Gym owner: ‘I don’t do as much as usual, but by Friday I’m exhausted’

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

Did I tell you I shaved my head? I’ve never been too attached to my hair. Over the years I’ve had 4-5 people be like “Jen, let’s shave our heads,” and I’m like, “You do it first” and then it doesn’t happen. Our mental health coach, Barbara, is also a mental health coach for Lifetime Fitness. The furloughed Lifetime employees have access to a mental health coach, and that’s Barbara. So she’s kind of on the frontlines as far as the emotional side of the pandemic. She’s been feeling it. 

So she texted me and was like “Jen, let’s shave our heads” and she did, so I did it. Well, Marcus actually did it. It all came off. It’s one of those things you see in a movie and you think it’s so easy. But you can’t just buzz it like you see on TV. How would I know that? Now it’s starting to grow out and feel fuzzy. I like the way it feels but it looks a mess. We had to have a very intentional discussion with our daughter about it. 

Things are OK. It’s been a weird week again. I feel like emotions are bubbling for people. I think people are really freaked out about, Are we opening, are we not opening? There was an article in Georgia about a business that only had two customers after opening. That’s been our concern the whole time, even if they say we can open up, what does that look like? Group classes really have no way to resume indoors, so for a gym that does group classes we are in a bad spot. We have a deck/patio we could use or maybe do classes in the parking lot. 

The word I’ve maintained is perspective. We would love to open. For us the focus will be on the safety of our members. As far as what that does to us financially, we aren’t even considering that. 

Going from date to date is very exhausting. I don’t want us to have that crazy rush to open. There’s a lot of stress and anxiety that goes into this whole thing. For our instructors, will they be available? It’s very stressful. We also have to ask ourselves what do we want to do? We don’t want to bring that back to our daughter. 

I think it’s getting to people, honestly. The problem is now there’s this confusing area where things are gray. We’ve seen some gyms doing outdoor group classes and it’s like, Can we do that? It’s not clear cut anymore. 

I was walking down Lyndale the other day and it was full of cars. At first, when this started, it was a ghost town. 

It’s just been a very odd week. I feel like I don’t do as much as usual, but by Friday I’m exhausted. Now I’m more tired than ever. Nothing is wrong, everything’s fine. Sachi is learning to roller skate, Marcus’ back is feeling better. But we can’t really make any decisions, everything is a holding pattern right now. 


VOICES FROM THE PANDEMIC

 You can read all of the stories here.