The community workouts on the beach of El Zonte are a reality today thanks to coach Iggy’s determination during the 2020 pandemic lockdown.
Ignacio ‘Iggy’ Larrea, coach and physical trainer of Team Key Aquatics (TKA) in Miami and proud member of the Zonte community since 2018, started doing workouts on his own during the lockdown here in El Salvador. The love for training and coaching others inspired him to create workouts for all the tourists and residents of El Zonte. Iggy wanted more people to join so he decided to move the training sessions to the beach and generate a sense of community.
Coach ‘Iggy‘ during Tuesday’s Workout
Iggy’s in-depth knowledge of exercise paired with his contagious positivity caused a jump in community participation. Initially, the workouts would be just ‘Iggy’ and one or two other participants, but then as everyone started to notice the trainings there was a snowball effect. More and more people started showing up to the workouts and eventually there were upwards of 20 people participating.
El Zonte community beach workout is bonding of intense experience training that considers teamwork important. In addition, you make use of everything you have at hand on the beach; rocks, surf leashes, water jugs, and of course the ocean.
‘Iggy’ led the workouts on a voluntary basis because he felt that creating a training regimen for a group would be more entertaining and meaningful than just doing it for himself.
For “el coach”, contributing this type of training to the community had visible effects: “people are more open to exercising and have allowed themselves to learn a different training method which can be combined with the weekly surf routine. Additionally it created a space for people to interact and share with each other after months of isolation.”
Today multiple coaches share the responsibility of leading the workouts. One of them being Elizabeth Samson (from Canada) who works remotely in El Salvador so she can surf. She first arrived in El Zonte back in 2019 on a vacation. When the Corona virus hit, she was living in Mexico but then opted to spend the pandemic in Quebec. But as soon as borders opened up she moved to El Zonte. She has been living in the Hotel Michanti longstay surf apartment ever since and has no intention of going home.
Eli started leading a couple of workouts in January. “Exercising makes me happy, it takes me to a good place. And this is a good way to share that energy and connect with people, while we take care of our health all together.”
To participate in the El Zonte community beach workouts only one thing is required… a desire to look inside and find the best version of yourself. So if you are ready to push your limits and experience the workouts first hand, we will meet you at the beach at 4:00 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Lorette from the Netherlands: «While backpacking Central America, a friend from Madrid invited me to El Salvador, which was not on my radar at all. I have been here for 4 months already and I fell in love with my best friend Stanley who I am really thankful for.»
Maggie from Chicago: «This is my second time in playa El Zonte and I decided to return because of all the natural beauty paired with great community vibes. Everyone here is so connected with each other! I’ve been here for 4 months.»
Selden from New York City: «Covid forced me to start working from home, but I did not want to be stuck in an apartment in the city. So, I decided to try out the Surf and Stay program which allowed me to surf and work remote in paradise. I am really thankful for Iggy’s workouts. They are really fun. I have been here for 3 months and I do not want to leave.»
Written by: Antonio Bostelmann and Felipe Emura
Photos taken by: Theo Quenee