COVID-19 Affiliate Advice: Embrace the Change

COVID-19 Affiliate Advice
Image courtesy of Sundog CrossFit

SunDog CrossFit located in Fairbanks, Alaska, knows what it means to be flexible. 

“Things are changing here in Fairbanks, Alaska, rapidly as our governor announced Tuesday afternoon that he will be re-opening Alaska businesses 100% this Friday,” said Stephanie Allen, a founder and co-owner of the Box.

Like many others, the Box closed its doors on March 16 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Their governor announced a week and a half ago that gyms could open up to 25% capacity. Allen said they chose to keep their indoors closed and only have outdoor weekend classes and continue to offer their online Zoom classes.

“Our original plan was to reopen classes on June 1 anticipating only moving to 50% capacity and now it’s all changing — again,” said Allen. 

Despite everything changing, Allen said she’s tried to approach this as a blessing in disguise. She has used this time to make improvements, both physically in the gym and in the backend business realm that will allow them to continue to serve their members. One of those changes has been re-painting and deep cleaning their 7,500 square-foot facility.

Below Allen shares a list of other steps they are taking and precautions the Box has in place: 

  • Online reservations are mandatory. “Although we are being released to 100%, we will still decrease class size slightly for the first few weeks to maintain some social distancing as we figure out a new normal for gym life,” said Allen.
  • Members will be prompted with a new waiver to sign before their first reservation can be made.
  • There is door signage reminding everyone to please stay home if they have had a fever in the past 72 hours, if they are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, if they have been in contact with anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days, etc.
  • “For the month of June, we will have members stay in assigned workspaces as we ease back into our new normal gym routine so we can eliminate shared equipment during the WOD,” she said.
  • All members will be required to wipe down equipment used after each workout. “We’ve always done this, but will ask everyone to be a little more thorough,” she said. “We use Zogics and were happy to find they are COVID-19 approved.”
  • Showers will remain closed for the month of June and when they reopen, there will be no towel service.
  • All gear (shoes, jump rope, grips, etc.) must be taken home daily; no leaving it at the gym.
  • Workout tracking is already done through SugarWOD so they don’t have to worry about white boards and markers being shared.
  • The front desk will continue to check everyone in for class upon arrival to avoid touching surfaces.
  • Virtual Zoom classes will continue to be offered for those who don’t feel comfortable coming back to the gym yet. “My plan is to set up my phone on a tripod and we’ll live Zoom a morning, mid-day and evening class, offering bodyweight/minimal equipment modifications through SugarWOD in the athlete notes,” she said.
  • “I’m working on a video to send out to members with one of my Coaches walking us through what a gym day will look like at SunDog when we reopen,” said Allen.

Allen said they will be meeting with their Coaches to go over all the new things they’ll be implementing and to remind them their biggest priority will be the safe return of members to a workout routine. “It will be extremely important for us to be mindful that while some have continued to work out daily, many have not worked out as much, and some just lost their motivation and stopped all together,” said Allen. 

Despite all the changes, Allen said her biggest job is helping members in the following three areas: mindset, nutrition and fitness. Everyone has handled the pandemic differently and it has taken a toll of all three of those areas for most of their members in some form or fashion. 

“At SunDog, we will focus on continuing to create a positive atmosphere while focusing on better nutrition habits and helping each member re-establish a safe and healthy fitness routine,” said Allen. “Like I always tell them, fitness is a lifelong journey, not a race, and we should embrace and enjoy the process with all its ups and downs.”

Taylor Brown is a staff writer at Peake Media. Contact her at