Fitness company apologizes for ‘I can’t breathe’ workout

WAUWATOSA, Wis. (AP) — A health club company is apologizing on behalf of a franchisee who posted an “I can’t breathe” workout at a gym in suburban Milwaukee.

Photos of the workout instructions drawn on a dry erase board at Anytime Fitness in Wauwatosa were shared widely on social media and generated critical comments.

The “I can’t breathe” workout included burpees, or squat thrusts, and the instructions “don’t you dare lay down.” It also showed a person in a kneeling position, the Journal Sentinel reported.

The words “I can’t breathe” have been chanted at hundreds of protests and rallies, echoing some of the final words of George Floyd, a black man who died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer held his knee against his neck as he was handcuffed face down in the street.

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The Woodbury, Minnesota-based company said it was “profoundly sorry” that the workout was posted.

“No matter what the intent, we absolutely do not condone the words, illustrations or actions this represents. One of our publicly-state commitments to antiracism work is to bolster training efforts for our franchise owners to lead with empathy, love and respect. This incident makes it clear we have more work to do in this space,” a statement from the company read.

The workout instructions at the Wauwatosa gym have since been removed.

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