Masking up to work out: What to know when you go back to the gym

Dumbbells Gyms
Posted at 5:59 PM, Aug 19, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — After over five months, it's just a matter of days until gyms can reopen in New York. Detailed guidance from the state has shed light on what's going to look different the next time you go work out:

  • All gyms must operate at 1/3 of their normal capacity.
    • This includes group classes such as spin and yoga.
    • Outdoor classes are recommended, not required.
  • All gyms must require sign-ins for all patrons in order to help with contact tracing.
  • All gym goers must wear a mask for the duration of their workout.
    • Masks are not required in pools.
    • They can be briefly lowered to eat or drink.

But the mandate for masks is raising concern for some trainers. Even when exercising, a moderately healthy person won't struggle with CO2 or a lack of oxygen from working out with a mask. There are other buildups to worry about, though.

"The concern I have is when you're breathing at a higher rate throughout your training, you're also perspiring, so that perspiration tends to build up on the mask's inside layer, which could cause higher intensity to get air in," STA Sport Performance owner/operator Ben Woods said.

Not every mask is allowed by New York State, either. Some examples of approved, and disapproved, masks are listed below:

  • Approved: N95 masks, one-time disposable masks, homemade cloth masks
  • Disapproved: Bandanas, buff masks, and gaiter masks

"I don't know many people who want to work out, sweat in a mask, and wear it the next day," Woods said. "It's an added cost factor that you have to look at when people go to the gym."

Other suggestions from the state for gyms include contactless thermometers, temperature cameras, and a reservation system, for machines, equipment, and time to further assist with contact tracing.