Nothing beats putting on that new matching workout set, heading to your favorite fitness class, and sweating it out with enthusiastic instructors and your fellow class regulars. But we haven’t been able to do that for the last couple of months because of the pandemic. Although there have been plenty of opportunities to find virtual workouts, a little something’s been missing for those who found second homes at local fitness studios or love the accountability their classes bring.
As part of Gov. Greg Abbott’s Phase 2 reopening plans, gyms have been allowed to get back to business since Monday, May 18, and that little something can be found again at your go-to neighborhood studio.
Yes, your favorite gyms are back, but they’ve made major changes to ensure that everyone who enters the front door is getting their heart pumping in the safest environment. Here’s where you can expect at your next in-person workout.
“We want you to feel comfortable entering our studio and leave feeling fulfilled from an amazing workout,” Body Rock instructor Nicole Young says. The Oak Forest Pilates studio reopened on May 18, offering six-to-eight classes daily throughout the week and four on weekend days. Classes are smaller to ensure social distancing, so book ahead to get your spot. If you’re hesitant about attending an in-person class, Body Rock is still holding weekly virtual classes on Zoom.
While eight classes a day may seem like a lot, classes are now 30 minutes apart to allow time for instructors to sanitize everything from their 11 custom balance body reformers to little things like light switches. They are avoiding using props such as weights and Pilates rings, and instructors are checking-in clients via an iPad to limit the number of objects being shared.
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The Heights Pure Barre owner Darby Akers wasn’t sure if class-goers would be keen on switching back to physical classes after virtual classes became the norm, but she says she couldn’t be happier to be proven wrong when she opened on May 23. “Our clients have been saying how they never realized how much of a difference it makes in their day to come here,” Akers says. “It’s been so good for their mental health to get out and talk to other people, and it’s been really nice for us as small business owners in the fitness community to hear that we’re wanted and supported.”
They are offering three-to-five in-person classes held daily during the week, and two-to-four daily classes on weekends, with only eight open spots per class. An instructor places sanitized equipment next to each mat before class begins and collects it after so clients can avoid community equipment. Classes are spaced out 40 minutes apart, and hands-on corrections are being replaced with verbal cues. In-person classes are also simultaneously being live-streamed through Zoom so you can work out from home while still receiving corrections and getting that studio community feel.
The River Oaks Pure Barre also reopened their doors May 18, and like the Heights location, owner Taylor Larson says she’s grateful. “I cannot even tell you how many praises we got last week providing a safe space for clients and hearing how much they’d missed the workout,” Larson says. “We’ve missed them a lot too, so it’s really good for us to be back with them.”
This location is offering three classes daily during the week and two-to-three classes per day on weekends. Each class offers only nine open spots and are spread out 30 minutes apart so the staff can sanitize twice before equipment is reused. Like the Heights location, instructors are giving corrections through verbal cues. Larson also says their daily Facebook Live classes have been a hit amongst clients and can be accessed by active members through their private Facebook page.
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“I was nervous about opening back up, I wanted to make sure we were being respectful and doing the right thing,” DEFINE West U owner Jennifer Harkins says about reopening on May 18. “I knew if we were going to, we were going to have to go above and beyond the norm, and that’s what we’ve done.” Harkins says clients wipe down equipment after use and then the staff will go back to sanitize it twice more before reuse.
Harkins’s studio, specializing in barre, cycling, and yoga classes, is offering two in-person strength classes daily during the week. These classes are only accommodating 12 open spots right now and avoid cardio-centered workouts to prevent heavier breathing, sweating, and the need for fans that could spread germs.
DEFINE West U is also offering virtual classes through Zoom that are free for members and $12 a class for anyone wanting to join. Though they expect to offer more in-person classes in the coming week, Harkins says that virtual classes will likely remain a permanent part of their weekly schedule.