Lifted lockdown restrictions lift weights for fitness enthusiasts

Gyms were closed due to the outbreak of COVID-19 yet fitness enthusiasts try their best to achieve their goals

A+woman+uses+a+stair+climber+in+the+outdoor+gym+set+up+by+California+Family+Fitness+in+Roseville%2C+Calif.+As+the+COVID-19+restrictions+loosen+in+San+Francisco%2C+outdoor+gyms+work+to+provide+fitness+enthusiasts+with+a+clean%2C+reliable+place+to+resume+exercise.+%28Ellie+Doyen+%2F+Golden+Gate+Xpress%29%0A%0A

Ellie Doyen

A woman uses a stair climber in the outdoor gym set up by California Family Fitness in Roseville, Calif. As the COVID-19 restrictions loosen in San Francisco, outdoor gyms work to provide fitness enthusiasts with a clean, reliable place to resume exercise. (Ellie Doyen / Golden Gate Xpress)

On Jan. 25, Mayor London Breed announced the reopening of San Francisco due to its current stable pandemic situation, restaurants and gyms in the city can be operated outdoors, according to the regulations of the city. The decision made many fitness people extremely excited.

As indoor gyms that provide various equipment are closed, people and fitness enthusiasts have also lost their opportunity to get all-around exercise. On the other hand, the pandemic may have fundamentally changed what fitness in the Bay Area looks like.

David Silvestre has been bodybuilding for fifteen years. He works out with fitness equipment at the outdoor gym of Crunch Fitness in Daly City. As a person who consistently works out, Silvestre shared how he found ways to be active despite the gyms being closed during the stay-at-home order.

“You gotta, you gotta do what’s best for you after the shutdown, do outdoor jogging or whatever,” Silvestre said. “As long as you’re keeping yourself busy. As far as exercising, jogging… any movement that you can do.”

Samuel Lopez is a recent fitness enthusiast who encountered obstacles to remain consistent in his first year of training when gyms were shut down.

“It’s a hard thing to do during COVID-19, there’s so many things that hold you back, like you’re sitting at home all day,” Lopez said about what has been motivating him. “Like you got to set yourself a goal, and that’s what kind of gets me through this closed gym time.”

Lopez also expressed his thoughts about gyms reopening outdoors.

“I mean it kind of sucked, but it made sense on why they shut it down because working out at the gym everyone’s touching everything,” Lopez added. “And they’re are over capacity, and everyone’s right next to each other, I like the idea that gyms are open again. They kind of made safe procedures to make sure everything’s good and everything’s clean. You still can do many things outside.”

San Francisco has established conditions and requirements on its website to open gyms or health centers, and not every one of these establishments can meet these conditions. The most basic of these is to have a large enough outdoor place for fitness equipment and capacity.

Because these conditions set by the city are very specific, Crunch Fitness, which has the largest outdoor fitness space among a very limited selection of gyms in the area, has been able to continue operations by occupying half of the first floor of the Serramonte Center parking establishment.

Giankarlo Alvarado, membership director of Crunch Fitness, sits at the entrance of the outdoor gym and checks every member who enters the parking lot to exercise.

“We’re thankful for the mall allowing us to operate, especially under these circumstances, and the members love it and enjoy it,” Alvarado said. “But the fact is the gyms here have closed around us. This gym is obviously the only thing that’s open and we’re able to have seen a lot of people.”

Alvarado also expressed the important role of outdoor gyms for people and gym employees during the pandemic.

“We try to put out as much equipment as we can with the space that we have, and we have at least 70% of our equipment that’s normally inside, out here,” Alvarado said. “So we’re considered as an essential workforce. We’re able to help people’s mental and physical health, right. And the state recognizes that. So we want to make sure that they are still having fun and reach their physical goal, especially during these hard times. So it’s a very positive impact that we’re having, especially in this community.