July 14, 2008

Boot Camp Class Gaining Popularity

By Chris Vetter, The Leader-Telegram, Eau Claire, Wis.

Jul. 14--CHIPPEWA FALLS -- It was 6 a.m., but that didn't stop Donna Baker from getting in a workout before heading off to her job.

Baker, 41, and her daughter, 18-year-old LeTessa Hakes, are enrolled in the seven-week Boot Camp 21 course at the Chippewa Valley Family YMCA in Chippewa Falls. As the course's title suggests, the 24 participants are doing plenty of pushups, jumping jacks, jump rope, squats and sit-ups.

"We wanted to get back in shape," Baker said, after completing one of the hour-long classes last week. "I knew it would be hard, but you find out where your endurance levels are. Like, the first day."

Hakes said they joined the YMCA in February, and they worked out maybe two or three times a week. They then saw a flier for the boot camp.

"We contemplated it for a while," Hakes said. "We wanted to get in shape for the summer."

Jennifer Sherbinow, executive director of the Chippewa Valley Family YMCA, said she and co-workers came up with the idea for the class in April. Instructors wear matching camouflage tops and warn participants that anyone who whines will do push-ups.

"We thought we'd bring the whistles in and we'd do a roll call each day," Sherbinow said. "We wanted that more hardcore image. Our big thing is walk around but don't sit down."

Class is held Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Sherbinow said she is averaging 20 participants each morning. The ages range from 18 to over 50. While the class is open to everyone, only one man signed up.

"We wanted to do something different in the summer," Sherbinow said. "And we wanted it to be a challenge but open for all ages. We haven't done the same workout twice."

Some mornings, the class has stayed in the Y gym. Other mornings it has been at the jogging track, aerobics room or nearby Irvine Park.

"If you get dirty, you get dirty," Sherbinow said.

Lindsay Adams convinced her friend, Katrina Nelson, to sign up so they could do it together. They just graduated from Chippewa Falls Senior High School and liked the idea of a regular morning workout.

"It's to stay in good shape and create good habits before going to college," said Adams, who is considering trying out for the UW-Eau Claire volleyball team.

Nelson, who hopes to play softball at UW-Stout, said the workout is helping her stay focused.

"I'm a morning person, but it does get kind of difficult," Nelson said. "It is refreshing. It starts the day off right. And it's someone else pushing me besides myself, and that helps a lot."

Hakes, who just graduated from Eau Claire North High School, said the best part is seeing physical improvement since the class began last month. "I'm not dead today, and that's an improvement," Hakes said.

The course cost $30 for YMCA members.

Sherbinow doesn't anticipate it turning into a year-round class, but there has been interest in it.

"Now people want to know if we'll do it again," Sherbinow said.

Vetter can be reached at 723-0303 or [email protected]


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