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As we continue to navigate the landscape that is COVID-19 and the “New Normal,” we’ve come to terms with the fact that things may never go back to how they were before. The simple act of shaking a stranger’s hand for the first time, or hugging a friend you haven’t seen in a minute both seem so foreign now. Almost to the point of, “I can’t believe we ever did that!” Think about getting adjusted by your favorite yoga teacher at your favorite studio. Or your personal trainer motivating you to do just one more rep on the bench press at the gym. Or even just a barre workout before brunch with your best friends.
Times have changed. You’re adapting. “The earth is healing.” Everything is different. But what does that mean for you “getting back into the swing of things” at your favorite fitness studios? We’re shining a light on what yoga and fitness studios are doing to reopen, as well as keep you safe, post-COVID-19.
No business is immune to what is happening right now (or has happened in recent months). And of the most impacted have been fitness studios; gyms, yoga, Pilates, HIIT, barre, etc. These fitness modalities have had to shutter doors and adapt quickly to a new virtual environment, one where their clientele must continue their yoga practice from their living room, personal training from their patios, barre in the bedroom, and Pilates in the kitchen... But now, with reopening plans being dispersed across the globe, we enter a new phase of “all of this.”
Whether apprehensive about returning to hot yoga, or ready for a sweat with a friend (or a mix of the two), fitness studios have been hard at work on their reopening plans and making sure every t is crossed, lower-case j is dotted, and regulation is followed to ensure your safety. Let’s look at what they’re doing to reopen post-COVID-19 and into the new normal:
In the new normal, will 6 feet be the go-to for space between one another? Too early to really tell, but for now, it is.
As we start to re-enter studios, there will most likely still be some sort of social distancing procedures. There will potentially be changes to the layout of your favorite studios. Additionally, class structures and sizes will change to allow for adequate social distance. Make sure you’re booking well in advance if you want the front bike, or primo spot near the instructor in your next yoga class.
Studios are paying super close attention to federal and state guidelines and updating as needed. Check your Mindbody app often to account for new rules and class times for your favorited and bookmarked fitness studios.
Potentially the most talked-about item on this list, you can expect fitness studios to take the sanitization and disinfecting and overall cleanliness of their spaces very seriously. Considering 65% of salons and spas plan to put their disinfection and sanitization practices into overdrive*, you can expect gyms and yoga studios to follow suit (and maybe even take it even further.) In fact, 92% of you polled* noted that the importance of studios following rigorous disinfecting guidelines will be a deciding factor if you visit them again or not.
You're pretty much guaranteed that all surface areas and floors will be sanitized regularly, and there will be plenty of tissues and hand sanitizer readily available. (Note: Don’t be surprised if you don’t see props in your next yoga class. Many studios will be doing away with them.) There's a chance you'll see signs across different fitness studios to remind you that cleaning is being done on the regular. Hopefully, this will give you a small piece of mind.
Bob Algard of Solid Rock Training in Normal, Oklahoma, re-opened recently after putting a focus on cleaning. “Every single day, we do a professional, deep clean, and then we also we disinfect. You could eat off our floors now—not that you’d want to.”
Questions about cleaning procedures, find your favorite studio on the Mindbody app, call them up, and ask. Right now, most everyone will want to let you know how they are keeping their spaces clean for you!
Keep an eye on what your studios are doing on social media and email. There will be a lot of content flowing through the Instagrams while everyone posts memes about reopening. But if you’re able to sift through the clutter, you will find your studios planning their social media strategies carefully, working to build up trust and awareness.
If you see repeat or similar messages, go easy on them. They may be getting creative to attract brand-new clients who are excited to check out the studio for the first time, in-person. Regarding content, expect to see:
• Welcome back videos
• Insider tours of the “new space”
• New products, features, and classes offered
• Sanitization and disinfecting routines and how-to's
• Updated class schedules
If you are going directly to your fitness studio’s website, chances are, you’ll be met with some new messaging, imagery, and navigation.
Studios most likely made some changes during COVID-19 regarding closures, COVID-19 specials, and virtual services. These pages will most likely remain, but they will be updated again with new information. (It might even be a good idea to bookmark them, if you still use bookmarks.)
Lauren McAlister of McAlister Training in San Luis Obispo, CA is busily updating her site to ensure her clients stay in the know. “Transparency is so important right now—and our clients deserve to know what we’re doing now, and what we’re planning for as we reopen, to keep them safe.”
With updates to today’s IRL landscape changing rapidly, you may see more pop-ups... but don’t be so down on them this time around. These pop-ups could have important reopening information and some pretty sweet promotions to book classes.
Be sure to check out the pricing page to see if there are new deals for virtual, in-person, and a blend of the two. Additionally, if your studio live-streamed before reopening, chances are they will have a library of that content for you to revisit when you’d like. Try to find that in case you’re in a pinch and need a quick yoga workout you know how to do.
As studios start to reopen, they will have to answer an important question: What happens to my membership now? There’s a chance you switched from your normal monthly membership to a virtual-only model? Or you’ve abandoned your membership altogether and are going class-to-class. Regardless, your fitness studio is thinking about it and planning for it.
Be on the lookout for re-introductory offers if you’re already a client of the studio. There’s a chance you may get a week free just for coming back, or other perks we all love.
If you’re considering a new studio, this could prove to be the most ideal time. We taught you why it’s the perfect time to try a different exercise during COVID-19 and shelter-in-place orders, but now it’s time to put those learning to IRL use. Reduced pricing for new members, and other introductory offers that seem too good to be true will be on display for you.
