Gym owner: ‘There’s really no way you can be working out inside and really make sure it’s safe’

Jen and Marcus Wilson are opening True Grit Society
Jen and Marcus Wilson

The Southwest Journal is documenting the coronavirus pandemic by recording the personal stories of Minneapolis residents and workers whose daily lives are in a state of flux. As the outbreak evolves, we will be checking in with the participants regularly. Read all of the stories here.

Interviews are edited for length and clarity.

Jen Wilson, co-owner, True Grit Society gym

We started the “Thriving Together marathon.” We have 15 teams and 115 people, which is a lot. Overall it doesn’t really matter what people are doing; I think they really just want to move. We have a lot of members who were doing double days for months. That was their goal: They wanted to move, they wanted to lose weight, they wanted to get fit.  

Now I think we all struggle with this thing where we’re all eating too much, we’re not moving as much, we’ve lost any of that juju that we had. It’s almost as if we’re trying to get that back, but just doing half as much in a different environment. So I wouldn’t say it has anything to do with the actual movement or a favorite exercise — it’s just moving in general.

Honestly, our videos online are the same as what we do for our classes. We’re not going to just do all HIIT exercises or yoga; there’s movements and breathing and stretching in there. We try to have different stuff. You can’t be at home doing 100 burpees per day. You need more stuff. 

That’s the focus of the [Thriving Together marathon, a competition they started with 115 people split into 15 teams]. Do the self care, do the mental work, do the physical work, do everything together. That’s how you’ll stay the healthiest. With all the people contributing to us online, it’s everything. People tell us the power of looking somebody in the eye is what they miss.

We’re getting a little stressed and anxious right now because they’re opening things up. There’s really no way you can be working out inside and really make sure it’s safe, even if you clean everything. Working out is a really grimy thing. Coronavirus spreads when people expel spit and sweat, and this is the perfect environment for that. We were reading an article the other day that said gyms somehow will be on the first pass of opening through [President Donald] Trump. Even if they tell us we can open, we don’t really want to, just because we can’t keep everyone safe. We want to open, but we also don’t want our members to get sick. That would kill us both — if someone were to get sick if we were open. 

Even if we open and start running classes again, are people going to come? I don’t know if they would, I don’t know if I would.  As we’re coming down to it, we’re getting a little anxious. We get worried about Trump’s agenda, and I know [Gov. Tim] Walz doesn’t have to follow it. We’re just literally waiting to see what’s going to happen. It was easier when we just had to be closed. 

We applied for the EIDL, and they’ve now replenished the money so we don’t know if we should reapply [or wait on our original application]. It’s like being in traffic and not knowing if you should move into the faster flowing lane or wait for your lane to go. It’s a very confusing time. I’m hoping this lane opens up soon, and we get moving a little bit faster.


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