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Fort McMurray, AB T9H 4W1

Kerri Johnson-Leland, Managing Editor

Local resident, Leif Palsen, owner of Crude Strength and Performance and current Alberta director for the ACAFA – CAASA (Canadian Alliance of Amateur Strength Athletes), is calling on the Alberta government to safely re-open gyms.

In a recent YouTube video, Palsen outlines mental and physical health as his main concerns. “Mental health is one of the main reasons why I think it’s essential for gyms to re-open right now,” he says. Palsen goes on to say he knows of a person who ended up in the hospital for over a week due to mental health issues from lack of working out.

Palsen says he believes gyms can reopen safely using a number of measures including:

  • Limiting capacity
  • Appointment-based use
  • Use of masks
  • Limit the type of activity that can be done.

Palsen says he won’t attack any of the policies in place and agrees with a lot of them. “For every type of business out there, there are specific measures that can make operations safe,” he says.


Life-long Fort McMurray resident, Kellie Brennan, who competes in the Strongman Women’s program agrees and tells YMM News: “I could list out all the positives for physical activity, but we all know the benefits.  Between June and December 13, 2020, the Fort McMurray region gyms had hundreds of members complete workouts, with 0 reported cases of COVID-19.  During this time, there were strict capacity rules, cleaning/sterilizing rules and all other rules laid out by the Alberta Government.”

A petition by Palsen on to reopen gyms currently has over 10,000 signatures.


Michael Jesso

A Fort McMurray staple, Jesso is a renaissance man. A columnist for Your McMurray Magazine, a car aficionado, a cooking show host...this man has an authentic Banksy hanging on his wall, friends. He tells it like it is, and has his finger on the pulse of what is happening at all times. He is connected, in the know, incredibly invested in the community, and has the most contagious laugh. Not to mention the most epic party pad in all of Fort McMurray.