Outdoor workouts fueled by innovative gear

November 2, 2010 8:44:54 PM PDT
A popular workout trend is transforming the landscape in downtown San Francisco and it's being fueled, in part, by some innovative exercise gear.

For a growing wave of claustrophobic office workers, San Francisco's Embarcadero has become the gym with a million dollar view and while outdoor, boot camp-style, workouts aren't new, trainer Brooks Jenkins says their popularity in downtown neighborhoods has exploded over the last year.

"When I came back here it was almost a whole different world. It gets pretty crowded. I've gone from diff. places to sticking to one place because I know it's our area to work out," he said.

Just being outdoors is a draw for Cheryl Moser, who works out a few blocks away.

"I come in the morning, work and leave, sometimes hard to get outside," she Moser said.

But there's more than sunshine feeding the trend. One example is the strap that Cheryl's trainer has attached to a tree -- called the TRX. It's the invention of a former Navy seal, whose company Fitness Anywhere" has set up shop in San Francisco.

Randy Hetrick says the TRX can turn a swing set or park bench into a full blown gym, allowing hundreds of different exercises.

The challenge of turning urban landscapes into workout facilities is sparking a wave of other innovations -- some sophisticated, while some are homemade.

While one training group does pull-ups with wooden dowels on the Embarcadero, another is working out with sand bags in Golden Gate Park.

"That's one of our things we enjoy the most, is taking everyday objects and making it a piece of exercise equipment. We certainly use medicine balls, but how about a jug with sand in it," Catherine Wohlwend from BootCampSF said.

Her company is constantly scouting new locations for outdoor exercise classes that clients might not have even considered a year or two ago.

"You see a park bench you can sit on, but we see a bench where you can do 40 exercises on that bench," Wohlwend said.

There are no firm numbers on how many people are participating in organized outdoor workouts in downtown San Francisco, but it's trend that's clearly one part motivation, several parts imagination.

Written and produced by Tim Didion


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