CrossFitters push through the summer heat in outdoor workouts

Jun 28, 2020

Gyms aren’t allowed to fully reopen yet, but for those brave enough to push through the summer heat, workouts are back in session at Seaside CrossFit.

For the last couple weeks, coaches have been holding outdoor practices in the gym’s parking lot. 

To mitigate any potential spreading of the coronavirus, CrossFitters set up at mats spaced several feet apart from each other, and disinfect all of their equipment before the next group shows up for their workout. 

As temperatures reached the low 80s on Sunday morning, a dedicated group of five athletes persevered through a two-hour “threshold workout,” consisting of heavy lifting, kettlebell routines, and plyometric movements. 

Led by coach Josh Gunschel, the first portion of the workout focused on strength training with heavy barbell exercises like squats. The second half of the session was a fast-paced “workout of the day” focusing on kettlebell swings, step-ups and box jumps, as well as some more barbell training. 

As challenging as the workout was, it was a welcome return to form for the athletes who completed it. 

“It’s been fantastic to be able to come and workout,” said Erin Scott. 

She added that it was good to be back around her fellow CrossFitters again, and that being able to workout is beneficial for mental health as well as the obvious physical benefits. 

“It’s actually nice being outside,” said Garrett Fregault. 

While the heat adds some difficulty, he said he has been enjoying the outdoor workouts since it provides a nice contrast from his daily life, working behind a desk.

He and his wife Marcy Fregault said that they had been working out together at home while the gym was closed, but are now attending the parking lot sessions with others at the gym. 

“Having the interpersonal interaction is good,” Garrett said. 

Gunshel said that the focus for the outdoor sessions is largely the same as the gym’s normal indoor workouts, but as a coach he needs to be “a little bit more creative.” 

Without access to gym equipment like “the rig” used for pull-ups and gymnastics-based exercises, Gunschel said he has had to make some adaptations to the routines, but the majority of exercises can still be done outside. 

He added that the heat is one of the biggest differences between indoor and outdoor workouts. During Sunday’s session, he made sure athletes had water, and didn’t push themselves to the point of feeling nauseous in the summer sun.

Since reopening for the parking lot workouts, Gunschel said that about half of the gym’s members have come back to train at the facility. 

There are several sessions available each weekday, and two on Sundays. Athletes must sign up in advance, as there is a limit of ten people per session, to make sure everyone can maintain social distance.

Gunschel said that he doesn’t know exactly when the gym will be able to host indoor workouts again, but that when that time comes, the gym is spacious enough to allow members to keep their distance from each other.  

At the end of Sunday’s threshold workout, athletes disinfected their equipment and lugged it back inside the gym before leaving. Gunschel then used a bleach solution to disinfect each athlete’s mat.

Like many workouts of the day, or “WODs” for short, Sunday’s session was dedicated to a service member who lost his or her life. Sunday’s WOD was dedicated to Army Staff Sergeant Jack Martin, who was killed in action in 2009.