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The City Journals

Local gyms make major changes to keep patrons safe and healthy

Mar 02, 2021 12:38PM ● By Lindsey Baxter

A taped-off pod for members to work out in with all the equipment needed for their customized hour workout at Epic Fitness. (Lindsey Baxter/City Journals)

By Lindsey Baxter | [email protected]

COVID has upended many aspects of people’s daily routines. Exercising at the local gym is one such routine that may have fallen off your to-do list. However, some gyms in Millcreek are going above and beyond to make sure that if people want to exercise, they can do so with some peace of mind when it comes to sanitization and safety. 

Epic Fitness, 1227 E. 3300 South, has reconfigured their gym and services to make sure that the health and safety of its members are top priority. When COVID-19 impacted the state, Elena Rocco, manager of Awesomeness at Epic Fitness, stated, “We wanted to ensure that Epic Fitness was the safest place our members could train. We knew we wanted to limit our touch points and make it easy and convenient for our members to clean and sanitize all equipment used. We were also able to physically distance members by creating workout pods, where you have your own space and equipment. We know how important it is to continue to stay fit, strong and healthy during this time and we wanted to be able to provide that to all our members.”

Epic Fitness member Fedora Grey joined at the beginning of December 2020. Grey stated, “I was looking for something smaller and more customized. I was a victim of those big barcode gyms and never saw any results.” 

When asked if COVID had anything to do with the decision in joining Epic Fitness over other gyms, Grey stated that she spent a lot of time talking to Ben (Fogel) the owner about the safety and cleanliness factors before choosing to join. Grey did go to the bigger gyms during COVID and saw no cleaning being done and did not see anyone wearing masks. She said that members at Epic take ownership of cleanliness and make sure to clean everything they have touched at the end of their session. 

“One of the things I love about Epic is that when I come in, I see men and women of all shapes and sizes, there is no judgment and everyone is welcome here; it’s just a great community to be a part of,” Grey said.

Steven Joffee is another member of Epic Fitness. “I knew the training at Epic was targeted and I was very worried about COVID and being exposed to people so I didn’t want to go to a regular gym, and I knew Ben would run things right. It was a combination of knowing it would be a safe environment and then being somewhere where they would push me,” Joffee stated. Joffee added that Fogel’s focus is on safety and longevity, not packing people in. “I started going to a different gym before coming back to Epic and didn’t feel safe, no one wanted to wear masks, didn’t take cleaning measures. I went twice and stopped,” he said.

Another Millcreek gym, SLC Strength & Conditioning, at 3232 S. Highland Dr., also took COVID-19 precautions seriously. Owner Steve Pizza and co-founder Kristy Pizza, stated, “Though this pandemic has presented us with enormous challenges, it has always been very important to us, as an employer and service, that our employees and customers are safe, happy, and getting value. When this pandemic came to light, acting quickly was necessary and we completely redesigned how our facility would function with full implementation of changes (made with involved guidance from the federal, state, county and city public health guidelines) in less than a 24-hour time frame. 

“Those changes included the immediate implementation of mask mandates, spacing of workout stations to 12 feet, individual sanitization bottles and towel for each member, and a complete redesign of how we implement workouts to mitigate sharing of equipment throughout the workout. We also enforce a class cap and reservations ahead of time to ensure that all members were always more than 6-feet apart when in our facility. Additionally, we had upgraded our air ventilation system in August of 2019 and immediately installed anti-viral filters to ensure adequate and safe airflow within the facility when the pandemic hit.”