Being Bruce -: Fitness Classes in Brunswick Forest

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fitness Classes in Brunswick Forest

Fitness Reporter – September 2011

Let’s Take Some Classes!

By Bruce Brown
Independent Beachbody Coach,

As I’ve written before, we’re fortunate in Brunswick Forest to have plentiful exercise and workout choices. My personal workout favorite is P90X™, which I do in my garage, but during the first two weeks of August I took a recommended two-week break between cycles of P90X and sampled three different classes at the Brunswick Forest Fitness & Wellness Center.

I attended Zumba™, Pilates, and Stretch & Relaxation classes. Zumba is my favorite, because I like to dance, but the three different classes, each offered mid morning weekdays, together give you a varied program that includes cardio, core strength building and balance, and flexibility work.
Zumba is a Latin-inspired dance fitness program created by dancer and choreographer Alberto "Beto" Perez in Colombia during the 1990s. Zumba involves dance and aerobic elements. Unlike a typical dance class where counts are used, Zumba involves following the music with repetitive movements. Zumba's choreography incorporates hip-hop, samba, salsa, merengue, mambo, martial arts, and some Bollywood and belly dance moves. Squats and lunges are also included.” - Wikipedia

A typical Zumba class burns 500-1,000 calories, according to

Lorrie Gregory, the Brunswick Forest Fitness & Wellness Zumba instructor, brings a wealth of experience in dance, gymnastics, and fitness. The 60-minute class is a lot of fun. The class capacity is 25 and the three times I’ve taken it so far it’s been about full. You can wear sneakers but most people seem to wear special Zumba shoes. I’ve done it with cross-trainers and barefoot and prefer the latter. There was only one other guy in the classes I attended so far, Lorrie’s husband Steve, who also tends the music.

If you like to dance and want an enjoyable cardio experience, zoom over to the Zumba class. You don’t need to be expert, btw, so don’t let that hold you back. None of the individual Zumba moves are difficult and Lorrie and the rest of the class are cheerfully supportive.

is a physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates. Pilates called his method Contrology because he believed that his method uses the mind to control the muscles. Pilates is a body conditioning routine that helps to not only build flexibility, but also strength, endurance, and coordination in the legs, abdominals, arms and back.” – Wikipedia

While Pilates isn’t a weight loss program, per se, according to this article, a calculator on shows a typical burn of 240-420 calories depending on the intensity of the program.

Mary Wooten is the Pilates instructor with whom I took the 60-minute classes at the Fitness & Wellness Center. Mary has loads of experience in many forms of group fitness training. As of this writing I’ve taken two classes with her that have been very different, one using a small ‘squishy’ ball during most of the exercises and one with a large exercise ball.

Mary shows plenty of modifications for different exercises and, because Pilates can be tough for beginners, she’s very attentive to and helpful with people who need it (as I did) - even after completing a full cycle of P90X I found myself referring to my “Killer Pilates” class. Most people don’t wear shoes during the class and loose clothing is also probably a good idea.

The Fitness & Wellness Center Director Brooke McCarthy teaches a 45-minute Stretch & Relaxation class once a week. A Certified Health Fitness Specialist, Brooke’s class also varied the two times I attended so far. The first time we just used mats and the second time we also used large exercise balls and bands for stretching.

Against a background of relaxing music, Brooke gently leads you through a series of full body stretches and finishes with relaxation exercises. Stretching and flexibility are important components to overall fitness and Brooke’s very pleasant class helps with both.  This is another class most people do barefoot. Also, as with the Pilates class, some folks bring their own mats, but there are plenty of mats for student use in the equipment closet so you don’t need any equipment. So don’t let shoes or gear hold you back. Anyone can do this class.

There are many other classes at the Fitness & Wellness Center, but for me, this weekly combination of two Zumba classes, two Pilates classes, and one Stretch & Relaxation class was great during my break. In fact, I liked them so much that I’m going to continue taking the classes even while I do another P90X cycle.