Gym industry feels let down

Montrealers locked out of training facilities as the second wave of COVID rolls through

Eric Falstrault is disappointed that he won’t be able to help his clients for the time being. Photo Matthew Skelhorne

Gyms in Quebec’s red zone are disappointed as the government orders gyms to close due to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases.

The CBC reported last week that gyms will close as of Oct. 8 in order to reduce the spread of the virus.  Eric Falstrault is a private gym owner and personal trainer that is furious with the recent decision.

“It’s a joke, myself and other gym owners have followed all protocols provided by healthcare officials to the tee[…] Which is proven to be effective in reducing transmission as much as possible,” said Falstrault. “We have always kept two-meter distances with our clients aside from occasional aid our clients need, while protected of course.” 

Falstrault is a private gym owner located in the north of Montreal, called Bodhi Fit. He has been in the industry for over 20 years and he is frustrated as to what kind of damage this will cause for many private gym owners that are dealing with the same issue.

“I am lucky to have other businesses that are built off of my main business, which is my gym,” said Falstrault.  “However, many of my fellow comrades are losing their gyms and it’s scary.”

Falstrault has also made plans for the future, but they are now on hold due to the temporary closures.

“I have been working hard the last few years in order to extend my gym… I won’t be able to pursue that at the rate I wanted to because of this,” mentioned Falstrault. “And let’s say they open the gyms up again on the 28th, who knows if they will close them again.”

James Tognarini, owner of Frontline Conditioning, is a certified personal trainer who is also affected by the gyms being forcefully closed.

Tognarini is not necessarily frustrated; he feels rather discouraged by what is currently going on in his field. It is affecting the community he has built.

“I first thought of my clients […] they somewhat depend on me as a personal trainer in regards to their health, and with the gyms closing, it’s creating a lack of stability in their progression. It seems like there is a lack of caring for the people who are trying to be healthy.”

“This is a ticking time bomb for depression and mental health issues.” – Gab Proulx

Tognarini, like Falstrault, understands the concern some of the public has when it comes to the gyms being open during these strange circumstances. They are both adamant that it is safe and yet, it is proven that exercise benefits one’s health rather than harms it.

Tognarini confirms that appropriate measures were implemented.

 “There’s this perception where the gyms are this dirty, raunchy place [...] When in reality gym owners are spending so much money, time and effort to keep their gym clean and safe and remain within the protocols provided by health care officials.”

Gab Proulx from Deux-Montagnes is a powerlifter who was actually training for a powerlifting contest amidst the abrupt closing.

“It’s a slap in the face. It’s a big part of my life and it is a stress reliever,” said Proulx. “This is a ticking time bomb for depression and mental health issues.”