By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
BAHAMAS Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation president Joel Stubbs said while it’s been a difficult ordeal for gym operators to be closed to the public, he can understand the concerns of health officials because of the lack of protocol procedures that the patrons exhibit.
“On return to the gym, I couldn’t help but notice the many gym clientele who’ve decided to workout mask free,” Stubbs said. “That was just too overwhelming for the naked eyes considering that the gyms were not following the health protocols that are established.
“I spoke with persons encountered in the gym trying to help them understand with everyone breathing in and out, huffing and puffing during strenuous activity, without wearing a mask, the potential to contract or spread coronavirus is very high, especially with the potential of asymptomatic persons who have been scientifically found to have the same viral load as symptomatic covid-19 persons.”
Having observed the crisis of the coronavirus pandemic from a national prospective, Stubbs said it’s obvious that the numbers are escalating exponentially, so with that being said, the virus will find its way in the gym facilities if it hasn’t already.
“It is mind-boggling and completely senseless to see persons walking into the gym foyer with a mask on, check-in, proceed to the weight floor and then remove the mask to get their sweat on around others, when these persons could potentially be asymptomatic,” Stubbs said.
“The virus being equally spread opportunistically through asymptomatic individual’s who have the same viral load as symptomatic individuals, we must be mindful that one of the reasons for the opening of gyms having been delayed is because of the known factor that according to international data, gyms are among the most contagious places and therefore require the most scrutiny once open to keep its members aware of the hazards they present to each other, and the protocols required to keep the workout areas clean, sanitized and safe.”
Stubbs, a pilot by profession, said one of the downsides of a potential outbreak of the coronavirus is that those facilities where the outbreak has occurred will have to close for deep cleaning and sanitising once it gets in the gym.
“With the reopening afterwards, there is no telling whether persons will feel comfortable and or compelled to return. That, as you very well know, will be bad for business and their owners,” he stated. “Overall, negative publicity and further lockdown will be damning for that business and the local gym scene.”
As the BBFF president, a certified personal trainer, coach, a sports enthusiast and a retired professional athlete, Stubbs provided the following suggestions to assist in the combat of the coronavirus:
1) Wear your mask during workouts.
“As I’ve been doing it since the reopening, whenever you feel starved for air, head over to an area free from traffic where it is comfortable for you to lower your mask quickly to enjoy a few deep inhalations of fresh air,” he said. “Then return to your workstation.”
2) Use a towel once you’ve sanitised the work equipment before exercising.
“Mark your towel using one side to lay on the machine and the other side for contact with your body,” he continued.
3) While using cardio machines, every other treadmill should be vacant to allow social distancing.
“It is preferable to do cardio in the outdoors, where the natural breeze will dissipate the viral load being respired into the environment,” Stubbs said. “For others selecting to utilise the cardio machines, make sure only family members occupy the device next to you. For any other person, make sure that there is some distance between the both of you.”
For what it’s worth, Stubbs said this is just his concerns for the health and well-being of all gym members and also for all gyms’ ability to remain open and provide a spot for us to train effectively and enjoy the fitness lifestyle.
He summed up: “Don’t trust anyone. Please protect life and wear a mask.