REDONDO BEACH, Calif. – For months, Peet Sapsin, has been training his clients on Zoom as his gym, Inspire South Bay Fitness in Redondo Beach, sat empty due to the coronavirus.
“It’s been tough,” Sapsin told Spectrum News 1. “If we had to shut down for another few more months we don’t even know if we can reopen again.”
So when he heard that California announced its Phase 3 reopening plan, which included gyms, Sapsin quickly reached out to his clients, only to find out they were still a little skittish about taking his classes.
“We had to send out surveys and ask clients, ‘Hey, are you ready to come back?’ and a lot of people said no at first,” he recalled.
Businesses reopening after months of being shuttered have had to navigate a whole new world of restrictions and safety hazards due to the coronavirus pandemic. But perhaps few have felt the pinch more than local gyms, where the whole point is sweating and breathing heavily.
So, Sapsin and his wife got to work and eventually came up with an unusual idea: personalized plastic pods, which allow their clients to take group classes while still maintaining social distancing.
The pods took three days to build and are made out of shower curtains and PVC pipes. The total cost? $400.
There are nine pods in total, each stacked with all the equipment needed for the class. They get cleaned before and after each session and gym doors remain open to circulate air.
Each pod is enclosed on three sides but has an open back and open top.
“If you stand in the middle of our pods you are 10 feet apart,” Sapsin said. “We know it doesn’t stop coronavirus 100 percent but it ads a layer of protection to make people comfortable enough that we can actually work out.”
Now Sapsin’s classes are sold out, with new clients coming in every day.
So what’s it like working out in a plastic pod?
“It’s a little different, that’s for sure,” said Brandon Style, adding, “you adapt to it really quickly.”
The idea was so creative, Sapsin’s gym has made national and international headlines.
“It’s a huge surprise for us,” Sapsin said. “It’s a little bit overwhelming but we’re just taking it day by day.”