Safely Return to the gym after COVID-19

These are crazy and potentially scary times. How do we return to the gym safely after the COVID-19 Quarantine?

How to return to the gym safely after the COVID-19 Quarantine. 

I get asked a ton now how to return to the gym safely. This is a crazy time to live in. Nobody can deny that. And as time progresses, people will be returning to the gym to workout again, but many are wondering how do we return to the gym safely after the COVID-19 Quarantine and Social Distancing mandates?

I can’t tell you when gyms are going to open after the COVID-19 Quarantine. That’s still a huge mystery across the globe. Some US states are reopening gyms, some are opening in limited fashion, some haven’t opened at all yet. 

Just this week, Governor Inslee in my home state of Washington announced a required Mask mandate in public. It’s unclear how this will affect gyms at the time of this writing, but our situation is always changing. There’s also fears and threats that in some areas, the reopening processes are being reversed as different counties face second waves of the COVID-19 virus. 

I can’t say exactly how things are going to open up. However, I can share some strategies on how to return to the gym safely as they reopen in your area. 

Now, if you follow my YOUTUBE CHANNEL (which, as an aside, you should totally subscribe to), you may have seen the below video last month with 5 strategies on how to return to the gym safely. I still stand by those 5 tips, but I do want to expand on it a little. 

Video with 5 tips on how to safely return to the gym after COVID-19. And I look like SUBZERO

So the 5 tips from the above video were 

  1. Focus on ratio of Home workouts vs Gym Workouts
  2. Minimize equipment and space used
  3. Shrink the workout duration
  4. Choose your gym carefully 
  5. Choose the more appropriate mode of exercise at the gym

I expand on those in the video above, so make sure to watch if you haven’t. 

But there are 3 more points we can consider as we safely return to the gym. 


Yeah, you know it had to come up, so let’s do it right away. The hottest debate of the decade will rear its head in the gym. And I am making a hard stance that you should, ABSOLUTELY, be wearing a mask during your workout. 

I’m not the only one that thinks that as well. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the fitness and bodybuilding icon, recently made headlines because he refused to enter his Gold’s Gym in Venice, CA when he was informed the staff were not enforcing mask usage. 

I can hear it now. There will be complaints about it being uncomfortable, you’re breathing faster and your face gets hot, it’s more moist on your mouth when you wear a mask, you’re afraid of breathing in your own Carbon Dioxide, yadda yadda yadda. 

Look, we have to acknowledge the purpose behind the mask. It is NOT to keep the wearer safe or block the virus from reaching you while you wear it. It is to keep asymptomatic carriers from sharing the virus with other people. AND IT WORKS!

In a hair salon in Missouri, where they returned after the quarantine, two hairstylists ended up testing positive for COVID-19. They were in close proximity with over 140 customers, and because of masks, NOBODY CAUGHT IT FROM THE HAIRSTYLISTS. Wear the mask because it works. 

The CDC Recommends you wear a mask, Arnold wants you to wear a mask, and I want you to wear the mask. 

“But Steven! What about breathing in my own CO2? Won’t I get sick?” 

Not likely. 

You have to breathe in a HIGH level of CO2 to cause harm to yourself. Unless the mask is suction cupped to your face, your odds of strangulation or hypercapnia is nil. 

Take into account the surgeons who perform 11+ hour surgeries in masks, the home repair contractors who work in masks, and the old trend of the elevation mask training where certain athletes trained for hours in restrictive masks during ultra high intensity workouts, and all in all I’d say you’re pretty safe with the mask on during your 30-45minute workout. 

“Ugh, but it’s so inconvenient and uncomfortable!” 

Yeah, so is almost everything else about the return to the gym and working out, but you do it anyway, Sunshine. Inconvenience and discomfort are part of the game, and I believe this time of added inconvenience will give you more strength to create lasting habit change. So don’t worry about the inconvenience. Or as David Goggins shares, EMBRACE THE SUCK


I hate saying this one because I truthfully love group fitness classes. They’re friggin fun!

I don’t think they’re the most optimal route to reaching your exact goals by themselves, but they absolutely complement a personalized plan, add variety to fill in fitness gaps, increase social support and community, and they make the fitness journey more fun. 

But now is not the right time. 

We can take each of the elements that make group fitness classes great and experience them in a way that is safe as we return to the gym after the COVID-19 Quarantine. 

The reality is, a room full of 20-30 people huffing and puffing is a high risk environment at this time. I don’t encourage you to participate in them. 

Now, let’s look at what Group Fitness Classes do well! 

Variety of Workouts:

You can get these same group fitness classes online for free on YouTube. I have an ONLINE PERSONAL TRAINING client that supplements her personalized workout plan with MIXXEDFIT workouts she finds on YouTube. Another complements with PopSugar Cardio classes. I personally do a lot of YouTube yoga videos provided by SarahBethYoga

You can get these same workouts that you find in group classes on YouTube these days. You don’t need to return to the gym for group classes yet.

Community and Accountability:

The friends you went to your group fitness classes with can still do the same workout at the same time with you. Set up a club, text each other and talk about it. Share it. 

With Digital technology, we can build a community that is almost as good without the need to congregate in unsafe spaces. 

Ditch the traditional personal training model

Personal Training is INCREDIBLE! But you will need to be in close proximity to someone who is in close proximity with a dozen other people all day in a truthfully dirty environment (I’ve worked in almost 10 gyms over my career… Yeah, they are kind of gross…). 

You’re just really likely to run into a lot of cross contamination working with a personal trainer right now. 

Add in that I personally believe the traditional personal training experience is wildly lacking, and you get a strong call to ditch the traditional personal training model as we return safely to the gym after the COVID-19 Quarantine. 

Instead of the traditional model, I strongly recommend ONLINE PERSONAL TRAINING which delivers personalized workouts, individualized nutrition coaching, continual healthy lifestyle education, and daily support and accountability at about half the cost of a single personal training session. 

Putting all 8 of those strategies in place should help you live a healthier, happier life as we safely return to the gym after the COVID-19 Quarantines. 

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