For six minutes, a group of about 20 people did push-ups, jumped as high at they could and lifted their knees to their opposite elbows in a continuous circuit of exercise.
The group included men and women of all ages, body types and fitness levels. Parents brought their children, who worked out alongside them.
At the Franklin Fit Camp, everyone is invited to get healthy.
“Young people can’t afford a gym membership, and paying for that for the whole family is expensive. But everyone needs that active lifestyle,” said Alyx Fleshman, Franklin native and founder of the fit camps.
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Fitness-minded families have banded together to create a series of “fit camps.” These free group exercise programs help encourage people of all ages to get more healthy and active.
What started as a twice-weekly event in Franklin has expanded to Greenwood and now Nineveh. People are having fun while losing weight and becoming more healthy, and organizers are encouraged by the program’s potential to grow.
“Everybody needs to be healthier. You feel better. You’re getting some exercise in and losing some weight,” said Debbie Brown, one of the camp coaches and Fleshman’s mother.
Fleshman lives in California, where her husband is stationed with the U.S. Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton. It was there that she first encountered a fit camp bringing all kinds of people together to exercise.
The program was very popular, with 35 to 40 people attending three times a week. Fleshman felt that the concept could work back in Indiana, where she plans to return in the next two years.
“Anyone can pay to get a gym membership, but it’s really amazing when you get to go to a free workout and it involves the community,” she said.
Fleshman is a representative of Herbalife nutrition company, and part of her job responsibility is hosting free community exercise events for people. She spent two months in Franklin, partnering with Brown and other Herbalife trainers in the area to create a free, healthy, hourlong program for people.
The first session was in June, and participation has grown since then. The two-nights-a-week in Franklin led to two sessions in Greenwood.
One of the coaches has started a fit camp at the Crossing Church in Nineveh on Saturday mornings.
Experienced fitness buffs and beginners are encouraged to attend, as is every fitness level in between. With coaches on hand at each session, there should be no fear of anyone feeling out of place or falling behind.
“It’s just about getting up here for a workout. If you can do two more push-ups today than you could Monday, it’s awesome,” Brown said.
Every session involves a full-body exercise program. That might consist of moves such as lunges, burpees and “plank jacks” — a combination of core-strengthening planks and jumping jacks.
Some days are circuit training, doing a series of exercises in succession. Other times, they do tabata, or high-intensity interval training.
Participants play games such as tag, asking people to run around like kids while getting a cardiovascular workout. A separate kickball game has been organized every Sunday.
“We try to focus on the whole body because I want to make sure we’re hitting everything,” Fleshman said. “We want to make it fun, getting everyone together to help each other.”
Fleshman and her team of coaches offer nutrition advice and meal plans. While the coaches are representatives of Herbalife, the sessions are not sales pitches, Fleshman said. No one is pressured to buy anything or sign up for the program.
“We really just want to get anyone who wants to come out involved,” Fleshman said.
The camps were envisioned as outdoor activities. But with colder weather taking hold in central Indiana, organizers have made plans to move inside.
Fleshman has arranged for the Franklin camps to be in the gym at Northwood Elementary School, and the Nineveh camp will be inside the church. They’re working on finding a place where the Greenwood camp can be held this winter.
The hope is to maintain the momentum that’s been created so far and help county residents keep improving their lives one workout at a time.
“We really want to get all of Johnson County healthy and happy and working together as a team,” Fleshman said.
What: Fit Camp, an hourlong group exercise sessions open to the community.
- 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, Northwood Elementary School, 965 Grizzly Cub Drive, Franklin
- 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, Summerfield Park, 275 W. Worthsville Road, Greenwood
- 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, The Crossing, 8728 S. Nineveh Road, Prince’s Lakes
Information: Franklin & Greenwood Free Fit Camp on Facebook