Remember full classes, sharing equipment for a partner workout, hanging out after class> Remember going to local establishments for live music and happy hour? Remember fun get togethers after a tough workout for the holidays, complete with grilling, potlucks, and a beer? Remember working out without a mask?

Recently I have had to make my peace with the fact that at this point there just isn’t such a thing as “getting back to normal.”  So much has changed this year, and we still aren’t through to the other side. Back to normal just isn’t a reality, we must now move forward and find our new normal. (And quite honestly, that could very well be a good thing!)

There’s nothing more we want than to see people in classes high fiving each other before a workout, sharing in the misery of a partner workout, and hanging around the gym after class to catch up with your gym friends. We want you to hurry back from a run outside to get the prime spot on the pull-up bars.

Oh, how we want this.

We know physical activity plays a big part in mental health. We know fit people use wellness as a hedge against sickness.  We know a healthy population uses fewer medical resources overall. We want to be active in the solution, not adding to the problem.

As gym owners, we worked hard at getting our reopening procedures in front of the right people so that we could safely open our doors and continue to provide our services. We’ve followed all of the recommended procedures for safety (many times going above and beyond) as we struggle as a society to get things under control.

We may have had to limit class sizes and offerings, but we gave each athlete their own space and their own equipment. We’ll continue to share only stories and a whiteboard for right now. We’ll substitute high fives and sweaty hugs for air fives and a knowing smile.

We’ve made new cleaning solution and we’ll wipe everything once, twice, and again. We’ve asked you to stay home if you’re not feeling great. We’ve asked you to sacrifice a bit to make sure everyone could get to the gym so we don’t get overcrowded.  And we will all wash our hands – my goodness will we wash our hands!

While we expected to see many changes, we weren’t sure if they were temporary or part of our new normal. And to be honest, we still aren’t really sure where we will land. We didn’t expect to walk right back in where we left off – as a business or as athletes.

One thing is constant though – whether in person or virtually, your community will always be here to support you, share your successes, and celebrate. We will cheer for you when you ring that PR Bell. And someday we’ll get back to those big, fun Saturday workouts, in house competitions, and Open workouts.

We’ll soon be talking non-stop about that sucky workout and how much thrusters suck instead of a virus or the current political state of things. Your gym will continue to be your third place – or maybe even your second if your work and home are now the same place.

We’re here for the less good times, too. Your place to beat a tire with a sledgehammer as long as you need to. To drop a bar with gusto because it was a bad night or a bad morning or just because. To lift heavy stuff to clear your mind. Or to work so hard in a workout that your brain can’t remember what it was upset about. A place to safely vent anger, frustration, and fear.

The workouts we do at the gym have a way of chipping off the armor. Leaving us real, and raw. We get to know each other in ways that are intimate and personal and because of it we share more inside the gym that we ever would anywhere else in public. We become family.

We do this better than anyone else.  Better than a globo gym, better than a boot camp, better than a streaming video. I know because we’ve been doing this over 6 years. Thousands of family members have passed through our gym doors and taken a bit of us and left a bit of them. Walking through the doors these days is a bit different, but change can be (and often times is) good.

Things will never be the same “as before.” But I promise everything will always be OK, even if it is different than it used to be. Change can be good, if we let it.

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