It is good to have a workout partner — motivation when you don’t feel like moving. So imagine how great it would be to partner with a whole city.
FALL RIVER — It is good to have a workout partner — motivation when you don’t feel like moving.
So imagine how great it would be to partner with a whole city.
Hundreds of people signed up to find out on Saturday.
The Greater Fall River Fitness Challenge held its opening day Saturday in the gymnasium and cafeteria at Kuss Middle School.
There was a health fair, a weigh-in, a health screening station and ongoing demonstrations of Zumba, pole fitness, cardio boot camp and jumping jacks.
“We’ve had a lot of people come in today, a really good crowd,” said Annemarie Holly, program director at Greater Fall River Re-Creation and organizer of the Fitness Challenge.
“Mainly we are trying to help people find their little niche in the fitness world, to find something that makes them happy,” Holly said. “We aim at people who have never exercised or who haven’t exercised in 20 years.
“We want to get them off the couch and show them the different options available to them.”
There is a $10 registration fee for the 12-week program.
At the kickoff, those interested spoke to trainers from 10 gyms and organizations around the area. They also got advice on nutrition, tastings of all-natural juices, maps for walking or biking around Fall River and fliers to let them sign up for the March 4 Fight For Air stair climbing event in Providence or the April 2 Thomas Giunta 5K Road Race in the Industrial Park.
Solomon Souza knew exactly what type of exercise was right for him.
Sandy Coleman, a Zumba instructor at General Fitness, was leading a dozen women through kicks, spins, lunges and skipping in the center of the gymnasium floor when Solomon, 18 months old, escaped from his mother, Andrea Coderre, and ran out to join them.
In his gray onesie with tiger ears on the hood, he became the star, smiling as he danced and threw his hands in the air, making it clear how much he cared.
“He really is having a great time today,” Coderre said. She collected him and hauled him back to the sidelines. Again.
The challenge will run for 12 weeks. It offers a choice of exercise classes four days a week and a walking group marching laps around the hallways at Kuss on Wednesday and Saturday. There will be workshops on health and nutrition, weigh-ins every two weeks and prizes given out at the Fitness Challenge Finale on April 21.
“This is my third year in this,” Coleman said. “I see a lot of new faces here this year, which is good.
“You get to challenge yourself with this, whether you are a beginner or hardcore. Plus, you get to come out and have fun.”
For Roman Peralta, 10, the fun started even before the exercise. He worked out Saturday by collecting the free stuff being offered by the 20 vendors and organizations set up at the health fair.
“I haven’t done anything physical today, I’ve just gotten a whole bunch of stuff,” he said. He emptied his coat pockets, lining up the dental care package, coloring book, sunglasses, wrist band, pencil, lip balm and highlighters.
“My favorite? Tough choice,” he said. “The sunglasses, the book and the toothbrush, in that order.”
The aim is to offer many choices through the program, Holly said.
“We give people a chance to try everything,” she said. And having partners helps, too, she said.
“It’s all about camaraderie in the city,” she explained. “A lot of people buy into the program because they really end up looking out for each other, cheering each other on.”
That has been her experience, eight years after she started participating in the challenge, Holly said.
“On any given Saturday, we’ll have 120 people in the gym and the hallways, working out and doing different things.
“I know that, if I don’t come on a Saturday I’ll miss seeing people I’ve come to know. That is enough to get me down here.”