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Why I Decided To Go Back To The Gym

Updated: Sep 21, 2020

Mei Qun talks about her time back at the gym to get fit again. But are all the SOPs enough?

Each time I check in at the gym the MYSEJAHTERA app tells me that it is High Risk. So, why do I go?

During the initial stages of the Movement Control Order, I scheduled regular online training sessions with my personal trainer at home. Somehow it is not the same. Sure, I have my kettle bells and strength-training band but it is not the same.

My trainer cannot correct my posture virtually. I cannot increase my weights because I don’t have enough equipment. My routine was limited by the equipment or lack of equipment.

So, when gyms were allowed to re-open under the Recovery MCO I wanted to go back. Online training is a stop-gap but it is not the real thing.

But truth be told I was afraid. What convinced me? My gym’s SOPs.

Before COVID-19, my gym was packed. There were group classes and Personal Training (PT) sessions.

The scenario changed dramatically post MCO.

  • Group classes are off the table -- indefinitely.

  • Only four clients and their trainers are allowed at any given hour and their respective training areas are spaced out in line with physical distancing.

  • There is a half-hour break between each PT session for re-sanitisation. Having said that all equipment is sanitized as one goes along

  • While clients are not required to, trainers have to wear masks. For my personal peace of mind, I wear a face shield

  • Shower rooms and common water dispensers are off limits

So, I returned to the gym – complete with face shield, personal sanitizer, water bottle and towels. And here’s my routine at the gym…

  • Shower at home before I set off

  • Wash my hands before I enter the main training area

  • Sanitise, sanitise, sanitise – before and after each routine – my hands, the bench, the dumbbells, the bars – well, basically everything I touch

  • Wash my hands when I leave the gym

  • Shower the moment I reach home

Honestly, it is quite pleasant to train at the gym now. There are sessions when it is only my trainer and I. I am pleased to say that my movement range has improved and my strength increased.

On a psychological level, going back to the gym gives me control – to some extent. I can’t control the virus; I can’t control the economic fallout and I certainly cannot control what the future will be. But I can control how hard I want to push myself, how much I want to train and my goals. It gives me a semblance of normalcy.

So, is it worth the anxiety and hassle? Yes!

Is going back to the gym for everyone? Probably not but if you are thinking of it, check your gym’s SOPs and ask lots of questions. And, don’t be afraid to call out anyone who do not follow the SOPs. It’s your right to protect yourself and your fellow gym goers.

Happy training!

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