Take a moment to look at your life, the routines that you have now and you didn’t use to. The ones that you no longer have. The pandemic has affected the economy, yes, and in several sectors, but also other aspects of our existence, aspects that are often neglected or less talked about. Many people have reported feeling anxious and lonely, not as motivated as they once were. Others just come out and say it: I feel bored, adrift. Too many hours at home, very little face-to-face interaction with friends and family. Their lives have become stagnant. And what about physical activity or mental health?
A year and a half after the first global lock-down, the routine of watching series online has become more and more prevalent. In the beginning, many people saw the confinement as an opportunity to go on walks in the forest, sometimes morning and afternoon. Joggers would flock to the parks and any green areas in the city. And how does the situation look now? People are experiencing mental fatigue. Many are staying at home, unable to find the energy that they once had to go to the gym, to exercise. Could there be a way to recover those habits and lose the extra kilos, to go back to the health levels we once had?
According to Flavien Chambaud, General Manager of Aspria Arts-Loi, one of the most noticeable effects of the pandemic was on people’s mental well-being. “A lot of people felt lonely, they felt excluded,” he said. “There was a lot of tension at home, with kids being at home, and most working couples struggled.” On the other hand, a positive effect of the pandemic, if that can be said, is that many people are putting their lives in perspectives. Given the shock that the virus has had on people’s lives, many of whom have fallen ill, sometimes more than once, the importance of putting the focus on where it matters has become paramount.
Before, many people were stuck in the day to day job: the constant travel, the commutes, the tasks at home, and so on without actually pausing to say: What do I expect from my life and what’s my priority?Flavien Chambaud, General Manager of Aspria Arts-Loi
1. How has the Health & Fitness industry coped with the pandemic?
Across the world many gyms and fitness clubs had to be closed for several months; some were able to resume operation but at reduced capacity. The Aspria Clubs implemented some key measures such as clearly delineating the areas where members could work out at ease and with the possibility to remove their masks. Outside of those areas, which were clearly marked in the form of squares, members had to wear their masks at all times.
Aspria ensures that health and safety is one of the key priorities – Indeed, their attention to Covid measures was recognised by Nathan Clumeck, immunology expert in Belgium, citing them as “Covid Safe place”. This is the result of the investment and best practices implemented in the clubs such as new ways to ventilate the clubs, air purifiers installed throughout , CO2 censors added in each area of the clubs, enhanced housekeeping routines to name a few.
Aspria proposed some online live classes to support their members both mentally and physically, and also to stay connected with them. These classes were actually being recorded to put them onto a platform and people could do it at their own time and convenience. And once Aspria had the chance to partially reopen, they provided some collective classes outside on the Club’s terrace or at the square nearby, Frères Orban, to benefit from the possibility of having more space and fresh air.
2. Teleworking, the new reality
With the pandemic came the potential risk of being infected in places where a substantial amount of people gathered. This implied concerts, cinemas, festivals, but also the work place. Several office jobs were performed from home, and one of the question many people ask themselves is: Will there be a need to go back to the office?
While some people say a new hybrid model will eventually become the norm, Aspria has thought ahead and laid down the foundations to offer people the possibility to come to the gym, while having the possibility to follow up on work activities seamlessly. A quick work-out session could be followed by a business call and lunch. “We have a space that is available for our members to come here and work,” said Flavien. “We have some very nice individual pods and it’s like having your own workspace, with your own desk and light.”
A programme of professional events, talks and workshops is also being developed to create connections within the member’s community.
Working from home could also mean more flexibility. Individuals can organize their days and work activities in new ways: the working hours could be spread out at different times so that individuals can almost choose when to go to the gym.
People are a lot freer with their own working schedule. They don’t have to be physically at work at specific times, they can manage their activities how it best suits themFlavien Chambaud, General Manager of Aspria Arts-Loi
3. In September 2021, Aspria celebrates its 20th anniversary.
What’s new in a post-covid world?
Once the vaccines were tested and approved, many people thought the situation would go back to the one we once knew. The reality is unfortunately not quite there yet and we have to make the most of what we have now.
In September, Aspria will revamp its activities increasing the number of group classes. “Before Covid arrived we were the fitness club in Belgium with the most classes on the timetable,” said Flavien. “We had 165 classes per week and so that’s what we want to go back to.”
Classes will take place, as well as activities in the cardio and weight lifting sections, all within the norms and regulations established by authorities, which means a lot of space, constant cleaning, thorough ventilation.
Also to participate to a group class, each member now has to book a spot on the Aspria App that they have developed as well during the pandemic. Beside securing member’s participation it also allows the Club to limit and guarantee to stay well within the regulation of 1 person per 10 square metre. Same apply to the swimming pool: each member must book his lane on the Aspria App before visiting the Club.
Aspria Arts-Loi will also be celebrating its 20th anniversary in September and will have a fun event to raise a glass and toast for many more years. “It deserves to be celebrated with a nice party on the terrace, hopefully with nice weather and bubbles and snacks.”
And all the way until December, and onward, there will be different kinds of activities for members: spinning marathons, workshops on nutrition or business conferences, tips on how to recover from back pain or other kinds or injury. Aspria Arts-Loi offers a unique opportunity for expats to find opportunities to stay fit, as well as developing a private and professional network.
When you see twenty people clapping hands, having fun, dancing, jumping around with a smile on their face, you know you’re doing something right. And that’s what we’re here forFlavien Chambaud, General Manager of Aspria Arts-Loi