The last time I left the gym, I was thinking that as weird as it might look, maybe I should buy some surgical gloves to wear like another guy there had. You know, for the two to four weeks of doing things differently that were going to be required of all of us. That was March.
By now, we’ve all had more than enough of those “Haha, remember how we thought it was going to be” conversations. We’ve also come up with plenty of new solutions for how it actually is. Nowhere is that more evident than in the way we get in shape.
In this month’s big feature story, I talk to people who are involved in four different healthy outdoor pursuits. In addition to a personal trainer, I chatted with a cyclist, a skateboarder and a stand-up paddleboarder. One common theme was the new people they’ve seen, the equipment that’s been flying off the shelves and the wider interest in finding creative ways to get outside for some physical activity. Natasha Baker Williams, founder of SUP PUP Paddleboard, says her clientele went from 90 percent tourists to 90 percent locals almost overnight.
In many ways, that’s a Fort Lauderdale story. I think both of South Florida’s seasons, wet and dry, have their merits, but this is the time of year that sells the rest of the world on us. And people who paddleboard or cycle know how to take advantage. Much of my family’s from Minnesota. At the moment, they are not going to parks to do an outdoors version of leg day.
More than that though, this is a story about finding new ways or rediscovering old ones. South Florida skateboard legend Blair Hess told me he sees parents who might not have been on a skateboard in years but get back into it when their kids get decks. K Sakai, president of the Little Seamstress Cycling Club, talked passionately about the need for clubs like his to be supportive places that exist for riders at all levels.
I appreciate sentiments like that, because bicycle rides are something I’ve started doing more of in the last few months. I also bought one of those resistance bands that look like the sort of thing the Acme Corporation sends Wile E. Coyote but that actually offers a pretty good workout if used correctly. And I find that something like good old-fashioned sit-ups also work really well.
At some point, hopefully in the not-too-distant future, I’ll feel good about getting back into the gym. For now though, I feel good about getting out into Fort Lauderdale.