July 06, 2020 2 min read

Gyms officially reopened in Chicago but my LED Queens tights are not stepping in through my gym doors anytime soon. I’m staying home to train indefinitely.

Making this choice hurts. The gym serves multiple functions in my life: as a meditation center; a social hub that replaced bars and alcohol in my life years ago; a professional networking space; a hub for my creativity; and yes, a place where I train hard in bodybuilding as an amateur. When Illinois mandated that we shelter in place in mid-March, I didn’t know how long we would need to stay out of gyms. Although I had been aware that a pandemic might be coming, nothing could prepare my mind and my emotions for the impact of losing access to my gym.

Here is why I have to do this: Many Chicagoans are not wearing masks and social distancing. I don’t have confidence that gym-goers would be any different. On top of that, a gym is classified as a high-risk environment for spread of the virus. In other states like Arizona, they have rolled back and closed gyms after they initially reopened.

I have family and friends here in Chicago who are seniors. If I were to attend the gym daily, I could lose my ability to provide help and service to them if I get sick (or if they do). Perhaps in a few weeks, I will reconsider, but for now, I have to continue training at home.

I lift weights six times a week inside my living room, and though it’s not as social as my local gym, I have grown to love my new routine (you can check out the LED Queens youtube for suggestions on home weighlifting equipment and at home routines). I don’t have to commute, and I get a lot of time back by not spending a half hour each way on the train. In the past five years I learned how to do my own bodybuilding programming, and thus I am lucky that I can manage my progress and train alone.

For now.

I will take my time, read more on the science, make some sacrifices, and never give up on my own fitness goals inside my home. This is part of my Queer Punks ethos, which encourages critical thinking and committing to choices that remain true to my values. There’s a long road ahead in managing humanity’s relationship to the virus, and I continue to hope we will have some sort of breakthrough. But in the meantime, I am staying the fuck home.

Cesar Torres
Founder and Designer
LED Queens Fitness Apparel