By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
WITH the Bahamas Government announcing the reopening of gyms and spas, the Bahamas Bodybuilding Federation is now looking forward to preparing for the proposed National and the Central American and Caribbean Championships.
After being locked down since March due to the social distancing as a result of the spread of COVID-19, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced in the House of Assembly during his wrap up of the debate on the 2020/2021 Budget that spas, gyms and outdoor group exercises may reopen as of July 1.
Federation president Joel Stubbs said the announcement was like sweet music to their ears.
“It’s an opportunity for many of them to get back to doing what they have not been doing, especially those who have those adminicle diseases that were given the mandate to get cracking and to get your health in order,” Stubbs said.
“Because of the pandemic, everything had to be shut down, so some of those persons would have had an opportunity to go outdoors to do something and some may not have had the opportunity to get in the mindset to do anything because as you know, the gym is a feeding ground for persons to feed off other persons to get motivated and so they can now get cracking.”
Stubbs, however, said while the opening is imminent, they will still have to wait and see what procedures the various gyms will put in place for their patrons to adhere to whenever they come in to patronise their businesses.
“We know that the three busiest times are in the morning before the start of the work day, in the middle of the day for an hour or so and right after work when the gyms are pretty much packed,” he stated.
“So we will have to see how the gym owners strategize their plans to accommodate the persons at those specific times. Nonetheless, we are just grateful for the Bahamas Government for the opportunity that we are now given to get back into the gyms to train after this long time of being locked down.”
At present, there are at least seven gyms that were in operation prior to the lockdown, but Stubbs said it’s uncertain what will happen in the aftermath as to whether or not all of them will reopen and if they do, at what expense.”
Among the list of public gyms are Ironman and J-Line Fitness Center, both on Shirley Street; Total Fitness in the Golden Gates Shopping Center; Fanatic-C on Prince Charles Drive; Empire Fitness Center in the Sea Grape Shopping Center; Max Fit in the Harbour Bay Shopping Center and Club 1 Fitness Center in Sandyport.
There are also a number of private operations, but Stubbs said there is no regulation by the federation for the gyms, which allow the public to utilize their facilities.
Stubbs said he’s grateful to the support of the gyms to enable their bodybuilders to train and prepare for the federation’s national and international events.
“We’ve had a few zoom meetings during the lockdown to discuss our present situation,” said Stubbs, about the federation’s executive plight in the aftermath of Covid-19.
“We know that the CAC (Bodybuilding Championships) has been rescheduled and is planned for November 19-22 in Bridgetown, Barbados,” Stubbs said. “It was originally scheduled for Colombia, but they had canceled because of the outbreak there and the lack of finances from the government.
“Hopefully all of the countries will still be able to bring s team, whether it be small or great, to compete and display their talent. As a region, we are working very hard on making that happen.”
On the local front, Stubbs said the federation has rescheduled its National and Novice Bodybuilding Championships to September 25-26, but it all hinges on the roll out of the Bahamas economy and the social distancing policy that will be in place.
“We don’t know if we will be able to accommodate a large mass of people in an auditorium by then or if we will have to continue to limit the amount of persons,” he stressed.
“If we can’t allow persons to come in with their masts on and sit down and enjoy the competition, then we will probably just go with the competitors competing in front of the judges and show it virtually on social media.”
Without the support of corporate Bahamas to cover their expenses, Stubbs said they rely on the grant they receive from the government and that is expected to be slashed by about 20 percent, which means they will have to find a way to fund their national team travel expenses.
Stubbs said there are also plans to attend one or two other international competitions, but it will also depend on the funding they can generate and whether or not they will still be staged based on the effect of Covid-19 around the world.