A group of women gently splashed the water around them as they followed the moves of the instructor during Wednesday morning’s aqua cardio class at Twin Arbors Private Sports Club in Lodi.
The class is one of about 30 the Lodi gym is holding in the pool area, which has been transformed into an outdoor gym after Gov. Newsom ordered all gyms in San Joaquin County to cease indoor operations on July 13 in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Next to the pool, several white canopy tents have been set up to accommodate other outdoor workouts, including a P90X fitness program and cardio kickboxing and Flow Motion classes, each held on different weekday mornings. Hiers Goju Rye Karate is also holding classes under the tents in the evenings.
Chris Hiers, the owner of the dojo, has been teaching classes at Twin Arbors for the past 25 years. He appreciates being able to teach outside to keep the business going, but said it has some unique challenges.
“With kids in a classroom setting, it’s real easy to keep their attention, but right now they have a big distraction, and that is the swimming pool! I just try to turn their backs to it. I have to keep coming up with innovative ways to keep them motivated and listening,” he said with a laugh.
Outside Robinson’s Taekwondo on Lodi Avenue, six pop-up tents were set up in a row on Wednesday evening, each with a set of blue mats underneath. Ample room was given between each student to ensure social distancing.
As students filed in, owner Jamie Shelton took their temperature before they sat down at their designated squares and waited for class to start. Every student, and Shelton herself, wore a mask.
The martial arts school, or dojang, was shut down for three months during the pandemic, but was recently able to start outdoor classes.
“It’s a little bit harder than our normal way of operating, but after being closed for three months, I am just happy to be teaching,” Shelton said. “It’s a little more work, but it’s worth it to be able to be open and teaching and making sure our students are still learning and progressing.”
Robinson’s lost a lot of students due to the pandemic, Shelton said, but class sizes are also smaller due to state guidelines. They used to have 25 students in a class, but now are limited to 10.
“We’re just trying to keep with all the guidance that we get and make sure we do everything right and keep everyone safe,” Shelton said.
Back at Twin Arbors, on the other side of the pool from the tents, equipment has been relocated to create an outdoor weightlifting space.
Along the wall of the gym, several elliptical machines and stationary bikes have been placed so members can get their cardio workouts.
Spread throughout the area are also sanitizing stations so members can sanitize their equipment before and after use.
“Everybody is liking the fact that we’re open, that we’ve created a great outdoor space,” said Twin Arbors co-owner David Claxton, who added that numerous members have asked if some of the equipment can remain outside when indoor operations resume because they enjoy working out in the fresh air.
Steve Piazza of Lodi was lifting weights under the blue pop-up tent on the south side of the pool.
“I love it, especially when I come in the mornings or evenings. It feels like it’s my backyard, especially with the weather now,” Piazza said. “This gym is lucky to have this area.”
The arrangement is working well for the gym and its members, Claxton said, but adjustments might be needed during inclement weather. However, he appreciates that the members are allowed the opportunity to exercise outside.
“It’s so important for our members to be able to get out and get some exercise,” he said. “It’s good for them physically, it’s good for them mentally, and we’re trying to support that healthy lifestyle here, and this provides us that opportunity.”