Henry Toraño not only coaches people online, he also owns OPEX San Juan in Puerto Rico. He is very in tune with the challenges of clients, coaches, and gym owners, so I wanted to discuss with him what he’s thinking about when he’s talking to his clients about going back to their gym(s). With many states and countries discussing releasing some restrictions on gyms, particularly gyms that do 1:1 coaching, many people - likely you - are thinking about if, how, and when you’ll head back to the gym.
How do you decide to go back to the gym during COVID-19?
Henry made an emphatic statement right out of the gates! He said that you may not be able to train at home with your gym’s equipment if they open back up because they will need their equipment back. That is something that could influence your decision.
You must decide what your priorities are at this moment. There will be more risk if you leave your house, that’s inescapable, but if you take it upon yourself to distance, keep things you touch disinfected, carry hand sanitizer and wipes, don’t touch things you aren’t “in control of” and don’t touch your face, you can reduce your risk significantly if you do go back out be it to the gym or just to the grocery store.
How do you reduce risk if you go back to the gym during COVID-19?
Note that you can never reduce all risk, but some of these actions will help you reduce your risk.
“I don’t want to put the onus on the gym to take care of me” - Henry Toraño
Henry tells all of his clients that they need to take control of their risk. They need to bring their own hand sanitizer with them to the gym each day. They need to bring disinfecting wipes to wipe down equipment before and after they use it. They need to not touch common surfaces like countertops, showers, sinks, etc… They need to bring their own mat if they want to do movements such as burpees that require them to hit the deck (or they can say no to burpees for a little while). They need to keep 6 feet away from everybody. They need to limit the number of trips they make for equipment. They need to come in the clothes they are going to workout in and leave with them on because they don’t want to sit in common areas, touch cubbies/lockers, etc… Bring your own water and don’t touch the water fountain/station. Bring your own chalk and don’t touch the community chalk.
You control your own space. Control it! You need to follow the guidelines of safety whether they are in the gym or elsewhere. If you feel safer, wear a mask (safely) and gloves (also safely), but that doesn’t mean that you’ll reduce risk to zero if you are touching common areas.
Should you train normally when you go back to the gym?
Henry made a great statement here. He said he would get all of his equipment in the beginning of his workout, use it throughout his workout, clean it all, and then return it all so that he wasn’t walking all over the gym throughout his workout. The coach will need to smartly program for you, but this reduces risk.
You need to give yourself a few extra minutes to clean everything up when you’re thinking about your schedule as well.
Henry also said he’d be very conscious about going shirtless. It’s probably a good idea to keep your skin off of surfaces for a while.
Henry said that it’s important for you to realize that life will go on, cases will most likely go up when lockdowns get lifted, and it’s important for you to take the risk onto your shoulders so that you make very smart decisions in and out of your house.
Best of luck with training and stay safe out there!