Friday, October 19, 2018

Katy Macek

Fitness Frenzy gives Eau Claire a reason to get moving

I consider myself a regular exerciser. I have a weight-lifting routine, several running routes of various lengths and try to attend at least a couple yoga classes a month. 

But after a year of this routine, I’ve found myself getting bored. Then, the spice I needed to mix up my routine dropped into my lap. 

This week I found myself pumping a 10-pound kettlebell into the air while listening to pop music, and in that same studio two nights later, learning how important posture and “finding your swagger” is to belly dance. 

I pondered a CrossFit class, something I never thought I’d be doing. And Saturday I’ll be attending yoga to give these sore muscles some much needed TLC. 

All of this, and I haven’t had to pay a penny. How, you ask? 

There is an amazing two-week program happening in Eau Claire right now, and if you’re anything like me, you might not even be aware of it. But this program could change your life. Literally. 

Second Opinion, a health and wellness magazine in Eau Claire, is putting on Fitness Frenzy through Feb. 17. The magazine has partnered with FitElite, CrossFit Eau Claire, Dragonfly Dance and Wellness, the Eau Claire YMCA, Mayo Clinic Health System, the Yoga Center of Eau Claire and En Avant School of Dance to offer 96 classes free of charge.

Everything from Zumba to CrossFit to PiYo and belly dancing is up for grabs without any commitment. All you have to do is show up to the class. 

Arwen Rasmussen, Second Opinion’s editor, said she came up with the idea because she knows this time of year tends to be when people break their New Years resolutions. Speaking from my own experience, it’s also easier to want to sit inside on those cold, dark nights than get your butt moving. 

“If you’re not a regular exerciser and you need that push, here’s an introduction to people you might connect with,” Rasmussen said. “Or if you’ve never done something but always been interested, this is that opportunity. You can show up, and just walk out if you don’t like it.” 

Dragonfly Dance and Wellness’ kettlebell class was exactly the shake-up I needed in my routine. It was a 35-minute, high-energy class that literally kicked my butt (I still cannot sit down properly). I had never considered a kettlebell class before, but with a regular rate of just $5, I’m thinking about how I can add that in to my weekly routine. 

Two days later I  gave in to my curiousity and came back to Dragonfly for a beginner’s level belly dancing class.  

I brought my friend and fellow Leader-Telegram reporter Lauren French to the class with me. Because it was a free drop in, the instructors taught us a little bit of everything to get a feel for it. It was HARD. I didn’t know how much effort went into making a body look as though it is moving so seamlessly. 

For much of the hour-long class, Lauren and I felt we were barely keeping up. It was hard to copy the moves our instructor did, and we didn’t get much time to practice each one. Still, it gave us a taste for the class — our instructor said normally one class is devoted to one of the more than ten moves we learned. We both want to come back. 

You can check out for a complete schedule and register for the classes. Rasmussen said registration is not necessary — people are more than welcome to just drop in — but it will help her get an idea for how many people are participating. 

Before the event’s kickoff on Monday, Feb. 5,, she said she had 340 RSVPs on the website, well past her original goal to get “maybe 100” people to participate. 

It’s healthy, it’s fun and it’s something to do on a cold winter night. I can’t think of a single reason not to take advantage of at least one of these classes. 

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