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Gyms In Transition

Video credit: WAAY ABC Huntsville, AL
Published on May 27, 2020 -

Gyms In Transition

Dan Shaffer is joined by Blair Morris, of Irontribe fitness in Huntsville, for an extended conversation on what gyms currently look like and will look in a post-coronavirus world.

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Gyms In Transition

Mostly the same with the program that caters to homeworkouts is picking up steam.

Every evening we're taking you deeper and we're joined.

>> thanks for having me on.

>> dan shaffer: i want to know first of all how has this transition back to business been >> man, it's been great.

All of our clients have supported us throughout the last ten weeks.

You know, through the shutdown and getting back into the gym has just been awesome with a lot of measures and safety measures and precautions we put into place.

But people were eager.

People were eager to get back in and have that personal and social interaction that happens in our small group sessions.

>> dan shaffer: it felt like they were wasting away on the couch probably.

[ laughter ] >> a loft of them were.

A lot of them were.

>> dan shaffer: i feel that almost every day.

Did you feel gyms were unfairly targeted in this shutdown and not being allowed to reopen in the first wave?

>> i don't know if unfairly targeted is the right word.

I think the governor just didn't know and, you know, we have to respect our officials, first and foremost.

But gyms police themselves with san face and things like that.

So the first wave had -- they come in and actually talked to the gym owners, we could have shown them the precautions we're taking now.

And we could have opened up with that first wave.

So i think that was just an operation of they didn't know what we could do as small gyms. >> dan shaffer: so let's talk about what's different right now how are you keeping those who use your gym safe?

>> yeah, absolutely.

So normally we run 20-person group sessions.

We have cut that in half.

So now we're running ten.

We also had two trainers that would lead each session.

We've cut that down to one as well.

Each person has their own 7'by 7 foot box on the floor.

We don't share equipment.

That's a big thing.

In between each session the coaches sanitize all the equipment before it gets put up.

The coaches are also wearing a mask while they're on the floor.

We're limiting the number of people that come in and out of the facility, you know, due to the mandate.

We don't have showers running right now.

We also aren't using our water fountains.

And then there's hand sanitizing stations located throughout the gym that our clients can use before and after class.

>> dan shaffer: what do you mean when you say you're not sharing equipment.

How does that work in a gym?

>> absolutely.

Our gym -- in between, during classes, you know, if let's say a client -- >> dan shaffer: i see.

>> if a client grabs a pair of 20-pound bum dumbbells, another client is not going to grab those.

>> dan shaffer: there is a lot of cleaning and sanitation going on in between?

>> absolutely.

We're mopping the floor in between sessions.

We're mopping the floor at night , the full floor at night before we go home.

So a lot of sanitation is going on.

>> dan shaffer: so let's talk about masks.

Again, are they being required, did you mention that?

And how would that affect people breathing?

I mean, it's so vital when you exercise.

>> yeah, absolutely.

Clients are not required to wear masks.

Our coaches that are -- our trainers that are leading the session are because they are becoming in close proximity, within reason, of our clients.

When they come into the gym during the exercise routines our client clients aren't required, no.

That wouldn't be safe.

>> dan shaffer: what's been the reaction from members so senator >> oh, man, coming back in the gym, like i said, they've been eager.

About 75% of our existing clients are already back in the gym.

We have 25% that are utilizing our at-homeworkouts that we were providing and we're going to provide that for probably the foreseeable future.

The fitness industry and our size gyms really turned on a dime.

You know, virtual sessions were not part of our repertoire until they had to be.

So we had to innovate and do it very quickly.

And our clients have loved it.

And so we're going to continue to provide that.

>> dan shaffer: amazing.

We talk to a lot of businesses and it's amazing to see how they've adapted.

Necessity the mother of invention, just to stay in business how many of them have stepped up to really innovate.

>> absolutely.

And i couldn't have done it without my team.

You know, we got the shutdown order and within 24 hours, you know, we had a big team meeting on a tuesday morning.

We were shutting the doors down on wednesday, going live with our first facebook live videos.

And then we've brought in zoom sessions and having more of a personal contact through zoom or personal training approach through zoom.

We've kind of -- we've learned as we went and now it's just -- it's off and rolling and our clients can't be happier.

And they found, the ones that do want to get back in the gym, if life gets in the way and let's say, you know, something happens and their kid gets -- you know, they've got to go pick up their kid or miss their normal training session, they have their opportunity to jump on a facebook live recording and do their homework so that's been a good service.

>> dan shaffer: an that would not have happened had it not been for this crisis, right?

>> absolutely.

Something we have never thought about before.

And our business model and now, you know, we've added a product to our services and it's been wildly successful.

>> dan shaffer: amazing.

So that's one of -- that's one of the ways you survived.

Did you have to take advantage of the paycheck protection program, for instance?

>> we did.

We did.

That was just to ensure that we were able to keep everybody on staff.

You know, i will give -- i will say our clients supported us throughout.

We did not lose very many clients, you know, due to the -- the situation that we're in.

And i myself and my team are forever grateful for that.

But we did apply and get the payroll protection that has, you know, helped us and will help us as we grow back to where we were >> dan shaffer: sure.

You held a free workout on facebook live last month, i understand.

How did that go?

And are more events like that being planned?

>> yeah, absolutely.

It went off great.

You know, our goal was to have 1 ,000 views.

I think we have about 100 to 125 actual live viewers and then it has since grown.

We hit our mark of having 1,000 people actually watch that video and that's something we're going to build on.

I think people need it and i think people want it.

Especially with, you know, as we ease back into some sense of normalcy, you know, virtual training is here, and it's here to stay.

>> dan shaffer: has -- has anyone been concerned about returning do the -- to the actual gym and if anyone is worried ability going into a gym during these times what would you say to them.

>> yeah, we have some clientele that are in the high risk age category.

You know, anybody a couple of clients over 60 that have decided they wanted to stay home and completely respect that and, you know, they're utilizing our tools.

You know, i would say returning back to the gym, you know, whether with us or, you know, wherever you died to work out.

Just make sure that your gym is following all the safety protocols and sanitizing.

You know, maintain, you know, proper social distancing.

You know, we all love to high five and give hugs and all that.

That's not -- that's not kosher right now.

So biggest thing is just make sure, you know, maintaining safety.

>> dan shaffer: look ahead to the future.

Now what do you see?

I mean, you mentioned some of the changes and some of these online classes will remain.

What else?

>> yeah.

Oh, man, i think the fitness industry right now is, you know, in limbo.

We really don't know what the future is going to hold.

You know, you're going to have a section of the population that, you know, wants to be back into a physical facility and then you're going to have a section, you know, that doesn't.

That wants to do the virtual and stay-at-home things.

And all fitness owners and gym owners, they're going to have to adapt.

And i think the next six, six months is really going to tell, you know, where the -- our industry is going.

But right now it's a lot of unknown.

>> dan shaffer: well, best of look.

Blair morris, iron tribe

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