Anahola group works out new community gym

  • Jessica Else/The Garden Island

    Ryan Huddy and the rest of those working out at the Anahola Community Gym hold squats as part of a Monday night workout.

  • Jessica Else/The Garden Island

    Cassie Corbett and Leona Workman hold squats as part of a Monday night workout at Anahola Community Gym.

  • Jessica Else/The Garden Island

    Aaron Hoff teaches those working out at the Anahola Community Gym how to do clean and jerks as part of an evening workout.

What was once a place for unsavory riffraff in Anahola is now a gym, where community members are working out together.

Bronson and Kai Lovell are heading up the project, which started about four months ago when Bronson started spending more time in the area once known as Camp Faith.

“It used to be like a village down here, but about 10 years ago or something, it changed and became weird, just gross down here,” Kai Lovell said.

Turned out Bronson was acting as a one-man eviction squad, clearing out those squatting in and around the building and investing time and energy into the property.

“I grew up here, this is home and this is for Anahola,” Bronson said Monday evening as about 20 community members gathered for exercise and talking story.

He continued: “One day I just came down here and I decided, so I cleared it out. It took a couple of months to get it all clean.”

Outside, the area is open with grassy areas and a view of the ocean, dirt and grass parking and plenty of space for group workouts.

Inside, the small building has been fitted with mats, bars and other equipment, donated by Greg Glassman, creator of CrossFit.

Bronson Lovell has some help leading classes from Aaron Hoff, who has established CrossFit locations throughout the island and who hosts the Ultimate Hawaiian Trail Run to raise funds for the Keala Foundation.

The foundation provides free physical fitness programs, transportation, snacks and mentoring for hundreds of youth.

“When Greg (Glassman) and his wife found out about this, they gave us a call and donated equipment,” Hoff said. “I’m just out here to support and be part of it. We need something like this in every community.”

After warming up, those who were there played a game that involved squats, burpees and loud music.

“This is the best workout you can do after having kids,” said Cassie Corbett, of Anahola, as she was pumping out burpees with the rest of the group. “I just started this a couple months ago with Bronson, but it’s been amazing.”

Leona Workman, also of Anahola, came out that Monday for the first time, and said she liked the workout.

“It’s the first time I’ve been here, I’ll be back,” Workman said as she and the rest of the group went outside for a round of clean and jerks.

Those are done with a barbell and weights, lifting the bar from the ground to shoulder-height and then pushing it up above the head.

“This has been so great for the community, and in just two months of us doing this, we’ve already had one kid leave the beach and come work out with us,” Kai Lovell said. “That’s what it’s about, connecting as a community again.”

Anyone is welcome.

“It’s a gift to the community,” Bronson Lovell said. “We want it to be a place to come and be healthy and connect.”

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Jessica Else, staff reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or at jelse@thegardenisland.com

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