I’ve always been an early riser but not an early exerciser.
Recently, I had the opportunity to connect with a community fitness group, who get up while it’s still dark and get moving before most of us have even hit the snooze button.
Fairfield Group Fitness is a community fitness class based at the Fairfield School Hall, which runs express (30-minute) fitness classes from 6.15am to 6.45am.
Fairfield local Christine MacDonell runs the classes and is a former colleague and friend.
Chris has always been motivated and inspirational in helping other people be active and reach their fitness goals, so I had no doubt her new project would be the same.
As I arrived, I took a place near the back of the room – a good place to check out the lie of the land and to make sure that my lack of ability to co-ordinate arms and legs at the same time didn’t stand out.
I needn’t have worried though, Chris is warm and friendly and the class is a welcoming and inclusive environment, all of us just there to do our thing and then get on with our days.
And express meant express!
After a brisk warm-up track, we were into it: a combination of repetitions of squats, mountain climbers, sit ups, plank jacks and burpees among other activities.
There was no time to wonder about what others were up to, just to get stuck in and work through the rotations.
I was soon regretting a couple of months of taking it easy over Christmas, particularly in my lack of upper body strength.
We then moved to a lively boxing track and before too long 6.45am was approaching and we were stretching and warming down, ready to head out the door to get on with our day.
Another of the great aspects about the classes is their community focus. At $2 per person, it is so accessible for anyone.
The group has great local community business connections, with healthy giveaways, and through running theme classes, participants have joined together to do various fundraisers including supporting the Blind Foundation.
They are currently doing a seven-week challenge to run or walk the Surf to Stadium Fun Run and Walk, with donations going towards the Mosgiel Pool Project.
It truly is a community affair and one that Chris hopes to expand into other areas of total wellbeing, including walking, yoga, and meditation.
Getting up and being active in the morning isn’t everyone’s [morning] cup of tea, but with a bit of prior planning I was able to get to the class, be home by 7am, and kid wrangle two busy boys off to school, just in time to get to work at 8.30am and slide into my desk with a cup of herbal tea, feeling quite virtuous about having done my activity for the day.