TORRANCE, Calif. — Working out is part of fitness instructor Kurt James’ daily routine. But when the pandemic hit and gyms closed, the thought of how James could maintain his health weighed heavy on his mind.

“I had some equipment to start. But, I went to five or six different towns all across L.A. and even Orange County just to find equipment,” James said.

So, he filled a part of his backyard with weights, a squat rack, a climbing rope, and more. But James continued to feel like it was missing something.

“I like this environment because it’s close and I get a good workout in. But, you know, I miss the people at the gym,” James said.

Throughout the pandemic, many people have adjusted their gym routines to hikes, runs, and outdoor workouts, not knowing when they will feel safe enough to go back to the gym. But like James mentioned, at-home workouts are not quite the same. Mark Olsen is one of James’ friends who uses the outdoor gym while his remains closed. Having a backyard outlet to lift weights and see his friend, helps Olsen clear his mind.

“I used to go on Saturdays and Sundays religiously every weekend and I’m able to continue that workout pattern up here. Getting up here on Saturdays and Sundays and I’m just very grateful to Kurt for sharing his backyard with me,” Olsen said.

While outdoor workouts in the backyard are helping James stay focused on his fitness, he’s not sure when he’ll find himself back in the gym.

“That’s a tough call. I don’t want to be the first one back. I know that there are a lot of people that want to go back and they can’t wait to get back, but, for right now, since I have this set up and I have the ability to do it at home, I’m OK with this, for now,” James said.

James might not know how or where he’ll workout in the future. But, he’s determined to get through this pandemic in good health, even if it means lifting weights in his own backyard.  

For more on the reopening protocols of L.A. gyms and fitness establishments, visit here.