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Adventures in Fitness: Group Groove with Global Fitness at Roll-On America

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April school vacation week was rough at my house due to the never-ending rain that fell and flooded my basement.

My 7-year-old sat at the window willing it to stop, which brings to mind the saying that a “watched pot never boils.” By the fourth day of rain, my 4-year-old got so frustrated at not being able to go out and play that he opened the front door and threw his shoe out while yelling “obscenities” suitable to a 4-year-old like “dumb rain” or “yucky clouds.”

It was about two days into the vacation when my daughter muttered the dreaded words, “Mom, I’m bored.” At her age, I used to be able to amuse myself for hours on end — I could play with blocks, crayons, Tinker Toys, or my Donnie and Marie dolls. How could she be bored?

She has toys that I only dreamed about at age 7. We are so busy during regular school weeks, I couldn’t wait for the anticipated respite from the normal “grind” we experience. My elation at the thought of a week of rest was not shared by my cherubs; they wanted to be on the go and entertained.

During this break from chaos, I started to think about what I should try this week to continue on my quest for fitness. Many of my friends say that the reason they stop exercising is because it gets boring. I have heard many complain about getting on the “treadmill to nowhere.” Studies have shown that varying your exercise routine can combat the stagnancy that can occur during a fitness plan.

When I heard about “A Fitting Cause,” I thought it was the perfect class to visit for this week. This, for lack of a better phrase, will “kill two birds with one stone,” or actually in this case three. Global Fitness Center is pairing with Roll-On America to sponsor a day of fitness dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of domestic violence prevention and education, and they are calling it “A Fitting Cause.”

On Saturday, April 21, Global Fitness will be running it’s Group Centergy (a cross between yoga and Pilates), Group Kick, and Group Groove seasonal launches at Roll-On America in Leominster, Mass. For a minimum donation of $5 you can attend all three classes and all of the money raised will go to Battered Women’s Resources Inc., (BWRI). There will even be activities for children, and all involved will be able to skate for free for the afternoon once the classes are finished.

Every three months, GFC “launches” new music and routines for each of its six group fitness classes. “Because we release new programs every quarter, participants never get bored. There is always something new and different to try and benefit from,” said Global Fitness Center general manager John Bonica.

Bonica said that Global has worked with Roll-On America in the past to cross-promote their businesses. Through conversations with Robin Scott from Roll-On, they came up with this great way to get the word out about the benefits of exercise along with information on the important issue of domestic violence. “We both have done fund-raising for BWRI in the past, so it was a perfect fit,” Bonica said.

Scott has offered the use of the skating rink and sound system at no cost, and the Global instructors have offered to donate their salaries for the day to the cause as well. “We are hoping to raise a lot of money for the great work that BWRI does. It also makes us feel great that the money stays right here to help local families,” Bonica added. “Another plus to this partnership is being able to bring our programs to a whole different set of people that might never try our world-class programs at a health club.”

So, on a Saturday morning, I set off to try a new kind of class (Group Groove), support a worthy cause (BWRI), and cure my kid’s boredom by skating with them after the class. I love multi-tasking!

The description of the class tells me that if I can move, I can groove. It also says that I will “stomp, flick, wiggle, jiggle, hip, hop, snap, shimmy, shake, slide, glide, smile and laugh” through the 60-minute class. I can handle most of those verbs, but am skeptical of my ability to “shimmy” and fearful that I might “jiggle.” But, I will try anything that promises I will smile!

Instructor Deb Cataldo said, “I have been teaching step aerobics classes since 2000, and when I found out that Global was going to start offering Groove, I jumped at the chance to teach it. I have always loved to dance and this class incorporates Latin, urban, rock and club music. People starting in this class should remember to just have fun and, most importantly, smile!”

When the class started, there was a stage constructed at one side of the rink, with Cataldo and her fellow instructors Jenna Mooney and Julie Quirk, ready to help us “groove” into shape. The lights were dim, the spotlights were on, and the disco balls were shimmering. It felt like I had stepped into a retro club reminiscent of Saturday Night Fever

The action-packed hour-long class passed amazingly fast and was full of all the aforementioned verbs — lots of shaking, some shimmies, and an occasional wiggle. After the first third of the class, I finally got a handle on the moves they were employing. I learned some grapevines, a “rock step,” a mambo, and cross steps — unfortunately not well, but I got by.

By the end of the class, I was having fun. I was sweating and shaking with the best of them. It felt like being out at a dance club with your best friends and dancing your heart out. It did not feel like what some call a “tedious” gym class!

Quirk and Mooney both said that they love Groove because it is fun and they both love to dance. Quirk, who in addition to teaching classes is a stay-at-home mom of three, said, “It doesn’t feel like you are working out, but you are.”

I have to say this class was fun — just plain fun — but I was glad the lights were dim so people hopefully couldn’t see my two left feet. And, to make it better, over $1,200 has been raised through this event for BWRI, and donations are still coming in.

If you are looking for a unique, creative, motivating class to get in shape with, contact Global Fitness Center at (978) 537-2100 and try Group Groove!

Join me next week as I tackle my sore muscles and life’s daily stresses