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Pequot Lakes: Youth fitness class gains popularity

When school resumed after the Christmas break in Pequot Lakes, with it came a new after-school fitness class called "Co-ed Body Conditioning/Strength Training" for grades 5 through 12.

Jolene Platt's students perform squats while she times the exercise during their Co-ed Body Conditioning/Strength Training class on Thursday, Feb. 5. Photo by Dan Determan
Jolene Platt's students perform squats while she times the exercise during their Co-ed Body Conditioning/Strength Training class on Thursday, Feb. 5. Photo by Dan Determan

When school resumed after the Christmas break in Pequot Lakes, with it came a new after-school fitness class called "Co-ed Body Conditioning/Strength Training" for grades 5 through 12.

Hoping to have just enough interested students to hold the class, the Community Education department got that and more.

"We needed 15 kids to make a go of it with one class," instructor Jolene Platt said. "We ended up with a wait list that was 15 students long. Now I have to teach two classes of 20 and we have a wait list again."

Platt - a local personal trainer who teaches fitness classes in the area, including at the Minnesota Hockey Camp - decided to try to teach a youth course after getting the idea from a friend.

"(He) wanted something for his son, who goes to the school," Platt said. "He just thought it would be a good idea to get the kids that are not in a sport and want extra conditioning and offer them a chance to have a good class."

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The 45-minute classes feature a great deal of biometrics, running and basic weightlifting. Students are lifting their body weight.

"The kids in these classes are younger, and a lot of them just don't have the body awareness yet to put on a lot of weight," Platt said. "The workout I give them is their body weight, which is a lot to lift over and over again."

Though the exercises involved are fairly basic, students are expected to work as hard as they can in each aspect of the class - something Platt will make sure is happening.

"It's been four weeks, and they are probably still sore," Platt said, laughing. "They tell me I'm intimidating, so that is kind of fun."

Platt has already discussed the possibility of expanding the course in the fall semester, but no decisions have been made at this point.

"This has taken off more than I would have expected, honestly," Platt said. "I knew I was not going to be any different with these kids (as I am with adults), so I was nervous they wouldn't even want to take part, but the result has been crazy."

Classes are held at 3:30 and 4:20 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday in the Pequot Lakes High School weight room. Those interested in participating can register in the Community Education office.

Related Topics: PEQUOT LAKES
Dan Determan has been a reporter for the Echo Journal since 2014, primarily covering sports at Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus
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