Shabbat candle lighting: 8:07pm

Get Those Kids Moving!

New Youth Fitness Classes See Kids Developing Strength, Flexibility, Confidence 

From tots to teens to full-fledged high school athletes, the J offers a number of age-appropriate fitness opportunities that are both fun and beneficial for youth and teens. The J’s certified teachers and trainers ensure that children, as young as three years old, receive safe and supportive instruction.

According to JCC Director of Fitness Raychel Setless, the J is promoting lifelong healthy habits by giving extra attention to youth fitness. This past Spring a set of Jr. Fitness Classes were launched with great success. For the 9-12 year old set, the J now offers Shockwave Jr., Yoga Jr., and ZUMBA Kids, examples of taking successful adult classes and modifying them to be fun and appropriate for youth. 

“This age group needed special attention,” Setless explained. “Especially those who don’t find organized sports appealing. If you get the kids excited to exercise now, they will likely continue as teens and adults.” These new group classes are a fun way to get a workout while seeing friends and making new ones.

In Shockwave Jr., youth experience a high intensity circuit training class said to be the most effective total body workout in the world. Yoga Jr. is designed especially for youth and helps to release energy and tension while developing strength, flexibility, and confidence. Then, in ZUMBA Kids, children forget they're working out with fun but simple moves including, Cha Cha, Salsa, reggaeton, rumba and more.

Setless says, ”Our goal here is to find something that works for everyone. We want them to establish real habits. As long as they are doing things safely, if they like it, it’s likely they’ll continue.”

As part of the J’s initiative to promote youth fitness, Alek Groopman has recently been introduced as the Owings Mills Fitness Coordinator for Youth Fitness. Groopman has played an integral role in the youth program revamp. “We are thrilled to recognize all the effort Alek has put in and excited to see how he will continue to grow youth fitness,” says Setless.  

“Alek is great in this role because he has a remarkable understanding of motor development and what is essential, safe, and effective for this age group.  He also makes fitness FUN. The kids in his classes love him and in turn are learning to love fitness.” says Setless.

Alek specializes in low to high intensity interval training and uses his experience in Hockey and Ultimate Frisbee to motivate and enlighten youth.

“It’s important to get youth thinking about exercise and staying in shape at a young age. The average female reaches their peak performance level as a teenager, and the average male in adolescence.  So it’s very smart to form healthy habits right during these ‘tween’ years,”  Groopman says.

Having grown up as a member of the J, Groopman is a 5 year employee. He began as a Floor Trainer and received his Personal Training Certification through the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

In addition to personal training and coordinating Jr. Classes, Alek instructs and supervises Jr. Weight Training. This certification program for 12-15 year olds includes 3 sessions with a certified personal trainer where youth learn proper exercise form, gym rules and etiquette, and establish a basic workout routine that they can easily replicate. Completion of this certification also gives youth access to the J Fitness Center (cardio and circuit room only) to continue working out after the course.

The J has so much to offer. Stop by to meet Alek or even take a class.