Survival of the fittest



The closures of gyms and fitness studios during the nationwide lockdown threw a wrench in workout routines across the state. While some folk were compelled to press pause on their fitness goals, others took matters into their own hands.

Now, after months in hibernation – and despite the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the state – gyms and fitness studios recently received the green light to reopen, sparking much debate among gym-goers and fitness enthusiasts. NT BUZZ finds out how they survived in the absence of gyms and gauges their reactions to the reopening.

Health has always been my priority. Even though the gyms were closed, I gave equal importance to physical activities. I bought a cycle and made this a part of my daily exercises. Cycling for about 15 to 20 kilometres a day was indeed the best way to lose calories and stay fit. It was fun cycling with friends and enjoying the beauty of Goa. And even though gyms are opening, I will still keep this activity going on weekends. I love working out and I am all geared up to hit the gym very soon. I will surely take all precautions and work out in the best and safest manner.”

                Milind Yeshwante,

                sub-station in charge, Goa Electricity Department, Vasco

Exercising for me has become an important part of my life. It not only keeps me physically active but mentally stable too, it also lowers the risk of diseases. Good eating habits and good hygiene are not enough to boost your immunity; working out is equally important. I believe reopening of gyms should have been carried out, at least, in the second phase of the lockdown as gyms have always worked towards maintaining hygiene long before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that the fitness industry has finally opened their doors to us, I am all set to workout taking utmost precautions and following the gym guidelines of wearing a mask, sanitising hands, wearing armbands and gloves, etc.”

                Ruchika Kavlekar, student, Panaji

In the lockdown period when everything came to a standstill including the shutting of gyms and swimming pools, I had to ponder upon my fitness. Being an athlete and a professional cricketer, I decided that cycling would be the best alternative to stay fit and burn calories – and have continued till date. Now that gyms are opening, I’m excited as in a gym you get a whole workout of your body. I’m looking forward to joining the gym, but I will continue to incorporate cycling into my routine.

                Damodar Lotlikar,

                cricketer and businessman, Vasco

I started gaining weight and facing health issues and that is when I started my fitness journey. It helped me not just to lose excess weight but also remain physically active and healthy. In the absence of the gym, I started practising yoga, meditation and under the guidance of a trainer, I began my gym routine at home which included online weight training, HIIT and aerobics. The fitness centre also guided me with a personalised diet plan which helped me to stay fit. I’m looking forward to going back to my gym routine and take the
utmost precautions.”

                Dharna Parulekar, student, Ponda

Initially, it was tough working out at home but then I prepared myself mentally that this is going to be the new normal to stay fit. I believe it’s all about mind over body. I ordered some gyming equipment online like dumbbells just to get back on track and started watching videos on YouTube to try out different variations to make workouts fun and effective. I’m glad that gyms are finally open and having said that it’s going to be a huge challenge to ensure proper sanitisation and social distancing. As of now, I don’t intend to join the gym anytime soon. Probably once there’s a significant drop in the number of cases I’ll resume going back to the gym.”

                Joshua Thapa, PR professional, Vasco

It’s a big relief for the fitness industry that gyms are finally reopening. The threat of the novel coronavirus has been a great setback to each and every gym owner for the past five months, and we are barely able to stand; we have faced a huge loss. During these times, we conducted pre-recorded classes and gym members were instructed on how to perform their workouts at home, with or without certain equipment. We also started live classes for those who still wanted to come to the gym. Now, we have decided to follow certain guidelines and strategies to maintain hygiene and put social-distancing protocols in place before we reopen. We will be opening the gym with limited capacity; health and safety are the most important factors we consider when reopening our gym. We have adequate staff and cleaning supplies to implement these measures successfully. Body temperature of every member will be checked at the time of entry and exit from the gym, outdoor footwear and entry without a mask will be strictly prohibited, frequent sanitisation of hands, and workout at a distance of 1.5 metres from each other will be our priority. Members need to carry their own water bottles and towels. Arogya Setu app is mandatory on every member’s phone. We are also requesting members to stay home in case they feel uneasy or sick. All gym equipment will be santitised prior to opening and before closing.”

                Prasad Dhuri,

                proprietor of Handstand Gym
                & Power Fitness, Vasco