It’s Better In Groups: Why Now Is The Time To Return To Group Fitness At AFF

If you’re in to Group Fitness, then there’s a chance that you’re probably not the biggest fan of working out by yourself. Planning your own workouts involves a lot of work (Should I do cardio or strength training today? What exercises should I do and for how many reps?), a lot of strategy (How can I use my coffee table for hip thrusts? How can I do jump squats without disturbing my adorable sleeping pets?), and a lot of motivation and priority over distractions (Just ONE more episode before I work out…ohmigosh, there’s ANOTHER season that I didn’t know about!)

Sound like your current workout situation? Keep reading.

If you have successfully worked out during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have adjusted your workouts to fit within the comfort of your home. And you either did these stay-at-home workouts on your own or with a couple of other people (but not TOO many because social distancing is key right now). You may have been streaming your workouts through MOSSA MOVE and thinking of the good ‘ole days when you had an AFF instructor coaching you through your workout in a live class. Maybe you ventured in to new territory by doing physically distanced outdoor group workouts. Or, maybe you did nothing at all because no workout could compare to a live Group Fitness class (and I FEEL YOU on this one).

But I have good news – NOW is the perfect time to venture back in to our Group Fitness studios! The studios are open and classes are back on the schedule, so why not come in for a great workout that you’ve missed?

Now I know what you’re thinking: There’s a pandemic. And you’re right, a pandemic is a very serious factor in determining whether or not you want to take a class with us. American Family Fitness has always made decisions with the health, safety, and well-being of all our members and staff in mind. We temporarily shut down to protect the AFF community and do our part to protect the Richmond, Williamsburg, and Fredericksburg communities. Trust me when I say that every decision made during this pandemic has been made with you all, our members, in the forefront of our minds.

We thoroughly examined our club-wide and Group Fitness-specific safety procedures in preparation for reopening, and we’ve made adjustments that should help you feel more comfortable coming back in to take classes with us:


Feeling Hot? We’ll Let You Know If You Are
We check the temperature of each person that enters the club, whether it be a member, employee, or UPS deliveryman/woman, prior to stepping foot in to the main area of the club. If anyone is 100.4ºF or higher, entrance to the club is not permitted.


Every Member Agrees To Your Safety
As each member returns to American Family Fitness for the first time since our closing, he or she must sign a waiver agreeing to our new Member Code of Conduct [link to Member Code Of Conduct] before entering. In this Member Code of Conduct, members are responsible for upholding COVID-19-specific safety protocols that help protect you, other members, and our staff.


See A Sign? Follow It!
See that sign with a mask? That’s a reminder to each member to wear their mask while in the club. See the feet and arrow stickers on the floor throughout the club? Keep moving in that direction to keep traffic flowing and prevent groupings of people in one spot. Before you open the door to the Group X Studio, does it say “Enter” or “Exit”? Take a look so you know which way to go to stay safe and physically distanced from other participants.


Sanitizer Is Everywhere
As you’re walking through the club, you’ll notice large freestanding containers of hand sanitizer in addition to our wall-mounted sanitizer stations. While handwashing is one of the best methods of preventing the spread of COVID-19, hand sanitizer is a great substitution as you’re walking to and from the Group X Studio, as well as any high-traffic area of the club. Bonus sanitizer tip: it smells like an island oasis, so you can feel like you’re on that summer vacation you wanted to go on this year!


“X” Marks Your Spot
Once in the Group X Studio you’ll notice “X” stickers on the floor. These stickers indicate where you can stand and set up your equipment for class, and have been placed 10 feet apart to adhere to the Governor of Virginia’s Phase 3 Guidelines for Fitness Facilities. We’ve made physically distancing easy for you!


Register For Class Or Your Spot Could Go To Someone Else
In order to maintain the required 10 feet of social distancing in classes, we have set limits on the number of participants allowed in each studio to take class. This number differs from studio to studio and location to location, so to give you the peace of mind of knowing that you have a spot 10 feet away from others in class, we have implemented class reservations. Download the American Family Fitness Motionvibe app on your mobile device (available in Apple Store and Google Play Store), and use this helpful guide to set up your account and start registering for classes.


Masks Are Now A Gym Bag Essential
While masks are not required while actively working out, we have asked that all members and staff wear their masks while moving through the club, including within the Group X Studios. Members and Group Fitness Instructors wear their masks while setting up and putting away equipment. Be sure to have yours ready in your gym bag!


Instructors Remain Physically Distant In The Club (But Connect Socially Through Motionvibe)
We know that one of the biggest things you’ve missed while we were closed was your favorite Group X instructor 😊 Most instructors are back and are adhering to physical distancing guidelines for both your safety and theirs. You won’t see them coming off of the stage anymore during class and there won’t be much up-close interaction before or after class. But since we’ve reopened, our new class reservation system allows instructors to communicate with you easily, sharing reminders for upcoming classes and sending motivational messages after class. You’ll no longer miss this interaction now that it’s at your fingertips!


We’ve Rejuvenated Our Disinfectant Methods
You miss your instructor, sure, but you don’t miss touching equipment that has been touched by others. But don’t worry, we thought about that one too – and we’ve done a few things to help mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19 via surface transmission. Upon entry in to the club, you’ll receive a microfiber towel with antibacterial treatment to use with our upgraded disinfectant spray, RE-JUV-NAL, a disinfectant solution that has demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2)1. You’ll find multiple bottles of this disinfectant in our Group X Studios and all throughout the clubs so you can make sure your equipment is clean and ready for your use. We’ve also added time in between classes so that you have plenty of time to properly sanitize equipment so it’s clean and ready for the next person.

While the above-listed enhancements are geared toward Group Fitness, you can view our enhanced safety protocols for the entire club here: AFF Member Reopening Plan.

Now that you know what we’ve done to help keep you safe in our Group Fitness classes, it’s up to you to decide if you’re ready to get back to your group workouts. You already knew that workouts are more motivating, effective, and better in a group – now you know that workouts during this time can be safe in groups, too. We hope to see you in class soon!


Lauren Rinker is the Group Fitness Manager at Virginia Center Commons and teaches a variety of classes, including POWER®, CORE®, BLAST®, Yoga, and Fusion small group and team training. She started her Group Fitness career in 2012 after her childhood dream of being a 🌪 chaser didn’t work out due to immense fear of 🌪s, and accredits Group Fitness for transforming her life 💪. She loves how Group Fitness and Social Media share the same impact of making and maintaining meaningful connections between people ❤. When she’s not teaching or taking 📷s for the VCC Facebook page, you can find her 🏋️‍♀️-ing, 📚️-ing, checking off her To-Do lists 📝, drinking ☕️, or eating any or all of the following foods: 🍣🥞🥓 A self-proclaimed cat lady 😻 and night owl, Lauren loves to recharge in the evenings by watching Netflix with her two Instagram-famous cats 🐱 🐱

Follow Us on Social

Weekly Fitness Tip

Recent Blog Posts

Member Guest Pass

Working out is always better with a workout buddy! Now you can bring a friend to workout with you using a Member Guest Pass. See Welcome Desk or a Membership Advisor for details.

Sign up for our Newsletter

Stay connected with us through our monthly newsletter to get the latest news, updates, fitness tips and more.