There are no treadmills, no barbells, no stationary bikes and no weight machines in Gibson Park, but on Wednesday evenings that’s where people go to work out.
Leroy Martin of Leroy’s Auto Care in Elmira has teamed up with Kirby Martin of Crossfit Elmira to get residents moving. With Fitness in the Park, anyone is invited to come and get their heart rate up.
Leroy says it is all about getting Elmira residents to feel a bit better and get more active, something he says can be done with the Fitness in the Park program.
“I think that taking this kind of approach to health and fitness is just better for the community. It is just making people feel better and making people happier. I think it is just a great thing. No matter where people are at, it just improves your life,” he said from the Crossfit Elmira gym, adding that it is a company affair. “It just makes people feel better about themselves and things like that. In our workplace, with our employees, those who want to get into fitness, or who are already involved are helping, and it just creates a really good environment.”
Kirby owns and runs the crossfit gym and says he is very happy with the turnout the free workout program has gotten since starting up at the beginning of June.
“The biggest we have had is 60 people, but it is usually about 30 to 60. If it looks like rain, people tend to stay home,” he said. “We didn’t really know what to expect. I just know that I love the group environment of fitness, and pushing yourself to be better, and I know that if I like it this much, there has to be at least three other people in Elmira who like it to. We didn’t know, we just went for it. Then it blew up from there.”
The evening program only lasts about 20 minutes, but it is long enough to work up a sweat. No equipment is necessary for the workout. It is also about bringing likeminded community members together in one spot.
“There are a lot of body weight movements, and is usually around 20 minutes,” he said. “We also do it in a partner style, which is a lot of fun. It draws a lot of people out who are working out in their garages, or in a gym. There, there is no communication or talking. It brings everyone together and creates this really nice community environment. Especially in a small town like this, people know everybody whether it is from high school, or from up the street.”
So far, the response has been great. Community members who join in on the Wednesday night workouts have given Kirby and Leroy good feedback.
“I have had a lot of customers coming in (to Leroy’s Auto Care) just telling me how appreciative they are to have this. A lot of people want to do something like this and are glad to get the opportunity to work out and get some exercise. It is very low pressure,” said Leroy.
The weekly fitness session runs every week for the summer at 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday nights at Gibson Park. It is free to join, and the two Martins encourage everyone to bring their whole family.