Fresh air fitness: Parking lot workouts at CrossFit Dartmouth

May 30, 2020

Although CrossFit Dartmouth has been very quiet for the past two months, its parking lot is a different story.

Gyms are not yet allowed to open in Massachusetts — but fitness centers can host outdoor classes with ten or fewer people and a six- to twelve-foot distance between class members. 

So the local CrossFit began offering socially distanced outdoor group exercise classes in the building's parking lot on May 25. 

During the pandemic, the gym has been holding online workouts, but owner and trainer Justin Coelho said he missed working with his clients in person.

“We’ve all been caged up for two months,” he said. “It’s really exciting to be able to get back to doing something that helps benefit peoples’ physical well being.”

Now, with outdoor in-person classes an option, the gym is following safety precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus among staff and its members.

This includes setting up cones and marking up every other parking space to safely distance those who attend the hour-long workout. 

Each member is also expected to bring disinfectant along with their own gear to avoid any sharing of equipment. A maximum of nine people can attend an outdoor class.

“I think with the space we have, we can have more people, but we’ll wait until future phases to start adding,” Coelho said.

Members so far have embraced the outdoor classes, saying that they enjoy being able to work out together again and socialize with each other and their trainers.

“This is my social life,” Charlie Barmonde said. “These people here are like my family, and I’ve really missed them.”

Barmonde, a Tiverton resident, was the lone attendee of a 9 a.m. session which saw on-and-off rain showers. He said he didn’t mind the rain, and was thrilled to get some one-on-one time.

“It’s really great to come here and have Justin hold me accountable,” he said. “I’ve been trying to hold myself to 75 percent of my warmups for most lifts, but it’s tough when I’m not being coached.”

Emily Whipple, who attended a full session later in the evening, was also happy to see some of her workout friends.

“After two months of trying to do it all in your own garage, it’s so nice to see other people around you,” she said.

Coelho said CrossFit Dartmouth will begin offering three outdoor classes every day during the beginning June 1, in addition to continuing virtual fitness classes.