The end of HIIT gyms.

There are casualties of COVID. San Franscisco CrossFit is closing after 15 years in operation. It will not be the last. Locally, we have been spared this. Having said that, we did not go back after lockdown. Multiple reasons, but the final one was that the organisation aligned with BLM, which does not stand for the good, the true, or the noble. Besides, I got injured too much, and Kea hurt too much.

We weren’t sure what to expect during the first few weeks of sheltering in place in March. We knew then we were facing an existential threat, but we needed to see what the future held and were optimistic we’d be able to re-open by the end of the summer or early fall. We were also singularly focused on protecting our staff. At that time, while we were frantically trying to pivot online and understand the landscape, we were also grateful that we had no debt, a sizable cash reserve, and received the PPP so we could avoid furloughing our coaches and support them at their normal rates of pay.

Fast forward eight months and two things are clear. The first is that we have been fortunate to have been existing on the fumes of our previous culture. It has been a testament to every one of you that SFCF is still a place that is important to you, that the people in your classes are important to you.

Second, we can no longer afford to keep the gym open in the current pandemic economy, despite the support of many of you. It’s not a question of not making money, as that ship sailed for our family in March. It’s about no longer bleeding our personal savings each month (and in the coming months) with no clear end in sight. While the PPP helped our staff and offset a bit of our rent, there is still a significant monthly gap between our overhead and revenue. Even though we’ve made it to the fall, our membership and revenues haven’t sufficiently rebounded for us to break even, let alone make money.

Unfortunately, given current COVID trends around the country and the globe, we think additional closures are very likely and we don’t expect our revenue to meaningfully increase until there is a vaccine. Even on Friday, Mayor Breed paused the expanded opening that was set to start on November 3rd. We expect this to be a continuing cycle for the months to come. And this is all happening against the background of a COVID-overflow hospital next door, massively increased cleaning and sanitation costs to operate the gym, loss of a lot equipment from our lending program and theft, a loss of key staff who have moved on to other things, an upcoming loss of daylight and inclement weather, and a thousand other large and small challenges too many to mention here.

It’s been a lot.

Making a decision of this significance (and this quickly) has been deeply emotional for both of us. We also know that sometimes doing the right thing is also doing the hard thing. /blockquote>

Coming off this, I need to do three things.

  1. Zero carb diet with intermittent fasting. The simplest way is to not eat until 11 am, and keep the eating window down to eight hours. Ideally, one meal a day.
  2. Bulk exercise. This means walking. Not running. Walking means comfortable shoes. I have those, but not comfortable work shoes. So get comfortable work shoes again.
  3. Intermittent high intensity. This does require body weight, tabata, and some weights if available. At present, weights are not that available. The best high intensity workout is still sprinting, and that is the one hardly anyone does.

It is not about exercise as such. It is about going for a walk. It is about having a lifestyle. And yes it is about doing what I can still continue to do going into my 7th decade. I have hills to climb, instruments to play and people to care for.

I really should not be worried about by 10K time or ability to complete Fran. Aiming to do those will injure me. In fact, when I was young aiming to get those down did injure me.

I expect to see the various forms of High Intensity Interval Training (CrossFit is a pioneer but is not the only one) to die as the economy implodes and social isolation again gets mandatory. We are working out what we can do at home, with limited gear. So should you.

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11 months ago

High intensity intervals works for me especially when I get down to the last 5-7 vanity pounds.

11 months ago

I feel that HIIT only works for some people, and only some of those people will pay to do it in an organized way… Add on the ‘cult like’ actions of some members and even fewer people are involved.
To me, it comes out to a plan that isn’t sustainable long term. It is a more compact and faster variant of the problems facing Golf and Tennis, as well as some other luxury activities…