To our Valued Overdrive member,

First of all, I want to thank everyone for your patience and understanding through this challenging time of our lives. It has meant the world to me and my family the amount of support Overdrive has received in keeping this dream alive. We are finally moving forward!

Let’s start by painting a picture of our destination – a world that looks, feels, and functions similarly to the world we left behind eight weeks ago. At Overdrive, that means hundreds of athletes each month coming and going to our gym freely; checking in, working out hard, sharing a high five or fist bump with friends and doing so with confidence that they aren’t jeopardising anyone’s health. Right now, that outcome seems a bit more like fairy tale than reality, but I believe we are going to get back there if, and only if, we handle the next phase of time with the same diligent care and responsibility that went into our policy changes over the last two months. We’re in the final stretch, and we need to finish this the right way, and we need to do it together.

In the last week, it was announced that our province of B.C. would be easing restrictions starting May 19th. As exciting as it is, we know that further phases to the plan will go into effect for the greater good of our communities, and the people who live in them. We are prepared to play our part in the solution.

However, our planning for a slow return to the gym has been underway for weeks now and this open letter to our community is meant to shed some light on how we at Overdrive are choosing to handle things when we welcome our members back into the gym.

We have organised a phase by phase approach designed to reconcile a number of variables in the best possible way. We know some are excited to return and others need more time. We know some want to keep their social distance and enjoy our Home Workout options for a while longer. We know our operational cadence needs updating for the health and safety of our coaches and clients and we know there are some psychological hurdles that many of us will need to ease ourselves over before we are comfortable in public once again.

Hopefully, with this plan we can address all of these issues and play a strong leadership role as we all come back from this devastating, worldwide health crisis. I want to apologise for the length of this message in advance, and also for the delay in getting updates out to you – but I felt that I would rather have our members get accurate information and feel they have too much information, than to be concerned and confused by a lack there of.

Phase 1 – Date: May 1st – 31st, Duration: 1 month

During this month, we’re taking advantage of having our gym being closed for some improvements that are essential at this time. The biggest priority is the health, safety and wellness of our members when they come back. We decided to perform a mass cleaning and not leave any part of the gym uncovered. Improvements include things like paint touch-ups, flooring and reorganisation. This will have our gym feeling like new when we get back into it. All of our equipment (and all the equipment on loan), the various handles and knobs from doors and faucets will be scrubbed and sanitised for a clean, fresh start.

Phase 2 – Estimated Start Date: May 25, Duration: 1 week

Nobody is more excited to get back into the gym than we are, but even when the stay-at-home order is lifted, we feel like the right thing to do is to open up a schedule of outdoor classes for our athletes to enjoy and transition into rather than bringing athletes back into the gym immediately. Doing so will allow us all to rebuild the habit of joining their friends in a public setting for exercise while still allowing for maximum space and appropriate social distance.
Our Overdrive Home Workouts experience will continue onward via periodic athlete check-ins, Instagram posts, SugarWOD, and our Zoom classes, for those that prefer to continue their training virtually or in the comfort of their own home. But for those interested in joining their community members for workouts together, we will do the following:

  • We’ll be running outdoor classes each day (weather dependant), on a consistent schedule, outside the gym in the parking lot. Other locations will be announced if decided.
  • These class sizes will be limited and for active members only. Pre-registration on Push Press will be required to help us manage numbers and track who attended classes.
  • We’ll be organising our outdoor space in such a way that allows athletes more than enough distance between one another per the social distancing recommendations from the CDC.
  • The workouts will be a blend of body weight and lighter strength workouts. On days that call for more strength, we ask that athletes bring their borrowed equipment to the workout so they don’t have to worry about sharing any equipment.
  • Athletes are to bring their own water bottles and towels. Antibacterial wipes will be provided for athletes to use after every class.

Thus, through Phase 2 people loving their Overdrive Home Workouts experience can continue undisturbed and for those who are ready, we can start to rebuild the psychological habit of meeting up and working out with each other once again.

Phase 3 – Estimated Start Date: June 1st, Duration: 2 weeks

When we reopen our gym, we’re going to take extreme measures to ensure your safety. Phase three is all about how we can best handle bringing athletes back into our physical spaces for class. For AT LEAST the first two weeks of operations:

  • We’ll be managing the check in process for class so there is no physical contact with staff or any tablet/device.
  • Doors to the training space will be kept open to avoid any repeated surface contact.
  • Athletes will be encouraged to change into gym shoes before they train.
  • Athletes to bring in their own towels and water bottles to avoid any spreading of germs in the gym
  • We’ll be running simplified workouts in classes so that all equipment for the day will be in your workout space, to avoid unnecessary travel in the gym or sharing and excess handling.
  • Our class schedule will be spread out so there is no churn time in the lobby between classes i.e. we will be blocking approximately 30-45 minutes between each class so we can clean and to ensure no athletes leaving the gym are exposed to the athletes coming in.
  • Our gym space will be limited to a fraction of its capacity to ensure maximum distance between athletes.
  • Coaches will not use any tactile cues or make any contact with athletes.
  • Coaches will wear masks and utilise other personal protective equipment while coaching and athletes may do the same.
  • Our intensified cleaning procedures will continue with an increase in frequency throughout the day.
  • Cleaning : Workout areas to be disinfected with a fogging system using commercial grade disinfectant, equipment to be fully wiped down and sanitised, hand sanitizer to be provided in each station

Thus, Phase 3 allows athletes and Overdrive staff to regain confidence being together in the gym without having to jeopardise their safety or well-being.

I think we can all agree that a complete return to the way things used to be will be a long road. COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on businesses and individuals alike not only because of the financial and economic strain it has caused, but in terms of how we gather and how we think about physical interactions with our surroundings. Overdrive is no exception.
In the coming weeks we will be implementing a number of “new normal” policies and procedures so that even when this crisis is past us, we continue to be a responsible leader in our community regarding cleanliness, health and safety.

Our team understands that no idea is a bad idea right now. No old operational practice is off limits. We’re proud of how we handled ourselves in the last two months but to be a true leader we must not just go back to the way things used to be without question. We’ll be utilising the CDC’s recommendations as well as individual provincial guidelines for reopening, and in most cases we’ll air on the conservative side. One way that you can help refine our efforts further is by submitting your own suggestions. We know there are companies out there innovating and implementing incredible policy changes that will help keep people healthy and even save lives. If you ever come across any of these tactics, consider sharing them directly with us please.

In Addition:
A major part of this entire process will be how we handle it when we find out an athlete or staff member has contracted the virus. We all take a certain degree of risk any time we leave the house these days and while it’s not our place to tell individuals how to manage that risk, we want to be clear and transparent about our communication plan.

If an athlete or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, we ask that they alert Marco or Cole immediately. Because we will be tracking attendance down to the person, we’ll immediately alert every single athlete who attended a class with the person infected by the virus, from the previous 14 days. You will not be left in the dark if such a situation arises and we are committed to continuing our track record of open, honest communication, even if it’s difficult.

Many of you have leaned in on Overdrive over the last few weeks as a bright light during a dark time. You can continue counting on us to do the right things for the right reasons as we come through this and as life resumes.

We’re not there yet, but it does feel like we may be turning a corner in this crisis. The last eight weeks have not only demonstrated, but proven the strength and resolve of the Overdrive community and if we hold on just a little longer, we truly will have come through this all together. #unbeatablecommunity

Marco Tan
Owner, Overdrive Athletic Club