Are gyms safe and what are the WHO recommendations?

Gyms and fitness centers suffered a major blow in the first wave of the pandemic, but today it is clearer that these are the places that can strengthen the immunity and health of individuals, while respecting strict measures.

Gyms4You is the largest chain of fitness centers in Croatia and currently operates at 11 locations in 5 cities. Their CCO puts the Client concept first, alongside Cleanleness and Operations. During the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, they confirmed that the health and safety of users came first. Despite all the challenges facing their business, Gyms4You regional manager Goran Kliskic states that their gyms are safer than ever with all preventive measures that are greater than prescribed, and physical activity with a healthy diet is the key to success for strong immunity. In order to justify its status as one of the leading fitness centers in the country, he told us what innovations they have introduced in the protection segment, what are their plans for the coming period, and how they view the decisions of the National civil protection headquarters, including the short-term closure of gyms in Split. -Dalmatian County.

Regional Manager at Gyms4You – Goran Kliškić

Just over three weeks ago, the Civil Protection Headquarters closed fitness centers in the Split-Dalmatia County. How do you comment on that decision?

I think it was a hasty decision, made out of precaution and uncertainty about how to react. Professionally organized fitness centers, in general, are quite safe places. I can’t say for sure about others, but I guess these are facilities that adhered to high hygiene standards. We at Gyms4You adhered to and enforced more than the prescribed standards even before the pandemic. This was witnessed by numerous sanitary inspections with always excellent results. Now, after we have been prescribed strict epidemiological measures, our premises are more than regularly maintained and disinfected, and the physical distance and ventilation are taken into account. The National civil protection headquarters and the Croatian Institute for Public Health should certainly limit the work of facilities that do not comply with the law and measures, but they should also make quality inspections before closing, and encourage people to physical activity because they strengthen their body and immunity. An active and healthy lifestyle and exercise as an integral part of everyday life will further strengthen the immunity of every person. Therefore, it is the situation with the coronavirus that should encourage additional care for one’s own health, instead of demotivating us with the bans. After all, the WHO (World Health Organization) recommends exercise combined with aerobic exercise and strength training as a foundation for health!

Like many service industries, yours suffered great damage during this crisis, and you were also the last business branch to be approved to work. How has the whole situation affected your business?

The coronavirus crisis has also affected our business, which is understandable. We are the largest chain of fitness centers in Croatia. Although we have excellent strategic checkpoints – the new situation caught us unprepared like the others. It is for this reason that cumulative operating costs have risen. We invest more time, and therefore money, in security and implementation of measures prescribed by the Croatian Institute for Public Health. We have invested additional efforts and resources in equipment, constant training of employees, cleaning products, and we have hired additional subcontractors in the sector of maintenance and cleaning of our premises and ventilation and air conditioning systems.

Will the increased costs in the future lead to an increase in the price of your services?

The fact is that our costs have increased, but also that our goal is to keep the current standard and even be above that. To make this sustainable, from November 1 this year we will be forced to raise the prices of our services. I would like to emphasize that we want to remain loyal to our loyal members and we want to express our gratitude to them for staying with us in these challenging moments. First of all, we do this in this public way and at the same time we have made the decision not to touch their membership fees. The price increase will only apply to new members. In addition, I would like to mention that our fellow citizens can always come to a free trial training and see for themselves the safety of training in our centers. If they enroll by November 1, they will benefit from the loyalty program.

You say that during the crisis you invested additional funds in equipment and user safety. What exactly did you do?

First of all, our premises are extremely spacious and for this reason we have provided the recommended distance between the machines, to make every member feel safe. We do not hold group trainings, which minimizes physical contact. It should be noted that, that at the entrance, hand disinfection is mandatory and we have also introduced mandatory changing of shoes at the reception. Also, upon arrival at our premises, each user must go through a kind of “box” (glass passage), registering with his membership card. This way we have 100% control and accurate data on who and when was in our center, and in case of infection we can react urgently and accurately. On the other hand, employees measure their body temperature every day before coming to work, which they report to the management in writing. In this way, we want to reduce the risk of viruses entering the premises by employees. All our business partners and associates – who do not have membership – fill out questionnaires and are recorded by CCTV surveillance during their stay in our centers. As a great advantage of our fitness centers, I would like to point out the unique 24-hour working time – day and night to reduce the possibility of creating unnecessary crowds of people.

In addition to all the measures, you also pointed out the introduction of contactless paymet of membership fees. Can you explain to us how it works?

Our contactless and automatic membership fee collection system (popular RCP) is a new form of payment for all active and future members. This way, the membership fee is charged directly from the card every month. For the avoidance of doubt, this is not a permanent standing order. In addition, in this way, the member spends only a few minutes at the reception when registering, after which he no longer has to come into contact with the receptionists. In this way, we have further reduced unwanted physical contact, while members can follow their profile through the User Zone on our website and thus have insight into paid bills, as well as other necessary information.

In addition, we have introduced the self-service machine – Machine4You, which is available in our premises 24 hours a day, and through which users can also contactlessly pay and enjoy products – before, during and after training. They also have at their disposal the products they need and forgot to bring them, such as shower gels and similar products.


Given that unpredictable autumn and winter are ahead of us, what is your message to our readers for the period ahead?

Mr. Spencer Johnson wrote a beautiful light reading of the title “WHO MOVED MY CHEESE”. I would sincerely recommend everyone to read this book which explains in a very simple way how one should adapt to change as soon as possible without fear of the future. After all, it is said that the only constant is actually change. Ahead of us is the new normal, and we will not lie COVID-19 is present in our lives. Let’s accept this as something we need to live normally with and something that will encourage us all for better habits and respect on ourselves. There is no better way to start working on yourself than exercise. Even when you can do it in controlled conditions then you are sure to win. I repeat – Gyms4You fitnecc centers are definitely the safest places to practice good exercise habits and a study conducted in America showed that fitness centers are NOT PLACES where COVID-19 is spreading. In three months, they had almost 50 million visits to fitness centers, of which only 0.0023% of those tested were positive for COVID-19. Compared to other activities and places in the country it was 500 times less! The study was done in 2873 US fitness and similar centers where a healthy lifestyle is practiced! So, if I can at least have a little positive impact on my fellow citizens across our beautiful country, I would say, “Don’t focus on the negativity of the environment you find yourself in, because negativity will follow you! Focus on what you can do for yourself to feel better! Get up and exercise, Strengthen your immunity and psychophysical condition! One of the best ways to fight the disease is exercise, and this has been confirmed by the WHO (World Health Organization). Exercise responsibly with us in the safest and most affordable fitness centers in Croatia See you at training! ” – said Goran.

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