental health have always been important, the significance has been highlighted in recent times. The awareness has certainly increased among the public. In fact, I have noticed a rise in enrolments once we announced the reopening of the gym,” she says.
Mentioning the safety measures in place, Farzana states that the management has been closely monitoring the health status of each client. “Anyone showing symptoms like weakness or fever is being asked to stay home. People aged above 60 years are being discouraged to visit the gym. While a single batch comprised 11-12 clients earlier, the number has now been brought down to 6 per batch to ensure physical distancing. SOPs like wearing a mask and regularly sanitising the instruments have now become the new normal. Clients are also being told to carry their own gear,” she says.
While the gyms in Vizag have been trying to rise to the occasion amid the unprecedented crisis, the onus lies equally on the visitors to safeguard themselves and others. As experts across the globe continue their quest for coming out with a vaccine.], following the safety protocols and acting cautiously continue to be the trusted forms of defence.