Aussie gyms are closed but for how long and do you still have to pay?

Sarah Carty
Features & Style Editor

Gyms across the country were forced to close their doors from midday Monday following the announcement by that all non-essential businesses must cease trading amid the current coronavirus pandemic.

The Australian Government’s decision has left many gym-goers shocked and wondering how long their local club will be off-limits, how it will affect their membership and what they can do to stay fit from home.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, gyms have been forced to close - but what does that mean for members? Photo: Getty Images.

Here, we’ve compiled a list of answers and info on what several major gym chains including F45, Fitness First and Virgin Active are doing to keep their members healthy and happy, as well as some ‘virtual’ workouts to break a sweat while self-isolating.

Are all gyms closed and for how long?

In an effort to enforce social distancing measures and stem the spread of COVID-19, all Aussie gyms and indoor sporting venues were ordered to close from midday March 23 in a statement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

While it’s unclear exactly how long gyms and other non-essential businesses will remain closed due to the evolving nature of the virus, the PM did say that people ‘should expect these measures to be in place for at least 6 months’.

What happens to my gym membership?

How each individual club is handling gym memberships in the wake of closures will vary - particularly if they’re franchised - so we’ve summarised statements from several major clubs but members should get in touch with their club for more info.

Fitness First

In a statement supplied to Yahoo Lifestyle, a Fitness First spokesperson said:

“Our members are at the centre of everything we do at Fitness First and with that in mind, all memberships have been placed on a complimentary freeze with no further charges until we are able to welcome members back into our clubs.”

“During this time of closure we will be providing at-home workouts and resources for our members so they can continue to train and maintain peace of mind during this difficult time. Additionally, for members that have a Personal Trainer, we encourage them to speak to their PT about how they might be able to support them during this closure.”

F45

In an Instagram Story shared on Sunday, F45 explained that as their studios are franchised, ‘each studio will have a different process’ with regards to pausing memberships.

“Please speak to your local studio if you need to pause,” they advised.

F45 shared this update on their membership pause policy on Sunday. Photo: Instagram/f45_training.

In a statement supplied to Yahoo Lifestyle, an F45 spokesperson said:

“In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, F45 has fast-tracked the release of our web-based, at-home fitness solution, which all existing members may access free of charge through the F45 Challenge app and website.”

A member of a Western Sydney F45 studio told Yahoo Lifestyle they had been given an option to suspend their membership, or their fee would be reduced to $25 per week to have access to special F45 at-home workout videos on the website and app, as well as continued access to trainers via Facebook live.

Virgin Active

In a statement on Instagram, Virgin Active clubs said:

“During the time our clubs are closed, we will automatically freeze all memberships with no fee to pay until such time as your club re-opens.”

“During this period of closure, we will be adding to our website and social channels health advice and workouts that you can do at home.”

It's important to stay fit and healthy even if your local gym has shut up shop. Photo: Getty Images.

Are PT sessions also cancelled?

Yes and no - it depends where and how your personal training session is being conducted according to new stage two measures introduced on Tuesday.

“Boot camps and personal training is limited to a maximum of 10 people and the social distancing arrangements must be strictly enforced,” PM Scott Morrison said in a statement.

Fitness Australia CEO Barrie Elvish explained more in a statement obtained by Yahoo Lifestyle.

“Outdoor training is OK if social distancing and hygiene protocols are adhered to,” Barrie said receiving advice from South Australia’s Health and Wellbeing Minister’s Office and Tasmania’s Sport and Recreation Minister’s Office.

“One-on-one training in a private setting, for example, someone’s house, has also been deemed OK, but not in a purpose-built “gym” or fitness facility,” he clarified.

Barrie encouraged people to continue to train with their trainer outside but added that those who are unwell or are undertaking a mandated 14-day isolation period should not leave their home.

Top at-home workout apps

If you’re looking to break a sweat without leaving the house, then a workout app might be your best bet - some are even free!

YouTube is also a great source for no-cost fitness videos of all types - check out Yoga With Adriene or Popsugar Fitness for starters.

Nike Training Club

The Nike-branded app has over 185 free workouts for all levels. Workouts include strength, endurance, yoga and mobility training. Over time and regular use, the app it will get to know what users like to do and start offering recommended workouts based on those preferences. More information here.

Sweat - BBG, PWR

The Sweat app, which features workouts from fitness stars Kayla Itsines and Kelsey Wells and more normally costs $19.99 a month. However the Sweat trainers have been sharing some of their favourite workouts on their Instagram pages as well for people to see what they can do at home. More info here.

Keep It Cleaner

Steph Claire Smith and Laura Henshaw, founders of health and wellness program Keep It Cleaner (KIC), are hoping to help others stay active at home by offering free live workouts via the KIC Facebook page. The workouts will be equipment-free and streamed live on Wednesdays and Fridays at 7am, with the first session starting tomorrow on the 18th March.

28 by SamWood

Former Bachie star Sam Wood now runs his own online fitness program called 28 by Sam Wood. The 28-minute high-intensity at-home workouts are designed to be completed in the comfort of your own house, plus they're kid-friendly, so they're perfect for busy parents. Sam has set up free live workouts via his Instagram and Facebook accounts.

Bodies by Rachel

Bodies By Rachel specialises in workouts that can be done from anywhere, anytime. The mobile app gives you access to in-depth, easy to follow, at-home workouts (no gym or gym equipment necessary), as well as diet and recipes tips and tricks to reach your fitness and health goals. The BBR team have also released free online resources to support their community during this time. Get a free week of workouts here.

Adidas Training by Runtastic

The Adidas app offers workouts that are anywhere from seven to 45 minutes long. There are more than 180 workouts with detailed demonstrations, and users can join any level of tiered membership for added features. More information here.

Down Dog

So that anyone who wants to practice at home can do so, the Down Dog community is making all of its apps - Down Dog, Yoga for Beginners, HIIT, Barre, and 7 Minute Workout - completely free until April 1st. You can learn more about all five of these apps at https://www.downdogapp.com/

Daily Yoga

Guided daily yoga moves from beginner to advanced, it’s a yoga app for everyone that has over 60,000 reviews and devoted followers worldwide. More information here.

Fitness First and F45 have been contacted for comment.

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