GREENSBORO, N.C. — The number one priority when gyms in North Carolina reopen this month is safety! The state will require fitness centers to deep-clean, sanitize, and enforce strict social distancing measures, following the CDC's guidelines.
Greensboro's AWOL Fitness has revolutionized the way fitness is being offered by putting extra safety precautions in place and ensuring every workout is a clean and safe experience for members.
Owner Lynch Hunt calls it, the future of fitness.
"We could not wait for an executive order to come up with a plan on how we were going to reopen. We had to go get the information so we could bring it back to our members and figure out the safest way to physically reopen the gym when it was safe to do so," said Hunt.
In seven days, Hunt built an online business to continue to service clients.
"We are going to continue to virtually train people. This is going to be the future of fitness. When you make an adjustment you have to keep the adjustment," said Hunt. "Now we're just adding to it!"
When AWOL welcomes members back into the gym during North Carolina's Phase 3 plan, the following protocols will be in place.
Along with temperature checks, multiple hand sanitizing stations, and touch-less check-in, the downtown fitness center has 18, 10-foot by 10-foot spaces sectioned off so each person has their own individual space to work out in.
Each box or zone as we'll call it has all the equipment needed for the workout including monitors so you can follow along with the trainer who is leading the class from another room.
"We are trying to stay in compliance with social distancing with everything that we do, so we even kept our trainer in an entirely different room," said Hunt. "He is going to be training virtually, so he's in another room, and the people are in the gym in their 10 by 10-foot boxes following him on the monitors that we've placed all around the gym," he said.
This socially distanced set up is perfect for anyone anxious to get back in the gym as well as those who are not quite ready to leave home for a workout.
AWOL will live stream each class on Facebook or Zoom, giving members the option of doing the same exact workout at home.
Hunt says his innovative plan is all about transforming the business to meet the need.
"When COVID came we were still in a need to provide our service to our clients and we service a demographic that wasn't going to be able to continue to pay us in the time that they weren't getting our service so our focus was on retention. We had to figure out a way to go from a brick and mortar to an online business," said Hunt. "Now, we are first to this space. We are first to show the world how fitness should be approached for many years to come."
Other policies in place to make a smooth transition back into the gym include a one direction entrance and exit.
"People will go through the front door and exit through the back. There's sanitizer available as they enter and exit, and throughout, but the main thing is people don't have to cross the other people coming in or going out of the gym. They will flow out of another exit without ever coming into contact with other people," said Hunt.
The 30-minute classes will be held basically every hour on the hour starting at 5 a.m. which gives the coaches 30 minutes to disinfect before the next group of 18 arrives.
Whether you're ready to go back to the gym, Hunt says this is the way to do it!
"You have to keep things distanced you have to keep things clean you have to keep things disinfected and you have to bring the service wherever the need is and that's something we had to figure out during the time that we were shut down," said Hunt.
Gyms are part of North Carolina's Phase 3 reopening plan which is set to take effect Friday, June 26th.
When AWOL Fitness reopens, classes will be capped at 18 and spots will be offered by reservation only. Online classes will run as normal. You can learn more about AWOL Fitness by clicking here. Be sure to click on the videos for the fitness center's virtual tour.