At CrossFit Seymour, the focus isn’t always on the workouts.
There’s much more that goes into a healthy lifestyle than lifting heavier weights and clocking faster times — especially for kids.
This summer, the fitness facility off Second Street is hosting “Beast Mode” sessions for kids from third to sixth grade and a girls-only teen class.
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Mixing work outs, nutrition and discussion on real-life issues, the classes are picking up steam.
The girls class, which meets on Tuesday and Thursday, started after head trainer RaeAnn Mellencamp visited the high school.
“Seymour High School invited us to help come and teach their weights class for a couple weeks,” Mellencamp said. “I recognized that some of the girls were uncomfortable being around many boys. They’re learning about their bodies, and sometimes, it’s uncomfortable to do certain movements in front of boys. I thought that we have to have a girls-only class where they can feel comfortable.”
Mellencamp said they typically average 10 girls on average and go over a plethora of subjects.
“They come in and learn about proper nutrition, whether they’re an athlete or not,” Mellencamp said. “We also talk about real subjects that happen every day — sex, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, suicide, social media — we talk about it all.
“I want those girls to have confidence and respect for their bodies so they won’t allow anyone to harm them. You watch their self-esteem grow each week. They grow a little bit taller and smile a little more and are still working just as hard.”
With the successes she has seen, Mellencamp hopes to see an influx of participants.
“We have some nonathletes and some athletes,” Mellencamp said. ‘It’s a perfect mix. This community is so driven with sports, which I understand, but it’s OK to not be in an organized sport. I think when they can be a part of something it gives huge confidence boost.”
Incoming eighth-grader Ella Christopher said she has enjoyed the classes.
“It’s really good to come here and work out,” Christopher said. “We talk about things, and none of it feels uncomfortable. We can just be ourselves here.”
Makenna Fee, an incoming junior at Seymour High School, goes to the classes to help with her sports.
“With all of the other sports I’m doing in high school, I want to get some more good workouts in and also learn about nutrition,” Fee said. “I’m learning better form on all my lifts.”
With two boys, Mellencamp started the “Beast Mode” sessions years ago.
“We’ve been running the youth class for at least five years,” Mellencamp said. “Word has gotten around, and the class has continued to grow. I think it’s important for kids to be a part of something that’s not necessarily sport-related. They can still learn about health and nutrition and be a part of a common group.”
Mellencamp goes out of her way to ensure that the kids learn in a fun, safe manner and said she usually has 12 kids on average.
“We do age-appropriate things,” Mellencamp said. “They dead lift, power clean, back squat, but it’s all taught at a much lower level. We want them to have the form and technique down, and the weight kind of comes after that. It’s really amazing to see some of these kids learn and grow. At this age, their bodies are growing at quick paces. To teach proper core strength just makes for a more solid athlete.”
Reed Mellencamp, 8, said he plays three sports and wants to get better at them through the workouts.
“I come so I can get stronger,” Reed said. “My favorite game is probably freeze-tag. We work out and play games. I think that it will help me get stronger for football.”
Jesse Mellencamp, 10, likes getting fit with his friends.
“You get to come out and play with your friends,” he said. “I think that it will help my mobility. I will be able to throw the ball better from the outfield.”
“Beast Mode” meets up on Wednesday and Fridays.