To anyone whose New Year’s resolution is to get in shape, you’re in luck: Green Mountain Community Fitness plans to fully reopen on Jan. 18. The gym, located on Granger Road in Barre next to Airport Road, has been closed for the past six weeks in response to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in central Vermont. Executive Director Nick Petterssen told The Bridge that he is excited to get back to “fitness, full hours, and business as usual.”
The GMCF facilities include a fully equipped weight room, a CrossFit area, and multiple exercise studios, as well as a pool that offers both open-swim times and classes, and courts for tennis, racquetball, pickleball, and basketball. They also offer personal training, nutrition, and wellness coaching services.
The fitness center also offers virtual classes that members can attend from home. During the gym’s two shutdowns — a mandatory closure in Spring 2020, and a voluntary closure in December 2020 — GMCF began to hold virtual classes so that people could keep their gym memberships active. So far, Petterssen said, going virtual has been a success. They have increased the program to over 30 classes a day. Some of the more popular classes include Pilates and HomeFIT, 45-minute classes that do not require any training or equipment.
They also created an equipment rental program, and loaned over 100 packages of equipment during the closure. People could request combinations of weights and kettlebells, tennis balls, jump ropes, and “anything that can fit in a car.”
While the gym will be fully open for in-person workouts, Petterssen said that they plan to continue holding most of the virtual classes. “There is definitely an awareness in the entire fitness facility industry recognizing that people have learned how to stay fit and take classes at home successfully,” he said. He believes that providing a hybrid model of in-person and virtual fitness programs is a crucial step in adapting his business to the “new normal.”
Of course, Petterssen could not foresee a global pandemic when he and his wife, Cady Hart-Petterssen, purchased the fitness center back in January 2020. The couple previously owned Green Mountain Crossfit for 10 years before acquiring the former First in Fitness gym and expanding it to become Green Mountain Community Fitness. Since March, the two have had to rethink their business model in order to comply with COVID-19 restrictions.
Petterssen said that this is especially hard for the fitness center, since they rely on operating as a community. Normally, the center often hosts social events such as competitions and fundraisers. But any type of large group gathering has been put on hold indefinitely.
Petterssen said that his goal for the new year is to get back to a sense of normality. “We really look forward to being able to get back to paying attention to the community part of our name, as we continue to deliver on the fitness side of things.”