With indoor workouts illegal, Oahu gyms get creative to help members stay in shape

Updated: Sep. 28, 2020 at 5:33 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Under the city’s new emergency order, indoor workouts in Oahu gyms and fitness classes are illegal.

It’s restriction that will continue for weeks so some gym owners are getting creative to keep their members in shape.

At CrossFit 808 in Kalihi, equipment like rowing machines, exercise bikes, and barbells have been set up outdoors in the alley.

Owner Elyse Umeda-Korth says it’s not quite the same as working out in the gym. But she says it’s better than being closed.

“When we saw we could go outdoors, we already started to brainstorm how could we do this, how could we do something,” said Umeda-Korth.

“Honestly, it’s just nice being around these guys. I think that’s what people miss, the camaraderie, the community, so just adding that back into the mix made it so much better.”

The new rules say outdoor group classes are limited to five people, including the instructor, and members must wear a face mask unless they’re more than 6 feet apart from each other.

Those headed to the gym say there are some benefits to breaking a sweat outside.

“It’s definitely easier to breathe because there’s more air coming in and out and the alleyway creates wind,” said Kaylen Shimamoto, CrossFit 808 member.

Over at Parado Power in Puck’s Alley, the landlord allowed the gym to use about 1,000 square feet of space in the parking lot.

Owner Blake Parado says the response has been huge.

“Everything we do is by reservation, whether its group class or personal training, so we started getting flooded with reservation requests right away,” said Parado.

“People were ready to roll as soon as we were able to.”

The city’s concerns over indoor workouts were in part because two gyms were linked to COVID-19 clusters back in July.

But Ikaika Pascua, owner of Alakai CrossFit, says most gyms are doing things safely.

“I actually got boxes that are 10 by 15 feet apart,” Pascua said. “Back in July, every station was loaded with its own equipment, so when an athlete came in, they wouldn’t even have to leave their square.”

Pascua says he hoped Mayor Kirk Caldwell would make a special exception for gyms to reopen indoor operations, as he did with restaurants, to further protect the health of the public.

“During the first shutdown, I already had a couple members come back to me and they said their blood pressure went back up and they’re back on meds, and I hear that and it just makes me emotional," he said. “It makes me sad because this is why I’m here.”

In the next reopening phase, gyms can operate indoors at 25% capacity. In the fourth and final phase, which has the lowest restrictions, they still must keep capacity at 50% or below.

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