The check-in process will get a complete reevaluation and revamp. As mentioned, it’s not going to be uncommon for physical contact to be all but obsolete post-COVID-19. Studios will be very cognizant of crowding in the main lobby area and may work to eliminate all possible physical touchpoints. This is where booking ahead of time, through Mindbody is going to come in extra handy. We talked about reduced class sizes, and if you don’t book in advance, there’s a chance you won’t get into a class or the gym. Even salons and spas are talking about the “death of the walk-in,” and this is no different.
Pre-booking of classes may be required to limit crowding and contact at the front desk. Just keep that in mind and be sure to book in advance.
Keep in mind that your faves want your feedback on pre-booking and check-ins. John and Sierra Tarkington of Threshold Climbing and Fitness in Oklahoma City re-defined how their climbing gym operates, including pre-booking and creating zones for the climbing areas of the gym—all based on feedback from members. “We got really lucky and received stellar feedback for this first week of being open to our members—because we were able to think through a lot of those details.”
Let’s no sugarcoat it, okay. We’re all adults here. Regardless of what you think about all of this, there’s a chance that a second wave of COVID-19 may be coming. While that is less than ideal, the silver lining here is your studios are now very much more prepared for it to hit, as are you.
“Now that we know what to do during a temporary closure, we have a plan in place if we need to do it again,” McAlister says. “We really hope that doesn’t happen but we’re ready—and hope our clients are too—if it does.”
You now know what works and what doesn’t, as do your fitness studios, when you’re forced to shelter-in-place, and they are forced to temporarily closing and reopening your business. Hey, we might not need to plan for this at all! Wouldn’t that be good? But, just in case, do plan. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
It seems like we’re all starting to reintroduce ourselves to the “real world,” whatever that means anymore. Whether you’re diving headfirst into your routines and chomping at the bit to get back to the studio, or are dipping one toe in at a time and taking baby steps back out into society, there’s no wrong way to do it.
Just remember some key things:
• Be patient
• Keep your distance and be respectful of others
• Show your studios some extra love
• Be well!
Let’s do this.
BONUS: If you’re a studio looking to reopen but need a little help, check out this free resource - Reboot Kit: How to Reopen Your Fitness Business Post COVID-19.
It’s safe to say, the way we conquer our daily routines has changed drastically over the last few months. The way we perform our jobs, how we socialize—even the way we workout—have flipped from in-person, group settings to virtual platforms to keep us safe and healthy. There's no denying that navigating this new normal has certainly come with its ups and downs, to say the least. In fact, a recent survey revealed one-third of Americans said this pandemic has caused more stress and anxiety in their lives, which isn’t surprising given the circumstances.
With anxiety levels at a high, people need relaxation, self-care, and movement more than ever. Enter yoga.
Yoga has long been touted for its amazing ability to calm the mind and help folks stay in-tune with their body—which is probably why more and more people are embracing an at-home practice.
Whether you’re looking for a powerful Vinyasa class to help kickstart your morning or yearning for a gentle, evening flow to wind down after a busy workday, taking a yoga class is now more accessible than ever. With 91% of group fitness studios offering or planning to offer live stream and/or on-demand classes, those who are ready to get their asana on have plenty of yoga classes to try all over the country.
While there’s no place like om, most of us could go for a little virtual vacation right now. I know I could! Ready to get a taste of what yoga classes are like all over the country? Here are the U.S. cities with the most virtual yoga classes available.
It seems poetic that Chicago hits our number one spot on this list because it was the first city in America that was introduced to yoga back in 1893. Swami Vivekananda presented yoga at the World Parliament of Religions and made a speech on the concept of body, spirit, and mind. It seems the presentation made a lasting impression on the city.
Try getting your Zen on with one of these studios:
• The Lab Yoga
• Bottom Line Yoga
• Bare Feet Power Yoga
Everyone knows that Washington DC is where you can visit some of the world’s most famous monuments, memorials, and museums. But you may be surprised to learn that it also offers one of the most robust libraries of virtual classes to help yogis sample some classes at the nation’s capital.
Houston is one of the most culturally diverse cities in America—in fact, you can folks speaking 145 different languages and thousands of restaurants serving up food from more than 70 countries. If those facts have you working up quite an appetite, feel free to indulge. They also have plenty of virtual yoga classes available to help you torch some calories.
Did you know one of the first businesses to open in the City of Brotherly Love was a brewery in 1683? If you’re familiar with the ever-evolving trends of yoga, then you have most likely heard of or participated in beer yoga sesh. Get ready to try yoga the Philly way by cracking a cold one and doing some downward dogs in the comfort of your own home at the end of the day.
New York City is home to 8.4 million people, making it the most densely populated city in the entire nation. With that many people, you know there must be a ton of yogis looking to relax from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Start spreading the news and flowing with some of the most dedicated yogis in the U.S.—there are a ton of virtual yoga classes to choose from in the Big Apple.
Get ready to make some virtual yoga neighbors. Did you know that Columbus, Ohio is considered the heart of the country? The reason for that is because nearly half of the America’s residents live within a 600-mile radius of the city. Ready to put your heart and soul into your at-home yoga practice? Then check out what this city has to offer virtually.
San Diego is known as one of the happiest cities in America—mainly because of the beautiful weather, picturesque beaches, and the abundance of yoga classes available. While a vacation to this area may not be in the books for this year, you can certainly flow with the best of them by booking a virtual class at a San Diego studio.
This list is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the yoga studios offering virtual classes to help you stay fit, healthy, and calm during the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope these offerings inspire you to either start a new at-home practice or are helping you seasoned yogis continue your path to wellness. Interested in seeing what other cities are hosting a bevy of online yoga classes? The options on Mindbody are endless—literally!