Thinking Outside The Gym: Outdoor Gym Classes During COVID-19

Thinking Outside The Gym: Outdoor Gym Classes During COVID-19

Small gyms and fitness studios took a huge financial hit when they closed to limit the spread of COVID-19. Some places could not stay afloat, while others managed to tread water, offering fitness classes via Zoom for their clients. There seemed to be a light at the end of the tunnel when gyms received the “ok” to reopen, but many had to close as cities readjusted laws with surging coronavirus cases surged.

Since small fitness studios cannot afford to remain closed during the pandemic, many of them have started to host outdoor fitness classes. Gyms, yoga studios, or spin studios with outdoor spaces or parking lots moved equipment outside to offer socially distant classes. This model isn’t for everyone, but you have to applaud gym owners for thinking outside the box.

How Do These Classes Work?

Most studios that offer outdoor workout classes limit the headcount to ten participants or less, with at least a six- to ten-foot distance between each person. Given that the summer months bring intense warm weather, most classes occur in the morning or early evening, so that people don’t overheat or experience dehydration. These classes are excellent for people who require the motivation of an instructor to get their bodies moving.

Some gyms don’t have the luxury of an outdoor space, though. In this case, personal trainers or instructors from the gyms sought out public areas, including parks or beaches, to host workout classes. The instructors have to check with local government to make sure they comply with permits and restrictions. Additionally, all participants must bring their own equipment to avoid touching common surfaces. Most people willingly wear masks, but being socially distant outdoors with fresh air makes the classes much safer.

Where Can You Go To Workout?

This will depend entirely on the laws that your city or town has in place. You can also call your local fitness studios to see if they offer outdoor workout classes. Some private fitness instructors in Los Angeles, CA have taken to the beaches, where they lead boot camp, yoga, boxing, and high-intensity interval training classes. A trainer in Boston, MA leads boot camp classes and requires that participants maintain a 12-foot distance from each other. A Zumba instructor in St. Clair Shores, MI, dances and sweats with her students in the parking lot outside her studio.

Notes For Instructors:

If you decide to instruct an outdoor fitness class, make it clear that you cannot offer classes if nobody shows up. Make your participants sign up ahead of time and send reminder emails or text alerts before the class. If you have to change locations last minute, make sure to inform everyone of the new address. For instructors with limited outdoor space, consider live-streaming your classes for others to follow at home. You can charge a reduced fee for at-home participants. Finally, make sure that your outdoor class is in compliance with state or county regulations. You may need to seek legal advice for possible permitting or consult business advisors to determine if outdoor classes are right for your business and health.

These are tough times and small fitness studios need our help to stay in business. They are doing what they can to make sure everyone is safe, so if you feel up to it and can afford the classes, contact your local fitness studios to see what outdoor classes they offer.