GYM-GOERS across Gwent have been allowed to return to the gym for the first time since December on Monday.

Gyms, fitness facilities, leisure centres, spas and swimming pools reopened today, Monday, after the Welsh Government brought forward the opening date from May 10.

One Gym Newport was one of the gyms to welcome back members from day one.


"Today has been really positive," owner Alex Bodin said. "Lockdown has been a slog, not just for us but for all business owners.

"It’s been a big relief. We’ve been carrying the pressure and financial pressures and worries about not reopening and worrying about are members going to come back on the first day.

"The members have been phrases like 'I feel like I’ve come home'. They have been saying it felt good to be back and back doing something. It’s given us the boost we needed.

"They can come back and use equipment they haven’t had access to for the last few months. But it’s not just having the equipment, it’s also meeting and socialising with the other members too.

"This week is really positive. The last couple of months have been really tough. But there’s glimmers of hope."

Mr Bodin said it was positive news that exercise classes had been brought forward two weeks to also resume on Monday, however the short notice did provide some logistical challenges.

"It’s been a mixed bag," he said. "It was a positive that we could get them going, but it meant the last two weeks we have been going around the clock to get ready. Luckily we have made a lot of the changes already. It’s the logistical challenges. We had to arrange deliveries to come a week earlier.

"But on the whole, I can’t complain. It’s the lift I needed. We get enjoyment out of people coming in and exercising.

"For us now it’s about keeping that momentum going forward into the summer.

"To reopen on a bank holiday was a good decision, so people can spread out when they come throughout the day."

Hand sanitiser stations at One Gym in Newport. Picture: One Gym

Hand sanitiser stations at One Gym in Newport. Picture: One Gym

Temperature readers at One Gym in Newport. Picture: One Gym

Temperature readers at One Gym in Newport. Picture: One Gym

As with previous reopenings, the gym has spread out equipment to ensure social distancing, has sanitiser stations throughout the gym, as well as a one way system and a temperature reader. Masks must been worn when moving around the gym, and members can see on the app how full the gym is before coming.

"We know there are people that are wanting to wait a few weeks to make sure everything is safe," said Mr Bodin. "When the Government uses terms such as ‘super spreaders’ it is a lot of long-term damage that’s left for us to try and reassure members that we are safe.

"The types of members that we have, they are wiping and cleaning as they go as they want to do everything they can to keep us open.

"The reality is that people don’t want to train in a busy gym, so the tracker has worked well."

The online booking system for One Gym in Newport. Picture: One Gym

The online booking system for One Gym in Newport. Picture: One Gym

One Gym is running a 'Workout to Help Out' scheme, where members who join before May 31 will get their first month half price, as well as a six week programme to help members get back into the swing of things.

"Because we are heavily involved in the Welsh Health Matters movement, it’s something we’ve pushed the Welsh Government for, but we’ve heard nothing from them," said Mr Bodin. "We thought we would go ahead and launch it.

"Obviously we are taking a financial hit, but we feel like it’s the right thing to do. It’s a thank you to our members who have stuck with us and welcome back those who haven’t been here before. And we’re getting other gyms involved too so it’s being used in more than just our venue.

"We have been in contact with our members while we’ve been away, and they’ve been a bit apprehensive about coming back after so long being inactive. So we are offering a six-week programme to help them with their diet and building their way back.

"It’s a really positive day and it’s about focusing on our members and getting the health of the Welsh people back on its feet."