Socially Distanced Group Fitness: How Fight Club Austin is Creating a New Normal

Kayla Jacob

After months of at home workouts and long walks through parks, gyms in Texas reopened in late May. As gyms continue to adapt their spaces to the new world we’re living in, I thought it would be interesting to see how one Austin gym is ‘rolling with the punches’.

Fight Club Austin is a boutique fitness studio located in the heart of West Campus on Rio Grande Street, the studio offers full body HIIT fitness classes with a focus on kickboxing. Loved by locals, they reopened on May 18 armed with social distancing protocols and bottles of disinfectant excited to welcome clients back into the gym.

Kaitlyn Gruener, a trainer and the social media manager at Fight Club, gave us the inside look on what a normal workout class looks like now.

“It’s very different, but not in a bad way; we used to be much more hands-on,” said Gruener. “So there’s a learning curve with how to demonstrate and provide correction from a distance.”

Boxes marked by red tape show appropriate distance during workouts.
Photo Courtesy of Fight Club Austin

Before the pandemic, a typical Fight Club class contained around 34 people, due to new guidelines class size is down to 10-12 people, said Gruener. She said the use of common equipment and high touch surfaces have also been reduced with clients required to bring their own water and boxing gloves.

A big change is the implementation of workout boxes to indicate the proper distance between clients, Gruener said.

“Each box is six feet away from any other box in every direction, and clients remain in the red boxes during the stations, with a one-direction rotation in between stations,” said Gruener.

Fight Club is my favorite place to get a workout, the trainers are always ready with pump up playlists and motivating guidance— I can burn at least 600 calories after every class. Even though the classes may look a little different you’re still getting the same great sweaty workout Austinites have come to love.

Gruener noted that masks are required upon entry, exit and encouraged during the workout, she also spoke about other measures the gym was taking to ensure a safe workout environment.

“We provide a disinfecting spray bottle and a hand towel to every client to be carried around during class,” said Gruener. “Longer transition times were built into class to ensure enough time for clients to wipe down any equipment they worked with at the station before moving on to the next one.”

Clients are provided with towels and disinfectant during the class to help keep the space clean. Photo Courtesy of Fight Club Austin

Since the reopening of the gym, Gruener said she has felt comfortable as both a trainer and a client.

“There’s ample room for me to move around and provide adjustments when needed, and even when I attend a workout myself,” said Gruener. “I’ve felt very safe and well-distanced from other people.”

For those who aren’t quite ready to go back to the gym yet, Fight Club and their awesome trainers still have you covered! Fight Club trainers, Lauren (@laurencysafit) and Lia (@liamojofitspo), have their own fitness Instagram accounts where they post great home workouts and host the occasional zoom class.

The Fight Club Instagram account (@fightclubaustin) also continues to post different workout tips and videos— from form correction to their famous eight-minute ab circuits! As we all adjust to life during a pandemic, we can embrace the efforts of our local community in trying to create a new sense of normalcy. It’s no surprise that Fight Club is trying to make the best out of this situation. In 2019, they were named StudioHop Fitness’ favorite fitness studio in Austin.

The studio continues to support their loyal clientele, whether they’re ready to brave the gym or in need of some home workout inspiration. Fight Club is thankful for their clients’ willingness to learn and adapt during this adjustment period, Gruener said.

“Everyone who has visited the gym has come with a positive attitude and a willingness to adapt to the ‘new normal’, and that’s all we ask,” said Gruener. “We hope to see y’all at the gym soon!”

For more information on Fight Club Austin visit fightclubatx.com and @fightclubaustin