OCEANSIDE — Last week, gyms and fitness centers across San Diego County were forced to either move all of their operations outdoors or to close when the county shifted into the state’s purple tier of COVID-19 restrictions.
Only a few gyms like EōS Fitness has so far been able to move their operations outdoors. With three locations in San Diego County, including one in Oceanside and another in Encinitas, EōS Fitness began moving 70-80% of each gym’s equipment outdoors on the day before the county’s new mandate took place.
Each location’s outdoor workout space is more than 15,000-square feet and includes strength and cardio equipment plus sanitization stations and tents to provide shade over the space.
“We’re all in and haven’t held any equipment back,” said Shilpi Sullivan, EōS Fitness vice president of marketing and communications via email. “We’ve moved treadmills, stair steppers, bikes, ellipticals, rowers and assault trainers outdoors.”
The gyms have also moved most of their strength equipment for weight training outside, including machines, racks, barbells and dumbbells up to 150 pounds.
“We are making adjustments regularly and, when possible, additional pieces of equipment at our member’s request,” Sullivan said. “We want to make the experience a great one.”
Oceanside Fitness Manager Herberto Martinez said his EōS Fitness location is one of the few gyms in the area to move operations as big as theirs outdoors.
“Members are able to see that we’re making an effort for them to come in and get their workout,” Martinez said. “We show that we really care about servicing members.”
Martinez said fitness is a great way to alleviate stress, especially in today’s world as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
According to Sullivan, thousands of North County residents are working out every month at both the Encinitas and Oceanside locations. She said the members have responded “nothing short of phenomenal” to the gym’s changes.
“Our members are so appreciative of the efforts we’ve made to keep them at the gym,” Sullivan said.
EōS Fitness used its experience from moving operations at its Riverside location outdoors to help its efforts in San Diego County.
Still, the limited availability of canopy tents, which are currently in high demand, along with moving resources made it a challenge to move everything outdoors in the three days between the announcement that San Diego shifted into the purple tier and when the new mandates went into effect.
Protecting equipment was another challenge. The gyms have set up fencing around the perimeter of the outdoor workout space to keep the equipment to keep things safe, and canopies have been set up to protect the equipment from the weather.
The gym also had to work with local fire marshals, landlords and property managers to use the parking lots.
The gym also hired professional movers to move everything outdoors, a process that required the unbolting of equipment from inside. The gyms are preparing for “the long haul,” according to Sullivan.
“It was a herculean effort, but it’s all worth it when you look outside and see our members continuing to do their thing, without missing a beat,” Sullivan said.
Martinez said most of his location’s staff has been able to stay working through this effort as well.