Coronavirus Canada Updates: Alberta fitness studios confused by COVID-19 restrictions on group classes

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UMC Covid vaccine registration: appointments Tuesday at 6 pm
UMC Covid vaccine registration: appointments Tuesday at 6 pm

The Alberta government’s recent COVID-19 restrictions are impacting smaller fitness studios and many owners admit is a bit confusing.

According to new health guidelines announced Tuesday, gyms all group classes aren’t allowed. Fitness studios, like Revive Lifestyle Fitness, can’t do group training or semi-private training. Owner Mike Du said they are only allowed to conduct one on ones, if a coach is involved.

He says the problem is gyms can still have a group of members working out together, physically distanced. The trainer has to be kept outside the room. For Du, the logic doesn’t make sense.

“It’s hard for us to understand, part of it is about the coach pushing people in a way that’s high intensity and breathing hard,” Du said. “But there’s nothing stopping people from doing that if we put 12 people in there working out on their own.”

Guidelines don’t allow even a handful of participants to be led by a professional, even if it’s fewer numbers than a group without a trainer.

“As long as you have a group bigger than one you can’t have a coach present,” Du said.

These new rules are contradictory to the whole fitness model of some studios, ones that rely on the motivation of a trainer. Tricia McDonald owns Orangetheory Fitness in Airdrie.

“Typically we would have 24 people in here. But in this location we are capping it at 10 to 12 people per session,” McDonald said. “That means they are always physically distanced in the class. But there’s nobody coaching you into it anymore, so you have to essentially coach yourself.”

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