California Gyms Adapt to Current Climate

July 22, 2020 by

After Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement on July 13, closing indoor operations for fitness centers, places of worship, hair salons and several other types of businesses in 30 counties of 58 counties, California gym owners have literally and figuratively acted quickly to adapt to the new climate in their state, one that includes moving their training outside amidst California’s summer heat.

Background: For many CA gyms, such as Boombox North Fitness in Escondido, CrossFit Inglewood and Double Barrel Fitness in San Marcos, this is a step backward. All three are located in counties that had been allowed to operate indoors for the last month.

  • “We were open for exactly one month before San Diego county gyms (were told they) have to operate outside [as of] July 15,” said Brittani Bauer, Boombox North Fitness owner.
  • Similarly, Benjamin Timm, Double Barrel Fitness owner, had been training clients inside since June 12, and Michael Taylor, CrossFit Inglewood owner, had been operating inside since June 16, with limited class sizes and masks. Both have been forced to pivot their businesses once again.

Meanwhile, other CA gyms were finally on the brink of reopening indoors, only to be hit with the news that this wouldn’t be happening.

  • In Santa Clara county, Trac Nguyen, the owner of TRACFIT in Campbell, CA, was finally legally allowed to open on Monday, July 13, but was then informed just two days later that he must keep his clientele outside. “Sucks balls to be closed after two days of (being allowed to) open,” Nguyen said.

One big thing: The most pressing concern for California gyms now is how to protect their clients from heat stroke while working out in the stifling heat.

  • “Heat is a big issue…I don’t want to be outside these days in 90 degree heat,” Nguyen said. As a result, he’s about to start offering morning workouts and has canopies to protect from the heat, but “it’s just not worth setting up and frying in the heat in the afternoon and evening sessions.”

Taylor is taking a similar approach. He has been offering morning workouts only, partly because of the heat and partly because he shares the parking lot with three other businesses, so evening classes “wouldn’t work because the parking lot is too crowded,” he said.

To get around the heat, Timm installed a 1,200 square foot tent, which he was able to rent for $1,000, to keep people out of the direct sun. Had he purchased one, it would have cost him closer to $4,500.

  • “We wanted to allow our members the chance to take an outdoor class without worrying about sunburn, exposure, sunblock in the eyes and all the other things that go along with being outside,” Timm said.
Credit: Benjamin Timm

And Bauer, who has been dealing with temperatures upward of 95F, said she’s lucky she has a parking lot that offers shade in different areas at different times of the day, so she has been running classes in the most shaded area of the parking lot.

Reason to hope: Despite the outdoor-only regulation and the stifling heat CA gyms are dealing with, Bauer said business is still doing amazingly well.

  • “Attendance has skyrocketed since California initially reopened. Members that cancelled due to the first closure have returned, and new members have joined,” Bauer said.
  • She added: “It has also substantially skyrocketed with the second mandate of gyms operating outdoors, which I’m attesting to all the gyms that have had to halt operations because they don’t have the ability to operate outdoors. We have had quite a few members joined because (other gyms) closed.”

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