U.S. Gymnast discusses home workouts, gyms reopening


(WEHT) — U.S. gymnast and NYC gym owner Paul Ruggeri has been posting workout videos to keep people physically active while they’re stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Eyewitness News’ Brandon Bartlett spoke to Ruggeri about home workouts and what to expect when gyms reopen.


Brandon Bartlett: Paul, thanks for joining us tonight. Gyms across the country suddenly closed when the virus began to spread. How difficult of a time has this been for people like you who are used to working out every day?

Paul Ruggeri: Brandon, you know, it’s been really really difficult. You know, as you know, or maybe you don’t know but fitness you know can serve many purposes in our lives. And I think for those of us that are fitness fanatics, you know, we really value that serotonin rush, you know, it combat stress, you know, it’s just part of our everyday lives. So having gyms closed has really affected a lot of people you know, including me.

Brandon Bartlett: Have you seen that people have found some pretty creative way to workout at home?

Paul Ruggeri: Absolutely. I mean, I’ve seen water jugs being used as weights, wine bottles. I’ve seen people squatting with dogs, you know, I’ve seen it all. But you know, everyone’s getting as creative as possible. You know, for me, I’m at my mom’s house. Luckily enough during the quarantine, she’s letting me stay here and I use the living room, you know, so everyone’s forced to be a little bit creative these days.

Brandon Bartlett: you do what you can. Well, as someone who knows the importance of fitness you jumped in to try to help out those looking for ways to exercise you’ve taken to social media and have been hosting live workout sessions for anyone wanting to watch. Why did you decide to do that and what kind of response are you getting?

Paul Ruggeri: Sure. Just a tiny piece about my background. You know, I used to be a team USA athlete. You know, my influence exists in the fitness community in the gymnastics community. And I own my own gym, you know, so I have customers, I have clients that like to stay fit and everybody was going crazy, you know, looking for ways to stay in shape, stay active, you know, get that stress release, you know that that serotonin rush that I was talking about. So, you know, I chose to do it because that’s just you know, the realm that I exist in social media, I use my YouTube, I use my Instagram and Twitter, Facebook, everything to promote the classes. And overall the response has been amazing, you know, people are so thankful that I’m doing something, I’m doing it for free and I’m not charging people. And I think that when you have someone leading a class and the way that I’ve been leading it, you know, it takes the class and the exercise to a different level. And I think that people you know, are held accountable and want to show up for class, you know, because they know I’m there to help them they know they’re there to help themselves. And it’s just good for them. You know, it’s good for everyone.

Brandon Bartlett: Yeah, and I want to ask you- gyms will be starting to reopen here soon. As an athlete and someone who has owned a gym in New York City, what advice do you have for those going back once the doors do reopen? Should we be concerned about the equipment if it’s been disinfected or not?

Paul Ruggeri: I mean, yeah, we all have to be concerned. But I think, you know, everyone just needs to listen to, you know, the governmental guidelines and the CDC guidelines. You know, right now everybody is, you know, worried about disinfecting, you know, and staying six feet apart, you know, and if the government and the CDC keep pushing those regulations, you know, we’re gonna have to be really careful as we open the gyms; I’m not sure that it will happen anytime soon. Obviously, some states are trying to, you know, push for the staff and, but you have to be conscious of you know, who you’re around, who you’re going to be around after you work out. It’s not just in the moment. I think that’s the hardest part for everybody, you know, if you’re gonna go to a gym and then go to your grandparents house, you know, I don’t think that’s the smartest idea. So, you know, just rely on the guidelines of the government and the CDC, you know, are releasing and I think we’ll all be fine. It’s just gonna take a long time, you know, of transition and just being conscious of the regulations we have to follow.

Brandon Bartlett: And once they do reopen, is it still important to practice social distancing at the gym? And what about wearing masks? Because I know you’re hot and you’re breathing heavily from exercising, does it make sense to wear a face mask?

Paul Ruggeri: I absolutely think it makes sense. You know, obviously, it’s uncomfortable. But I guess at this point, we have to think about it like wearing clothes, you know, they they protect us, they shield us from our environment, just like those masks. What we know about the virus is we should be wearing those masks. We should be social distancing, just to keep as much or to keep safety and as high of a priority in our lives. So I think if the gyms open, we’re going to be wearing masks and we’re going to be social distancing, for sure.

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