As you can probably imagine, I’ve been inundated over the past 48 hours not just with reopening logistics but with questions from members on this topic.  And you’ve asked some good questions so I’d like to answer them here.  At Saturday night’s 5pm Drinks with Coach we’ll do a more complete Q&A and if we’re lucky a few of our medical professionals may even be there to answer pressing questions.  Today HeeHee and I shot an reopening orientation video which you can view below, it may address several questions you may be harbouring.

Q: Can I come to classes if a member of my household is sick but tested negative for COVID-19?
A: Yes, absolutely.  Sorry for not clarifying.  If you are in contact with sick people that are known to not be positive for COVID-19 you should be able to attend in-gym classes.  But if you are in contact with sick people who have not yet been tested or if you yourself have symptoms and have not yet been tested, please refrain from attending classes.  There will be no burpee penalty given for late cancellation.  We will remove your next 14 days’ worth of bookings but if you test negative you may return to in gym classes sooner. 

Q: If everyone is encouraged to use the hand sanitizer at the entrance, doesn’t that make it the most likely place to share an infection?
A: Not if you use the dispenser correctly, because you touch the dispenser before the sanitizer touches you.  The sanitizer will kill anything you may have picked up on the dispenser if you use the sanitizer properly for 20 seconds as per guidelines and refrain from touching the dispenser again after disinfecting.  

Q: Will there be individual disinfecting spray bottles and wipes at each work space for equipment and work space cleaning?
A: Yes, Fierce has already supplied these for each station (see video orientation)!

Q: Will coaches or members be encouraged to wear face masks? Doing so would undoubtedly reduce the possibility of airborne transmission.
A: No.  Not recommended.  Actually counterproductive, our medical professionals advise against.  Dr. T in particular has researched this subject thoroughly in preparation for reopening his dental clinic tomorrow going so far as to take a course on the subject.  Even the masks that do work are subject to human error and provide minimal protection while disproportionately increasing your sense of security.  Hand washing and not touching your face is still by far your best defense.

A correction.  As well as being an MD and emergency doctor Mr. Fantastic has a PhD in epidemiology, bio-statistics and public health and serves on several committees responsible for studying COVID-19 in BC.  In his words: “We swabbed 3,000 people in Coastal health over the last week or two, and had 2 positives.  And this is symptomatic people for the most part. “
D-Knee correctly called out a mathematical error from my previous blog post for which I must apologize.  I wrote that based on this Mr. F saw a 0.00067% rate of COVID when it should have read 0.067%.  It’s either a very big difference or just a couple 0’s depending on how well you understand math.  You can guess which camp I fall into.  I apologize for misrepresenting the numbers.  The intended message remains the same: incidence of COVID-19 in the population served by Coastal Health – even among folks presenting with COVID-like symptoms – remains very low.

Let us be clear, we are implementing every safety precaution that we reasonably can to ensure your safety but we cannot eliminate all risks.  If you do not yet feel safe about the procedures we have in place, please continue attending via Zoom WODs or join us for some WODs in the park.

Q: Are you saying that if I need to cancel within 8 hours of class time, or if I don’t show up for any reason, I will be forbidden from attending an in-gym class for 2 weeks?
A: Not exactly.  If you do not show up for good reason (worrisome symptoms in you or your household) we will remove all your advance bookings for the next 14 days.  When you are 14 days symptom free or have received a negative COVID-19 test, you may once again register for in-gym classes.  If you do not show up for other reasons (you slept in, didn’t feel like it or you forgot) we will remove all your advance bookings for 14 days.  You may re-register for classes at any time but you will have lost your priority status.  Given that there are only 6 spots available in any given class and someone missed out on a workout because you booked that spot it is only fair to other members wait listed for classes that they get to take your spot in upcoming classes. Please be considerate of other members!

Q: How will you ensure fairness in reserving the 6 available spots? Maybe a lottery system?
A: Registration is now open and spots still remain, start booking classes now.  Lottery system sounds great and sounds like a nightmare to administer.  A surprising number of members are currently opting to continue on Zoom or outdoor WODs so hopefully everyone who wants to get in the gym will be able to do so.  Less popular times like noon and 9:15am rarely had more than 6 people pre-COVID and we can always add more noon or 9:15am classes to our schedule if they do start filling up.  The challenging times to get into the gym will be 5am, 6am and 5pm classes.  We hope we can accommodate everyone but we will monitor the situation and decide if some intervention is needed.  But if you’re someone who is in the habit of waiting until the last moment to sign up for classes, you will struggle to get into peak times.

Q: I’m confused about the equipment loan policy. If I sign up for an in-gym class that has rowing for example, where will I find a rower if you’re encouraging members to hang on to equipment? Same question for any workout that requires a barbell and weights. Your policy is worded such that only members attending in-gym classes are required to return borrowed equipment. If I didn’t already borrow the equipment, who will provide it for my in-gym class? If someone returns a rower for an in-gym class, are you encouraging them to return home with the rower after the class?
A: People planning on returning to in-gym WODs are asked to permanently return key pieces of equipment to the gym this week so that we can outfit 6 workout stations.  We will make sure we have enough equipment for 6 people to work out in the gym commencing Monday the 25th.  You may have to use an airbike instead of a rower sometimes but there will be a cardio machine of some kind at your station.  There will also be a barbell and weights though we can’t guarantee RX’d weights for every WOD.  It might take us a week or two to figure it out but I believe we will be able to make sure everyone gets a great – if not quite perfect – workout.

Q: What if I bring my equipment in because I want to train in the gym sometimes but other times I want to train at home, and now I have no equipment?
A: That’s right, and now someone in the gym who hasn’t had access to the equipment you’ve had at your house the past 2 months gets to use it.  In fact, many people do.  It sounds pretty fair to me.  We just don’t have enough equipment that every Empower member can have a full set at home and at the gym.  I personally haven’t worked out with a rowing machine, barbell, dumbbell or kettlebell for more than eight weeks because I thought it was more important that you get the equipment you need to keep training.  Over those weeks I’ve shot lots of footage on how to improvise WODs without any equipment at all.  Whether you’re training in the gym, on Zoom or out in the park, we’re all going to need to continue improvising a bit for the time being.

Next week’s reopening will see us enter another transition period.  It may prove challenging but at least this time it is challenging in a positive direction!  We do not expect it to be perfectly smooth; we do expect a learning curve as we develop new best practices to help you adjust to our changing reality.  Since March we’ve made every decision and set every policy in consultation with our knowledgeable medical pros and feel we are very fortunate as a community to have great level-headed and educated guidance.

We encourage you to keep the comments, questions and suggestions coming.  We’re blessed with a community of very smart individuals and you have never failed to come up with brilliant solutions to the challenges facing us.  While we can’t implement every great idea, we do consider them all!  We’ll forge ahead trusting that trial and error will help us discern the safest, most effective, and most efficient  means of continuing to serve you!  Your feedback helps!!!

Reopening Orientation

Tuesday WOD
Warm up
1 min pass throughs
1 min full rock
1 min back lunge
1 min pass through
1 min plank in push up position
1 min hip swings
1 min squatted pass through
1min full rock
1 min front squat

Deadlift- Hang Clean- thruster

20 min EMOM
5 deadlifts
5 thrusters
Barbell 95/65
Dumbbell 50/35

Note thruster should be moderate weight
Post object and weight in notes