Feeling the burn, at home

Locals find ways to get their workouts in during a pandemic

EQUIPMENT Jana Eastus works out with heavy objects in her garage. Submitted photo

The coronavirus pandemic has forever changed the fitness industry, forcing gyms and fitness studios across the country to shut down. High-profile national gym franchises such as Gold’s Gym and 24 Hour Fitness filed for bankruptcy, and the latter had to permanently close more than 130 of its facilities throughout the country. 

Although gyms and local indoor recreational centers are starting to reopen locally at a reduced capacity, it’s all but guaranteed that many of those gym-goers or rec-users won’t be coming back. During the Covid-19 era, people have had to evolve to get their workout fix. One has to look no further than a couple of Gilroy residents to see there are a variety of ways to exercise during the pandemic. 

Friends Jana Eastus and Laura Vasquez are working out more now than pre-pandemic times, utilizing different methods. Eastus prefers to pick up heavy objects or fill up sandbags for weighted exercises—a no-frills approach—while Vasquez uses Peloton, the popular in-home, connected workout service that contains the latest bells and whistles and gives users a dynamic hi-tech experience. 

Vasquez has been a Peloton member since December 2018 and since that time has completed 300 rides. The 31-year-old has unlimited streaming access to all of Peloton’s workouts, which includes its renowned spin classes. However, Vasquez said Peloton also offers other workouts like boot-camp strength-training sessions, which she streams onto her TV from her iPad or smartphone. 

Peloton was exploding in popularity even before the pandemic started, but sales have sky-rocketed since mid-March as people started working out from their own homes. The forerunner of the smart home workout center—Tempo, Tonal and Mirror are some of the new fitness brands that feature trainers and a community of studio classes—Peloton allows users to choose from a variety of instructors.

“It’s absolutely amazing,” Vasquez said. “You choose an instructor depending on the mood you’re in. One day I might want someone motivational. Another day I might need some laughs so I pick a funny instructor. Another day I might be well rested and ready for a really intense workout, so I’ll pick an instructor who will kick my butt.”

HOME GYM Laura Vasquez of Gilroy has ramped up her Peloton workouts during the pandemic. Submitted photo

Speaking of kicking butt, that’s what Eastus does with regularity. A CrossFit Gilroy trainer, Eastus had no troubles exercising once fitness facilities had to close. The 51-year-old Spartan World Championship competitor does a variety of climbs, sled pulls and weighted carries using equipment anyone can buy at a cheap price.

“I’ll tie a rope to my tree for climbs, drag a tire around the neighborhood, use a skateboard for ab-rollouts and fill anything with sand and carry it around for long periods of time,” she said. 

When Eastus isn’t outside pushing, carrying or climbing, she’s running on a trail or in her garage gym, which contains all the necessary equipment to keep her physically strong and mobile. However, Eastus noted you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars in equipment to get in the best shape of your life (she definitely hasn’t). 

One of the best exercises that hits all the major muscle groups is the Farmer’s Walk, which involves carrying heavy objects in both hands and walking for a prescribed distance. A lack of equipment or gym is no excuse for not working out, said Eastus, who varies her workouts and focuses on jacking up her heart rate. One of her go-to workouts include 10 burpees, 20 weighted lunges, 30 sit ups, and 30 squats. 

That’s one round. She’ll complete 10 rounds as fast as she can, comparing her numbers each time. Even though Eastus uses classic bodyweight exercises to get physically fit, she’s not averse to technology. She uses a Garmin smartwatch trainer to track her progress and other metrics such as sleep and recovery. What does the data say?

“It tells me all the time I need a rest day,” she said with a chuckle.

Emanuel Lee
About Emanuel Lee
Emanuel Lee is an avid runner and the Sports Editor for the Hollister Free Lance.