The new reality of working out in a gym

Liam Higgins, Staff Writer

The clanking sounds of weights hitting the ground and grunts echoing through the gym is all a little different this year.

According to the AP News, Hawaii has been hesitant about opening up things like schools due to teachers being afraid to catch COVID-19. Many people are unaware and aren’t following the proper protocols like wearing a mask.

“Even if we didn’t have our masks, I feel like that would make us less prone to getting COVID,” said sophomore wrestler Jade Retuta.

With gyms reopening, closing and new rules and regulations, athletes said they struggle to keep up.

“The mask was a big difference especially while trying to breathe and just breathing in general is a lot harder with a mask on,” said senior, Nicholas (Niko) Soma.

Oahu moved into tier three on Feb. 25, said Mayor Rick Blangiardi. This means that public gyms can open at 50 percent capacity compared to tier two at 25 percent.

“Try to use a mask that is looser and not so tight so it is easier to breathe. If you keep working out with a mask, you’ll get used to it.”

— Niko Soma.

Regulations, like having to wear a mask and social distancing, require some athletes to work a lot harder and be more careful of their surroundings while lifting weights.

“We have to do stuff like wearing a mask and having to sanitize and being mindful of the things we touch,” said Soma.

Things like spotting for bench presses are no longer safe in the gym because you are within a foot of each other.

A spotter’s job is to make sure the athlete is safe while bench pressing so they don’t drop the weights on themselves. Since there is no one to help athletes lift weights, gym instructor Ian Hunt said it is much harder to have gains (Increase how much weight one can lift) in performance without a spotter to help out due to having to lift less weight just in case.

“I have to hang around in case something goes wrong while lifting weights,” said Hunt.

When asked about the atmosphere, athletes said it was more challenging for everyone.

“You can literally only hear people breathing super hard all around you and that pretty much sums up COVID right there,” Retuta said.

However, Hunt said athletes do have a hard time following the precautions.

“Students have a hard time following the physical distance and mask requirements,” said Hunt.

Hunt said that the students aren’t thinking that these rules in place are important and thinks more severe punishments should be in place.

“Safety of the students is my primary concern and I take these requirements seriously. While I’m teaching a skill, I always need to be scanning the area and reminding the students to stay apart or cover their nose,” said Hunt.

While these things may be a struggle, there are some tips to help with breathing and staying stable while working out.

“Buy a mask designed for athletic use,.” said Hunt.

Using a mask may be a challenge but after a while, Soma said, you get a little more used to it.

“Try to use a mask that is looser and not so tight so it is easier to breathe. If you keep working out with a mask, you’ll get used to it,” said Soma.

According to a survey by CNBC, 59 percent of people are less likely to go to a gym due to the pandemic.

“I wouldn’t use a commercial fitness facility if my only choice was to exercise inside. My experience has been that members are not strictly complying with the mask requirements and the enforcement is not robust,” said Hunt.