YMCA introduces new approach to fitness

Jess Van Sciver using the TRX equipment for functional training in the Darien Y training center

There’s a new approach to fitness at the Darien YMCA with the renovation of the Y’s training center, the lower level of the Y’s fitness center, this past year. The approach is called functional training and is one of the biggest trends in fitness right now.

The idea behind functional training is to train the body like it usually moves, as a unit, which will help to improve the average person’s every day activity.

Picking up groceries, carrying a child, and transporting luggage through an airport will not put as much strain on the body or be as likely to cause injury thanks to this training approach.

The new training center is on the floor below the cardio-focused Wellness Center and used to simply be the weight room.

It is a 2,000 square foot studio equipped with all the props used in functional training classes and personal training sessions including kettle bells, tractor tires, fire ropes, sand bags, medicine balls and a football sled.

The training center also has the more traditional Precor weight machines.

Functional training classes are held in half of the studio several times a week. Darien Y Health and Fitness Director Suzanne Vita Ponticello discussed the uniqueness of the training center.

“There’s no other facility in this area that offers this type of setup and those tools to a membership base,” she said. “Anywhere else, you’d have to be working with a trainer and paying top dollar to have access.”

Ponticello demonstrated a functional training workout on the Today Show last February.

The new training center has also provided the opportunity for the Y to provide a training program for local organizations including the Darien Police Department and the Darien High School swim team.

To showcase the Training center, the Darien Y is holding a Fit Class Challenge that began Sunday, Jan. 20 and runs through Saturday, Feb. 16.

Non-members (who can purchase fitness classes) and members of the YMCA are welcome to participate in this challenge that requires completion of 20 of the Y’s 80+ fitness classes.

Classes offered range from boot camp to spin, yoga, and many more.

Participants who complete the 20 classes will be awarded a tee shirt with the Darien YMCA fitness center’s new “Living, Longer, Stronger” philosophy on it and a choice of a session with a personal trainer or a massage.

More info: darien-ymca.org

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