Long Island gym owners and residents raring for in-person workouts are pumped by a new appreciation for the great outdoors.
Exercising inside fitness facilities remains off-limits due to COVID-19 risks, but clubs are going beyond virtual sessions by using their outside spaces as alfresco classrooms for socially-distanced spinning, kickboxing, CrossFit, circuit training and yoga.
“This is a first for us,” said Sofia Christopoulos, 29, general manager of 3-year-old Firm Athletics in Locust Valley, where you can pedal off pounds on stationary bikes in the parking lot. “No one’s walking around while spinning, so this was the safest class to take outside.” As at other gyms, cleaning and sanitizing is in high gear here.
Hofstra Law School class of 2020 grad Allie Raso, 24, has done virtual workouts with Fusion MMA & Kickboxing, but now prefers training outdoors at the Port Jefferson Station gym. “I’m more disciplined,” she said. “There’s lots of space. It’s like being alone, but together.”
In Suffolk County, a Department of Economic Development and Planning survey of 34 fitness industry operators found that nearly 30% were conducting outdoor classes. “Nassau County has heard from approximately two dozen gyms looking to pivot outdoors,” said county executive office’s spokesperson Christine A. Geed. “We do not know exactly how many have completed the transition.”
Many gyms welcome walk-ins, and may even offer a free trial. But you still must reserve a space since classes fill up. Clubs also require that masks be worn when you arrive. You may have your temperature taken, be required to sign a waiver and need to bring your own equipment, such as a yoga mat and hand weights.
Want to give your workout some fresh air? You can drop in at these gyms.
TRX group classes
Experience: TRX training using resistance straps and your own body weight are what workouts at BeachFIT Training is all about. Outdoor sessions in the parking lot run 45 minutes and are limited to 10 students. “You’re always in control of how hard you’re working out,” said owner Michael Boccio, 46, whose clients range from athletes to retirees.
INFO $25, 2888 Long Beach Rd., Oceanside; 516-207-0786, beachfitlongisland.com
Experience: Hop one of the 15 bikes stationed 10 feet apart for a 45-minute high-intensity ride that gives new meaning to taking a spin in the parking lot at Firm Athletics. Cathy Craig, 63, a speech and language therapist and longtime Firm member, hasn’t missed an outdoor class yet. “The sun. The breeze. The music. The camaraderie,” she said. “It’s much more motivating than running by myself.”
INFO $20, 203 Birch Hill Rd., Locust Valley; 516-801-3253, firmathletics.com
Yoga with a view
Experience: Outdoor classes, including ones in view of the sunset, are divided between Island Park at the Boat House Marina and Long Beach are at National Blvd. Beach. “It’s nice doing yoga outside in the summer,” said Love Integration Yoga owner Elizabeth Dunne, 33. X-ray technologist Susan Bissett, 34, says outdoor group yoga has multiple benefits. “Being in the fresh air is one,” she said. “Being around others’ energy which boosts my own energy is another.”
INFO $20; 54 W. Park Ave., Long Beach, 516-548-7373; loveintegrationyoga.com
Mixed martial arts and kickboxing
Experience: Group fitness and mixed martial arts are the name of the game at Fusion MMA & Kickboxing, a 12-year-old gym whose back parking lot is now used for 1-hour mixed-level kickboxing and cross-training classes. “Everyone has their own assigned matted space,” said co-owner Joe Funaro, 34. “Equipment is cleaned and sanitized between classes.”
INFO $20, 600 N. Bicycle Path, Port Jefferson Station, 631-828-8008, fusionkickboxing.com
Yoga in a tent
Experience: “The last time we put up tents in the back parking lot was years ago for a community picnic,” said Darshana Community Yoga director Matthew Pecorella, 47. Now, the multicolored canopies, along with towering locust trees, provide shade during classes designed to improve alignment, breath, flexibility, self-awareness and strength. “It’s wonderful being back in a group. The surface is a little uneven but that’s good for my balance,” said retired teacher Mark Pasciuti, 60, who couldn’t get into virtual Zoom yoga session. “I’m kind of a germaphobe but I feel totally safe.”
INFO $15; 180 Great East Neck Rd., West Babylon, 631-893-1146, yogadarshanacenter.com
CrossFit group sessions
Experience: “Avoid contact. Air fives, thumbs-up and ‘good jobs’ encourage,” reads a sign in the Babylon CrossFit's outdoor space that accommodates 10 CrossFitters. Members have expressed “urgency” about coming back, said owner and certified trainer Trish Evangelisa, 31. “They miss me yelling at them.” The gym supplies equipment, which gets thoroughly cleaned between sessions.
INFO $20; 158 E. Main St., Babylon, 631-482-1616, babyloncrossfit.com
Experience: Outdoor workout stations in the gym parking area, including rowing machines, squat racks and battle ropes, are all situated at least six feet apart at Power 10 Fitness. Workouts are limited to 45-minutes and begin on the hour to give time for cleaning. Space is limited to 20 — and so far they haven’t maxed out. Interest is “growing a little bit” every day, owner Steve Panzik, 44.
INFO $20; 102A Harbor Rd., Port Washington, 516-767-6773, p10ny.com