These Personal Gym Pods Could Be the Future of Group Fitness

Some gyms around the country have reopened from extended closure due to the coronavirus pandemic and little has changed beyond a new dedication to cleanliness and policies to reduce crowd capacity. For others, totally new procedures are in place—or will be, as not all states have passed the public health requirements for reopening just yet—like temperature checks at the door, compulsory mask policies, and strict social distancing practices. Then, there’s Inspire South Bay Fitness in Redondo Beach, California.

The fitness club made headlines with local station KTLA5 after debuting its solution for community training in the age of COVID-19: individual training pods—which gym owner Peet Sapsin dubbed “Gainz Pods” on Instagram—for clients to use to participate in group workout classes while remaining isolated.

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//INSPIRE GAINZ POD ?⁣ ⁣ Reopening our gym @inspiresouthbay is not an easy task. But we are prepared to increase the safety for all of our members against COVID-19 ⛔⁣ ⁣ It took us about 3 days to build our pods. We will have our sanitation and social distancing protocols in place when gyms are allowed to reopen. (no official date yet)⁣ ⁣ We will also continue to host ZOOM classes until we have a vaccination ? This effort is to accommodate our members who prefer to stay at home but still get a good workout if they are not ready to come back in person ?⁣ ⁣ Our class capacity will be limited but we will get creative with our program. No matter what, we've got your back. ? ? #groupfitnessclasses #coreworkouts #hiit #igfitness #motivationalquote #TEAMINSPIRE #Inspiresouthbayfitness #hardwork #champion #redondobeach #manhattanbeach #hermosabeach #homeworkouts #correctmovements

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While the pods might look like a high-tech solution to the problem just about every gym in the country currently faces, they’re made from materials you can find at your local hardware store. The frames are PVC pipes, while the walls are clear shower curtains. Initially, Sapsin was considering plexiglass for the pods, but told KTLA5 that version of the design would have cost more than $10,000.

Within the enclosures, gym members have everything they need to participate in their class, from sets of dumbbells to weight benches—and disinfectant wipes to keep the space clean. Nine people will be allowed to participate at a time, around half of the participants for classes the gym used to cap class capacity at 16.

“For other gyms who aren’t sure how to open things up, hopefully this can give you some ideas to keep your clients safe,” Sapsin said. The gym will also offer Zoom classes for members at home until a vaccine is widely available.

Inspire South Bay Fitness owner Peet Sapsin hosts a group class.

The gym, which reopened on June 15 as part of California’s Phase 3 plan after being closed for three months, will also require members to submit to temperature checks upon entry and Sapsin said all gym staff will wear masks during training sessions.

“It’s been really tough, we weren’t sure if we were gonna [be] able to reopen again,” Sapsin told KTLA5. “But because now that we’ve come up with this solution, it’s a lot more affordable and, now, we can reopen back up a little more safer and healthier for our clients.”

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