Baltimore, MD

Baltimore Sweat: Where to Get Your Workout On Now That (Some) Things are Opening Up

Susan Kelley

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A gym stocked with dumbells.Photo by Danielle Cerullo on Unsplash

It's been a while. Fall is right around the corner, and we're all looking to keep (or maybe to finally get) the summer body worthy of our beach attire. While maybe we didn't need a full-on gym during the summer months, thanks to Baltimore's balmy weather, plentiful parks, and general easy outdoor spaces, it's time to think about what to do when fall is upon us and the rain comes - because we know it's coming. Luckily, area gyms have reopened, some as early as last spring, so they've figured out all the do's and don'ts of COVID safety.

Baltimore City has reinstated an indoor mask mandate, so in some ways that is a good thing. Knowing you will head indoors to work out also means you know you'll be near others, but they - like you - will be fully masked. Many gyms are asking for proof of vaccination status, too, so another layer of safety is on your side. Not much would be worse than those weights making you sick, so rest assured, gyms are handling COVID protocols fairly well.

No single facility or venue can guarantee your safety, whether working out or dining out, but here's a guide to where to get your sweat on in Baltimore this fall.

Maryland Athletic Club, otherwise known as "the MAC" reopened last spring with limited numbers of members allowed in the space. For a time, they were only taking reservations for the pool and no longer allowing guests of the nearby hotels in Harbor East to use the facilities, to limit potential spreading. The MAC offers a detailed link to their COVID safety policy as well. Good to know that information is there when you want it. The MAC offers limited space in-person classes and a variety of virtual ones, so those who want to have some guidance while they work out have plenty of choices. It's still important to reserve pool times, as it's no longer acceptable to share lanes. The lane-sharing may be a thing of the past at all pools, and that's probably not a bad thing. Located in Baltimore's trendy and well-appointed Harbor East neighborhood, the MAC might be worth looking into.

Under Armour Performance Center is a Baltimore staple. After all, the headquarters is here, so it's only natural that they'd have gym facilities as well. They have several locations, including one in downtown Baltimore, right on Light Street. As with most gyms, they have trimmed their hours a bit which is totally understandable given the leaner population of members heading indoors, so be sure to check on when they are available. A nifty benefit is the retail store for those among you who enjoy wearing the logo while you work out. They livestream some of their group fitness classes as well, so if you're skittish about returning to in-person sweating, you can still maintain your summer bod.

In the Brewer's Hill neighborhood of Baltimore City, residents and others are treated to Five X3 Training, whose website mentions a "no-nonsense environment and personalized attention." No-nonsense includes no pool, but many people don't want a swim anyway, but the personal attention includes coaching for the "Starting Strength Method," and one-day strength clinics. Plenty of gyms offer trainers and training plans, but FiveX3 thrives on them. At this gym, there are group boot camp sessions, private sessions, and more. The focus here is on strength, not cardio or pilates or yoga, so plan to leave with more muscle than when you started.

Charm City Fitness has been hosting outdoor boot camps and classes during the nice weather, so that's a bonus. With a small but well-qualified team of trainers, Charm City offers one-on-one and group sessions, and they've held steady throughout the pandemic with outdoor and virtual sessions. For those who enjoy a small, personal gym, Charm City is Baltimore's offering on Eastern Avenue in the heart of the city.

Everyone knows about Merritt Clubs in Baltimore, so to leave them off the list would be just...weird. There is a Merritt Club in downtown, of course, but they also dot the suburbs, so if you want to find one where you are, you surely can. They boast a larger network of facilities and trainers, and programs for athletes (or aspiring athletes) of all ages. Merritt offers a group called "active agers," which might make you feel like heading to the gym if you are a tad older than the average gym rat.

The important factors are to stay fit, stay well, and be ready to self-check your wellness for others around you who are in the gym. Mask up, Baltimoreans, but never fear, your gyms are here!

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Susan is a runner, avid traveler, mom of three grown children, and a newly-transplanted Baltimorean who follows tech trends, especially at the intersection of health and the public good. Sound intriguing? It is. Often, technology is at odds with the "earthy-crunchy," but sometimes, it is a real boost. Susan is an avowed supporter of women's and human rights, so that situates well here.

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