Local Gyms Resume Offering Workouts — Now In Parking Lots

Firm Athletics in Locust Valley has begun offering outdoor, distanced spin classes amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (Photo courtesy of Sofia Christopoulous.)

Firm Athletics in Locust Valley found a creative ways to continue amid the pandemic.

Firm Athletics in Locust Valley has worked to adapt in order to function safely during the ongoing pandemic.

The studio shut down March 16 and began offering online content, “but at the end of the day, there’s nothing like being with your peers in a class,” General Manager Sofia Christopoulos told Patch in a phone interview.

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo released the state’s guidelines for reopening, Christopoulos said that the team at Firm decided it would offer outdoor classes once Phase 3 was implemented in Nassau County.

“We were trying to figure out what we could do that was safe and also, we really wanted to get all our members back into fitness,” Christopoulos said. “Our top priority was that everyone, including our staff, felt safe and that it was the right time.”

She added that, “we feel that fitness should be your choice. If you feel comfortable going to a gym and working out, you should be able to do so as long as all the precautions are taken.”

At Firm, which has begun offering outdoor distanced spin classes for the past several weeks, those precautions are robust, according to Christopoulos. Stationary bikes are spaced out 10 feet apart in the parking lot; all class participants have their temperatures taken upon arrival; each bike is sanitized by the studio’s maintenance team before and after use; and all staff members wear masks and gloves while moving around the space. In addition, classes are charged on an individual basis, so studio members and nonmembers alike are welcome to join.

“It’s really up to you,” she said. “And that’s what we really believe in, that fitness should be a choice.”

Starting this week, Firm is also offering spin and strength training combination classes, during which participants will do a spin session and a dumbbell workout on their bikes. Before the start of each class, Christopoulos said that the studio will reach out to everyone signed up to determine the two dumbbell weights they would be most comfortable with so that as soon as they arrive, their stations are set up with their weights.

“We’re slowly peppering in new elements to see what everyone is comfortable with,” Christopoulos said, adding that the studio has sought feedback from members to gauge what they would like to see offered.

So far, the studio has seen strong support from community members for its initiatives. Spin classes have been completely full for the past three weeks, Christopoulos said, and this week’s classes are also totally booked.

“People are craving camaraderie and craving fitness and craving the exercise environment however they can get it,” she said. “Everybody just wants to work out and do the best that they can to keep their bodies healthy. I think the best way to combat everything that’s going on, whether it’s stress-related or this sickness, is to make sure your body is in the best shape and health that it can be. So the feedback has been phenomenal.”

The shift to outdoor classes has also allowed Firm to reemploy its instructors, most of whom are independent contractors, Christopoulos said. “Now that we’re able to do things outdoors, we can run a schedule and we can give them back their jobs.”

“Everyone just has a great time outside. It’s a different energy, blasting music in the parking lot, and everyone just having fun and happy to be there. We take the gym for granted sometimes,” she said, but “we’re really lucky with our community. They’re super into the gym and just happy to be back in whatever capacity that they can be.”