No Sweat in the Park: 1,000 people worked out with York Daily Record

Monica Melendez instructs free Zumba class during No Sweat in the Park in May at the York Daily Record. About 1,000 people attended our free fitness series this summer. (Daily Record/Sunday News -- Jason Plotkin)

Monica Melendez instructs free Zumba class during No Sweat in the Park in May at the York Daily Record. About 1,000 people attended our free fitness series this summer. (Daily Record/Sunday News — Jason Plotkin)

In May, a few of us at No Sweat and the York Daily Record thought it would be fun to host free weekly outdoor fitness classes for the community. The idea was to expose people to different types of fitness each month and to showcase the many talented fitness professionals York County has to offer. Plus, exercising in the fresh air and sunshine makes sweating it out so much better, right?

We’re certified in journalism, not fitness, so we needed some help. We put out a call to instructors on YDR’s Facebook page, and within minutes, we had handfuls of people who were willing to donate their time to help York County get healthier.

In May, we debuted No Sweat in the Park with Zumba by Body Rhythms Life Fitness. Sister-duo Monica Melendez and Melissa Deitz brought energy, along with their dedicated Zumba groupies. Seriously, these girls have fun. Their lighthearted approach seemed to make all newcomers feel comfortable with shaking it in YDR’s parking lot. Melendez and Deitz make hilarious faces when mouthing the words to the music. If you take some of their classes, you will be expected to learn the words of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” for the cool down.

Although Zumba was a blast, we wanted to kick it up a notch in June. So we brought in Jeremy Gruver from Gruver Fitness Outdoor Bootcamp. Have excuses? Gruver won’t take them. Having lost more than 100 pounds, he knows what it’s like to be overweight and deal with the struggle to get fit. His story, along with the stories of many of his “boot-campers” who joined us, were inspiring enough to make people want to get moving. That inspiration plus the positive force of more than 100 people working out together surely made attendees feel motivated. Dripping in sweat, we did push-ups, squats and burpees together — pushing ourselves individually and as a whole. Although Gruver was tough, he also had compassion for helping people reach their goals.

Led by Megan Donley of Lotus Moon Yoga,  participants do yoga during No Sweat in the Park in July at the York Daily Record in West Manchester Township. (Daily Record/Sunday News -- Kate Penn)

Led by Megan Donley of Lotus Moon Yoga, participants do yoga during No Sweat in the Park in July at the York Daily Record in West Manchester Township. (Daily Record/Sunday News — Kate Penn)

July was hot, and we needed to chill out. Megan Donley of Lotus Moon Yoga hosted hatha yoga with a focus on breath awareness and connecting to the natural surroundings through the senses. To the chirps of cicadas, we practiced vinyasa flow — connecting breath with movement — sun salutations to boost energy and balancing sequences. Donley instructed us through a gentle style of yoga and encouraged us to do what felt natural. Each class, she raffled off prizes for her studio, such as a month of free classes. Through her teaching, Donley helped us to clear our minds, relax and be in the moment. Just stand next to her, and you’ll feel calm.

In August, we featured Les Mills BODYCOMBAT instructed by the YMCA of York and York County. Cori and Paige Strathmeyer, Kim Tate and Michelle Thomas took turns teaching the mixed martial arts inspired cardio workout. Each instructor had a different teaching style. However, they all stressed fundamentals of body combat: Stay in proper form, punch hard and always engage your core. This class will make you feel fierce.

About 1,000 York County residents joined us this summer. We’d like to thank the instructors who donated their time and you for working out with us and supporting our mission.


Feedback: Did you attend No Sweat in the Park this summer? Which class was your favorite and why? Is there a style of class you’d like to see next year? Send love to Body Rhythms Life Fitness, Gruver Fitness Outdoor Boot Camp, Lotus Moon Yoga and YMCA of York and York County in the the comment section below.

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