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Coronavirus: Manitobans getting back to the gym

Tips for heading back to the gym
As gyms reopen in Manitoba, it’s best to take it slow when you return, even if you were staying active during the closures. Amber McGuckin reports.

As part of the Manitoba government’s Phase 2 of the reopening plan, gyms across the province could reopen with some adjustments on Monday.

Margo Morberg-Berry was there the first chance she could.

“I’m very excited to be back at the gym. It brings back a little bit of normalcy in my life and it’s great to see everyone,” she said. 

“It was hard mentally.”

READ MORE: Manitoba gyms, fitness centres prepare to reopen according to COVID-19 rules

Morberg-Berry has been an avid gym goer for years and has been going to the Brickhouse Gym for the past six years.

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When gyms closed, she had to make adjustments but still found ways to meet with her trainer on Zoom calls.

“I did a lot of Pilates, a lot of body exercises,” she said.  

“I didn’t just sit on the couch and eat pizza; I actually got up and did something.”

Brickhouse Gyms owner Paul Taylor says even if you were staying active during the closures of gyms, it’s best to take it slow when you return.

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“My advice is to treat it like you’re coming off a layoff because that’s exactly what you’re doing. Take your volume and your intensity, so the weights you lift and the duration of time you do it and cut it in half,” he said.

“Maybe that first week or two back, trim it way back and just enjoy the fact that you can stimulate yourself with things that are different than what you’re doing at home. Take it slow — you don’t want to all of a sudden injure yourself and not be able to work out for another three months for a worse reason.”

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Local trainer shows GNM self-isolation easy exercises
Local trainer shows GNM self-isolation easy exercises

Taylor says you can still push yourself and get active outside of the gym.

“If you’re still just working out at home there’s lots of stuff you can do if you’re not comfortable coming back to the gym yet. There’s bodyweight exercises, it’s beautiful out you can go out for a run or jog or sprints, walk your dog. You can never do too many burpees, push-ups or squats.”

For gyms to reopen, the province has a number of requirements online from a booking system, disinfecting equipment by staff between blocks, screening people for symptoms, physical distancing and limiting occupancy to 50 per cent. 

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“We’ve had to temporarily suspend our 24-hour access. People have to book times to go to the gym… you have to be a little bit more organized, you can’t just show up when you want at this point,” Taylor said.

“Change rooms and shower rooms are off-limits right now. You come dressed for doing your thing. When you come in, there’s a sign in protocol and make sure everyone is sanitizing.”

READ MORE: The gym will be one of the toughest spaces to reopen, experts say

Every person who goes to the gym also has their own spray bottle to sanitize equipment before and after use. Staff is also doing more regular cleaning between time slots to ensure all the touchpoints are cleaned.

“Normally if someone had a cold back in the day and they came to the gym it’s not the end of the world, just clean your equipment and try not to cough in anyone’s face, now if you’re remotely sick you can’t come.”

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