Jeannie Petrosky has a clever way of getting people into shape.
“I take kickboxing-type moves and choreograph it into an exercise routine,” Petrosky says of Kardio Kickboxing, a class she offers at Williamson Central School District. “I don’t’ have any martial arts background. We just use those types of moves for a cardio class.”
Petrosky taught heath education and now is a teacher’s assistant at Williamson. She tries to teach fitness class at a middle level, but heart rates can increase quite a bit during the demanding routines.
“If I go low, everybody’s going to go low,” she says. “There are different moves you can do at each level. Someone with knee or lower back problems may not want to jump that much.”
She also teaches circuit training in which she alternates between strength training moves and cardio moves.
“It’s a way of organizing movements and different formats,” she says.
For example, one minute is spent on cardio exercise, followed by a 20-second break, and then one minute of strength training. This repeats until class is over.
Classes meet after school on Tuesdays and Fridays in the elementary school gym. She’s pleasantly surprised folks enjoy the Friday classes.
“You can go exercise, and still have time for happy hour,” she says.
Mike Magin insists the boot camp at Sodus Central School District is not all that similar to the military versions we’ve seen in movies.
“It’s not like we have a drill sergeant,” he says.
But it can be grueling, especially with its 6:15 a.m. start time on Wednesdays and Fridays.
“It gets you going, definitely,” Magin says. “But you’ll have some fun, too. Some of the exercises are pretty intense. I did it once, huffing and puffing. You will be sweating.”
Some of the exercises include tire flips and using thick elastic bands with pushups and pull-ups.
“The more you lean forward, the harder it gets,” he says, referring to the bands.
Some people who do yoga at Sodus have also enlisted in the boot camp to get the best of both worlds, he says.
So far, much like the Marines, it’s been for the few and the proud.
“We’re getting six to eight (people) out for it,” Magin says. “Those are good numbers split between men and women. The boot camp is going strong.”
Chad Smith likes when his colleagues show up ready to exercise. It tells him they’re serious about making changes for the better. And that’s good, because he’s serious about offering them challenging ways to do that.
Smith, a physical education teacher at Livonia Elementary School, has put together a rigorous cross-training class that meets twice a week.
“We offer a lot of opportunities for our staff members here, this along with yoga,” Smith says. “I thought I’d bring this to Livonia. And, so far, we have bigger numbers than I expected. We have a lot of people involved and getting better.”
Cross training involves varied and functional movements, he says.
“We mix up everything we do every single day,” he says. “Our goal is we’re trying to get people moving better and get them healthier. It’s a constant, varied workout. When you show up, you don’t do the same workout day to day.”
The reception has been very positive with 15-20 people attending each session. He’s not training people to be Olympic athletes. For some, it’s as simple as being able to get in and out of chair.
“If they can’t do that now what’s going to happen when they are 70?” he adds.
Participants also learn about nutrition. “We talk about diet, giving people different options,” he says. “The biggest thing is eating healthy. If you don’t fuel (your body) the right way, you’re not going to get good results.”
Working out can be intimidating at the start, which is why he urges newcomers to ease into things.
“The workouts I’m doing, grandma should be able to do,” he says. “If grandma comes in and we’re doing squats that day, am I going to load up the bar with 200 pounds? No. We can scale all our workouts down so people can be successful. It’s really being part of a big team here. We encourage one another, we have that family feeling here.”
Classes meet at 4 p.m. on school days.
If you’re thinking about trying out the spin class offered by Honeoye Central School District, talk first with transportation supervisor Seth Clearman.
“We had the spin class in December and I went to it,” Clearman says. “It certainly was tough. (But) it was fun, too. Our instructor was leading us through it, through the fasts and the slows.”
Those familiar with riding a bike around the neighborhood at a leisurely pace may not be ready for an intense spin class.
“It may not be for everybody,” he says. “It depends on who you are individually. We’re in the country out here, so a lot of people probably prefer to hop on their bike and go, instead of sitting in a room and spinning. But in the wintertime, it’s a good alternative.”
He encourages signing up with someone you know.
“I used to [work out] alone for years and you eventually get bored with it,” he says. “But if you have someone you meet on a daily basis, they call and say, ‘Oh, I don’t feel like it today,’ you can say, ‘Come on, it’s only a half-hour, let’s go.’ I work out daily with a colleague and we often push each other to keep going.”
The fitness room at Gananda High School can be a busy place after school.
You’ll find Elliott Butt, a world history teacher and assistant coach for the varsity football team at Gananda High School, helping folks get back in shape. Sessions are held from 3 to 4:30 p.m. for faculty and staff members along with sports teams and any students who wish to participate.
“Sometimes, it can be overwhelming to go into a gym if you’re not used to it,” he says. “So, we are willing to work with people.”
Most who show up this time of year are there to lose weight, he says.
“If someone needs ideas on how to get back into shape, or if there’s something specific they want to work on, we talk to them about what activities can help,” he says. “One of the big things is there’s no pressure. We’re not drill sergeants.”
If someone is a newbie, Butt will evaluate their fitness level and go from there.
“You don’t take someone who has been idle and ask them to run five miles a day,” he says. “That’s not going to happen. We set realistic goals. You won’t lose 10 pounds in a week. We want to help them figure out what’s best for them.”
A common misconception, he says, is that weight training is not a cardio workout. There are Nautilus weight machines along with a step machine and stationary bikes. The only drawback he’s seen is some adults are reluctant to work out with students there.
“I try to tell them that when the kids see the older adults working out, they see the importance of incorporating this into their lives,” he says.