Fitness coach Jarrod Ward has decided to take his gym sessions outdoors.
Jarrod, 27, is a former rugby league player and the current Huddersfield Rugby Union strength and conditioning coach.
With two of Huddersfield’s biggest gyms – Total Fitness and DW Fitness – both having shut down during the pandemic, Jarrod believes he could be onto something with his outside gym idea.
“I think the gym scene will come back once lockdown finishes,” he said. “However it might come back in a different way. Obviously those big gym companies are important because they offer so much but it can be quite daunting though going into a gym for the first time.
“I also think it will be even more daunting now because of Covid. I know they will be cleaning everything down, but some people might not be comfortable working out near someone who is breathing heavily. They might not be comfortable wearing a mask in a gym.
“So although I think people will return to gyms, there might be a different feel to them.”
Jarrod is keen to get people moving again as restrictions are lifted and he believes now is the time to create an easily accessible gym session that’s safe to attend outside.
“I really think people would enjoy it and I have had a lot of interest so far,” he said. “Usually when I work with my clients I am a year booked up in advance.
“Working outside gives me a chance to help more people at the same time in a class scenario. I want to help people gain the right techniques whilst exercising so they get the most out of the session.
“The mental health benefits are huge too. Although we’ll all still be social distanced it gives people the chance to socially interact again and enjoy an activity in a social setting in the fresh air.”
Jarrod added: “I saw a real dive in my clients’ mental health and well-being during lockdown. With everything closed it’s made things very tough for people who enjoy going to the gym. So that’s why I have come up with this idea.”
Jarrod, who has run his own fitness company for the past two years, has invested around £1,500 in equipment such as weights, a huge tyre, a sledge hammer and more.
His plans are to reach a widespread area around Huddersfield. One class would be in Skelmanthorpe, another in the centre of town and a third in the Lockwood area.
Jarrod, who lives in Denby Dale with his wife and two children, is looking to broaden his new venture as quickly as possible.
He said: “I want to bring people together and get them to complete a tough mudder course. That can also be fun.
“We are looking at doing it on July 31 and so these outdoor sessions can be part of the training. As part of it we’ll be raising money for the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice. They have been hit hard by the lockdown, so hopefully we can raise loads of money too.”
The course that Jarrod and his clients will be running will be over 5 kilometres and they’ll have to beat 13 obstacles.
These obstacles can include swimming across pools of water, climbing over netting, climbing up and down muddy pipes and completing team challenges.
Jarrod said: “It is a really fun but a tiring day out and it will be fantastic for people’s mental health. The course is there to challenge you to be the best you can be.”
Jarrod is looking forward to his new role as strength and conditioning coach at Huddersfield Rugby Union Club and said: “Being involved in semi-pro rugby league I understand the stresses and strains the players face from all having full-time jobs too. I am really looking forward to the year ahead.”
Jarrod also fancies resuming his semi-pro RL career and said: “When I was young I signed for Salford Red Devils. I quickly moved to the Bradford Bulls where I played most of my career until they went into their second administration. I moved onto Halifax and then played for Oldham.
“I would really like to get another opportunity to play in a semi-pro club in rugby league.”