UFC Gym Exec Mark Mastrov Explains 'New Normal' for Working Out

May 27, 2020
As states slowly reopen from coronavirus-related shutdowns, some gyms are doing the same. Workouts, however, won't look the same as before.
"We're requiring everybody to wear a mask and then we're laying all of our equipment out and spacing it so it's far apart from each other, so you can get a comfortable workout within the facility," says Mark Mastrov, founder of 24 Hour Fitness, chairman and co-founder of New Evolution Ventures, and executive chairman of UFC Gym. "Some of our gyms are even coming back now and setting up appointments, so you book your time to come in so there's never a rush. You have your set time to work out."
Mastrov also says his gyms are checking temperatures upon entering the facility, employing touchless sign-in, and providing disinfectants and sprays for members to wipe down equipment before and after use. 
"It's just common sense right now for everybody, no matter where you're going or what you're doing," he said. "You're making sure you're not touching your hands, your mouth, your eyes, you're keeping a mask on, and you're protecting yourself as best as you can." 
Mastrov, who has since sold 24 Hour Fitness, does not see the enhanced cleaning and safety measures preventing these all-day gyms from shedding their moniker.
"Some of the gyms we have are open 24 hours and we will continue to be open around the clock," he said. "If there are swing-shift workers, getting off at midnight or starting at 5:00 am, they can get their workout in before or after comfortably, probably with less people in the gym."
Gyms across the country may also need to weigh the dilemma of maximizing memberships and maintaining social distancing measures. While Mastrov says gyms with larger facilities can work around these issues, it could be problematic for smaller gyms.
"It's tougher for the boutiques, the smaller gyms because they may be only 2,000 to 3,000 square feet and can't quite get the volume, but can make that up by offering more classes and supporting that with online and digital, which a lot of us are doing anyway."
Meanwhile, when it comes to professional sports, Mastrov, a member of the ownership group for the NBA's Sacramento Kings, believes that leagues will wisely figure out a way to resume their seasons.
"We have to do it safely and intelligently, and I know that professional sports will find a way. There's a lot of smart leaders for every sport and I think they'll do a great job as we have the opportunity to get back to a little bit of normal." 
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