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With reopening, operators want gym SOPs revised to ensure industry can survive – Malay Mail

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Saturday, 13 Feb 2021 10:22 AM MYT
BY ASHMAN ADAM

Gym-goers working out at Enrich Fitness centre in Ampang February 12, 2021. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Gym-goers working out at Enrich Fitness centre in Ampang February 12, 2021. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 13 ― The reopening of gyms and fitness centres during the movement control order has been welcomed today by the Coalition of Fitness Industry Owners and Operators in Malaysia, a loose group of private gym owners and operators.
In a statement, the group is however appealing for the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to be further revised to ensure long-term viability of the industry.
“On behalf of the private gym owners and operators we represent across Malaysia, we applaud the Government’s tireless efforts to safeguard the health of the Malaysia population from the Covid-19 novel coronavirus.
“We also wish to provide our collective views on the updated SOPs for the sports and recreation sector, which are already among the strictest compared to other industries,” said Yen Kee, a representative from the group.
Among others according to the group, the closure of changing rooms and showers in gyms should be allowed to maintain the level of hygiene needed during the pandemic.
“At a time when personal hygiene considerations should be at its peak, we feel that not allowing people to use changing room and shower facilities is counter-productive,” said Kenny Sia of Level Up Fitness, who operates gyms in Terengganu, Johor, Sabah, and Sarawak.
Group Executive Director of Peak Fitness, Dr Shaun Alexander shared Kenny’s sentiment.
“As long as we continue to educate and remind our members and staff alike to ensure they abide by social distancing guidelines whenever and wherever they are on the premises, we believe that allowing us to provide changing room and shower facilities is a critical aspect in our fight against the virus,” he said.
For many gym and fitness centre operators whose business model is based on providing group fitness classes, the group said disallowing classes or group classes is the ultimate death knell for an industry that is already on its knees.
“Not allowing group classes effectively removes our control and ability to ensure strict compliance with the SOPs. When we run group classes we can manage exactly what the attendees will be doing, what equipment they’ll use, when they’ll do it, and where they’ll do it,” said James Putnam of CrossFitLah.
Raheem Hamilton, senior vice-president for Operations and Franchise Development for Inspire Brands Asia, the master franchisee of Anytime Fitness in Malaysia, said that up to 32 per cent of its members are engaged in group fitness, but for other gyms, this number may exceed 50 per cent.
“Irrespective of the percentage, group fitness classes help our members stick to a fixed routine and keeps them motivated as they exercise amongst other like-minded individuals,” he added.
Andrew Phillips, senior managing director of Evolution Wellness ― which owns and operates the Chi Fitness, Celebrity Fitness, FIRE Fitness, Fitness First, and GoFit clubs in Malaysia ― shared that class capacity limits have already been greatly reduced following the implementation of earlier SOPs requiring a space between 1 and 3 metres for static activities, and 3 and 5 metres for dynamic movement activities.
“These spaces have already been clearly marked, and members are already educated to stay within the ‘safe zones’ of the marked spaces.
“As such, we feel that group classes should be allowed to resume as this will mean that a larger number of the population will be motivated to stay fit and active, which can only be good news for the country as the public work to improve their health and immunity levels and in the long term, reduce the burden on healthcare services in the country,” he said.
The group said the gym industry has an enviable record of having almost no reported on-site transmissions, yet it is forced to apply additional restrictions to an already restricted environment.
It said a recent survey conducted by the industry showed that there has only been only one reported transmission out of 3.12 million visits between June 15, 2020 and January 12, 2021, which is testament to the stringent SOPs which gyms and fitness centers have adopted.
“We have had no reports of any transmissions throughout our five climbing facilities. We’ve always adhered to the SOPs including following the Ministry of Health’s guidelines of sanitising common surfaces every three hours. Restrictions are necessary, but they need to be evidence- based,” said Jeremy Peet of Camp 5.
For Tiffany Yow of Flow Yoga in Bangsar, she emphasised that her Yoga classes have proven to contribute to mental health and wellbeing of its practitioners, which is a critical aspect in times of a pandemic.
“We have adopted a ‘no contact’ approach to posture correction, and firmly believe in our ability to operate group fitness classes safely by applying the previous SOPs,” she said.
Krishna Kumar of Enrich Fitness also said it has successfully operated under a restricted SOP environment without the need for prior bookings.
“Labouring an already commercially-affected industry, especially the neighbourhood shop lot gyms, with this requirement, will increase the burden of unnecessary incremental costs and process.
“We were already successful, and frankly, do not have the means to implement this new process,” he said.
While owners and operators of this industry appreciate the value that these SOPs and restrictions set by the government are made with good intentions, it said a recent survey conducted by the group showed that many gyms have lost more than 40 per cent of their membership base in the last 12 months.
The survey said 82 per cent have seen their profits decline by more than 30 per cent ― with one in three reporting a decline of more than 71 per cent ― in addition to incurring additional and unexpected expenditures to mitigate the risks surrounding Covid-19.
Meanwhile, 35 per cent have laid off staff already, out of which a third have laid off more than 40 per cent of their workforce ― with more layoffs expected if the current MCO is extended.
“We respectfully appeal for our feedback above to be taken into consideration, to help us secure the long-term viability of our industry, and prevent the imminent hardship of job losses and the consequential impacts of such, whilst providing our members to continue to engage in and benefit from the protective effects of regular physical activity, enjoy better quality of life, and in the long run, drive the country’s economic stability,” the group said.
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© 2021, Malay Mail, All Rights Reserved.

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Shoppers Say the Sunzel Workout Leggings Are a Great Lululemon Align Dupe – Travel+Leisure

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Leggings are a staple in many people's wardrobes for a reason. Not only are they incredibly comfortable, but they can be worn just about everywhere — making them a great travel bottom. If you're looking to add a new pair to your rotation, we may have found just what you need. Nearly 17,000 Amazon shoppers have given the Sunzel Workout Leggings their seal of approval. 
Made from a "buttery-soft" polyester/spandex material, the high-rise leggings have a light compression and a thick waistband that won't roll down as you move around. The breathable bottoms also have sweat-wicking capabilities to keep you dry, even when you're working out, and they have a hidden pocket in the waistband to hold your essentials. 
The flattering leggings may be less than $30 a pair, but that doesn't mean they are lower in quality than their more expensive counterparts. In fact, many shoppers say, the Sunzel leggings are a "perfect Lululemon dupe" for the athleisure brand's popular Align leggings, which can set you back more than $100 each.
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"Obsessed and 100 percent recommend,' wrote one. "I used to work for Lululemon years ago, and I can definitely say these are the closest leggings to the Aligns that I have found. I will say I wouldn't run or do gym workouts in them, they aren't made for that, but yoga, everyday living… YES! Buy them right now you won't be disappointed!"
"I've purchased Lululemon items for years and have had many pairs of Align leggings, and I think I honestly prefer these more," said another. "The curved glute seams flatter your booty, and they provide the perfect amount of stretch and comfort!"
While some reviewers said they wouldn't wear them for intense workouts, many others said they will survive even the sweatiest workouts and are fully squat-proof, so you don't have to worry about them becoming see-through when you bend over. The leggings range in size from XS to XL, and there are 24 different styles to choose from, ranging from classic solids to cool camo patterns and fun animal prints.
Even better, prices start at just $25, so you can shop multiple pairs of the top-rated leggings for less than the cost of one pair of Lululemons. 
To buy: amazon.com, from $25

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