SO much has changed in our world in the last six months, and we’ve all had to make adjustments. One facet of our lives that has most definitely been impacted are our workouts. Gyms and group fitness, as we knew them, either disappeared or were majorly tweaked to be safe.
What can we expect going forward? I talked to some experts to get their fitness predictions when the coronavirus threat calms down, and here’s what they had to say.
Workouts at home or on your own
Many people have turned to home workouts between lockdowns and out of fear of catching coronavirus at the gym.
“COVID has opened people’s eyes to the fact that doing something is better than doing nothing!” said Sarah Pelc Graca, an online weight loss coach for women, NASM-certified trainer, and founder of Strong with Sarah. “Even doing a ten minute bodyweight workout, or taking five minutes to run up and down the stairs in your house is worth your while.”
Graca goes on to say that as far as convenience, resistance bands are compact, light and easy to travel with, and they have similar benefits to dumbbells, making them a big trend during and probably post-COVID.
“Another option is calisthenics, which is a form of exercise using only your bodyweight.” Michael Dean, co-founder at Pool Research. “With this workout method, you don’t need any additional weights or equipment, which could be appealing to people who don’t want to take the risk of going to gyms. These alternative workout styles will start to get more of a mainstream appeal as fitness enthusiasts search for a way to stay healthy while avoiding COVID-19 risks.”
Workouts at home with a virtual trainer
Many of us find it tough to motivate ourselves to work out on our own and prefer to have some instruction. Others simply like the feel and group energy of being in a class. Here are some possible directions for where those workouts may be headed.
“A lot of people are buying Peletons,” Graca suggested as one of her fitness predictions. “In fact, they have been back-ordered for three months because there is just such a high demand for at-home workout equipment. It’s so convenient to hop on the bike, do a 20-30 minute workout, and get showered off for work.”
“Online or virtual personal training and group classes are a viable source,” said James Shapiro, an NYC-based personal trainer with an MS in Exercise Science and NASM CES & PES. “Most gyms have had to develop an online fitness platform to still work with their members. Giants like Mirror and Peleton will have a strong foothold in the market but are luxury items.”
He continues, “Personally, I have switched nearly 80 percent of my clients to virtual and have shown them the value behind minimalistic equipment (like a TRX, a few kettlebells, bands, or pull-up bars). They have seen their commitment levels go up and keeping some money in their pockets.”
Working out outdoors
For those who live in the lower half of the hemisphere and can be active outside year-round, you’re in luck: experts see many benefits to outdoor workouts and many options for doing them in their fitness predictions.
“For warmer climate locations, we can see the resurgence and continuation of outdoor boot and strength classes. Manufacturers are being creative with ‘crate-gyms’ which are innovative in design and are social-distance responsible,” Shapiro said.
And, don’t forget about the classics, like tried-and-true running.
“Running! I see so many people out there that I’ve never seen before and it’s great! So many people are getting back to basics and running is just that—it’s free and requires zero equipment,” said Graca.
“Because of quarantine and lockdown, we have already seen more and more people get creative with their workouts,” Dean said regarding post-COVID fitness trends. “I think this trend will continue, and people will increasingly turn to solo workout methods such as running, walking, or swimming instead of going to crowded gyms.”
What about working out in a gym?
Some of us don’t feel like we’re really working out unless we do our regular routine at the gym, either in group classes or alone.
“We will still see caution with gym owners, gym-goers, and state and federal government,” Shapiro said. “I can foresee physical corporate-chain gyms running at well-below previously held membership levels. We saw chains like Golds, 24 Hour Fitness, and LA Fitness go out of business. The surviving clubs will see that people have realized they don’t need their memberships [with so many available] alternatives.”
“It will take a while for full confidence to return to the indoor scene, even with proper ventilation and cleaning procedures,” Shapiro continues. “Remember, it is the owner’s sole responsibility to adhere to these requirements—not the members or clients (who are sometimes very neglectful).”
Better masks for indoors and outdoors
Across the board, mask quality and features are essential, as seen here.
“There may be updated masks that allow for better airflow, which means masks can be worn during workouts. Many health experts predict that wearing masks will be part of our daily lives for many months to come, possibly even after the threat of coronavirus is long gone. However, the limited airflow that masks provide make them hard to wear during workouts, and many people refrain from wearing them because of this.” Dean said.
“These updated, high-tech workout masks may allow more people to protect themselves and others from viruses while also getting an enjoyable, productive workout,” he concludes.
These fitness predictions really hold something for everyone to get their workouts in safely and effectively. Will they include some adjustments on all of our behalf? For sure. But the adjustments are totally doable, and who knows, they may result in new workouts you love.