KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Bearden OrangeTheory Fitness members and staff were eager to get back to the studio, sweating it out in the iconic orange lit room feeling some normalcy amid coronavirus concerns.

When the workout studio was forced to temporarily close its doors, staff was quick to start constructing game plans for the first day they were given the green light to reopen.

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Kelsey Forsythe, OrangeTheory Fitness studio manager, says their team worked hard and was in contact with their area representative along with OrangeTheory corporate leaders to properly prepare when they got the go ahead.

Last week on May 7, they held their first classes after shutting their doors, becoming the first OrangeTheory Fitness in the nation to do so.

While they are back in action, their operations have changed for the time being, due to COVID-19.

The popular studio is following guidelines given by Knox County for gyms to follow during the pandemic, along with specific precautions handed down from OrangeTheory, including:

  • Staff and members are required to wear face masks
  • Members wiping down their equipment before and after class
  • Class sizes limited to 14
  • 45-minute classes
  • Members temperatures taken at door
  • No entry to lobby until 5 minutes before
  • Keep 6 feet apart
  • Every two machines blocked off, and each members uses their own equipment
  • Hand sanitizer is given to members as soon as they walk in

Other precautions include Coaches wearing goggles, a precaution specific to OrangeTheory, reserving time from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. to do a deep-clean of the studio and again after their last class at 7:45 p.m.

There is hand sanitizer dispersed throughout the studio for members to use as needed, along with social distancing decals on the floor and in the front of the studio to promote the 6-feet rule.

Wearing a mask while working out sounds intimidating, but it’s “not as bad as people think.”

The staff did a workout with masks on ahead of reopening to provide feedback to members and understand the challenge that may pose as they work out. However, Forsythe says feedback has been positive.

“Yes it’s a little challenging, but for the most part people are just excited to be back working out. They’re like, ‘Hey this mask, not a problem,” Forsythe said.

Since reopening, the studio has been filled to its allotted capacity size under Knox County guidelines and Forsythe says its been going great.

“I think everybody has been enjoyed being back,” the studio manager says, “As much as it is a workout, it’s a community too, so it’s been great for everybody to get back and get a workout in and socialize a little bit more.”

The manager has been in constant contact with leaders in OrangeTheory, providing feedback for other studios looking to reopen.

For fitness enthusiasts apprehensive to do an in-person workout just yet, the Bearden OrangeTheory will continue to offer their online zoom classes — a unique way they kept their clients moving from home. The studio is also keeping memberships on freeze, no charge, for those who have decided not to come back yet.

OrangeTheory is currently accepting new members. Forsythe says they even had two new members participate in classes today, promising for the studio having people join will of the extra precautions.

If you are looking to become a member, Forsythe says people can call their studio at (865) 224-6480, reach out on their website or on their Facebook or Instagram page.

The studio will continue to implement these precautions until restrictions are lifted, as safety is the number one priority at OrangeTheory Fitness for their clients and staff.