Dianne Frances D. Powell
TERRE HAUTE —
Many community members got quite the workout Saturday morning during a fitness summit at Terre Haute North Vigo High School on the city’s north side.
Hosted by Blast Inc. Fitness Group, which is led by former NFL football player Ernie Thompson, the fitness summit was attended by people of diverse backgrounds, ages and fitness levels.
“Our fitness team is already doing a few different workouts at various sites, so we thought it would be neat to get the community involved,” Thompson said.
“We are just hoping to help someone, no hidden motives or agendas, just meet the attack that the enemy has launched on our physical bodies head-on and show someone the path to a healthier lifestyle,” he added.
Among the activities were health screenings, lunch, health presentations and a keynote speech by Ernie’s brother, Anthony Thompson, a North Vigo graduate, former NFL running back and now pastor of Lighthouse Community Church in Bloomington.
The summit also featured five exercise sessions: weightlifting, walking/running, cardio-cross training, high-intensity Blast drills and step aerobics.
In the school’s main gym, participants tried out the Blast drills, including box jumps, around the world rope jump, back and forth rope jump, high hurdles and low hurdles.
The participants did five box jumps, where they jumped up from the floor to the top of a box with both feet together.
Team Blast Inc. member Jaci Pabst demonstrated the jump while another team member, Mike Lucas, coached the participants.
“She uses her arms to propel herself upwards,” Lucas said during Pabst’s demonstration.
“Every step has a purpose,” Lucas told the participants.
One participant was elementary school teacher Jessica McBride.
“It was a little hard at first, using the arms,” McBride admitted. “But it’s definitely a good workout,” she said of the box jumps.
McBride, who said she runs regularly, came to the summit to learn.
“I want to do more than just running,” McBride said.
The Blast workout program promotes lower, upper and core body strength and conditioning, according to a Blast Inc. handout.
“The main goal of Blast is to provide its participants [with] an excellent cardio workout that engages the entire body while emphasizing body control and mental toughness,” the handout said.
It involved a lot of jumping.
“You want to be in pretty good shape before you attempt to do it,” Lucas said.
And mental toughness was also important.
“As your body gets fatigued, you still got to have the mental toughness to finish with proper form,” Lucas said.
It is important to “keep that mental awareness throughout your workout,” he said.
During the low hurdles exercise, participant Alfred Colvin’s mental awareness was put to the test.
He said as he jumped the hurdles two at a time, he occasionally got confused.
Colvin immediately realized that focus and technique were important in the exercises.
“It strengthens you mentally and physically,” he said, which is why he decided to come to the summit. “I want to try to get to tiptop shape,” he said.
But the high hurdles also posed a challenge.
“It’s a lot harder than the boxes,” McBride said, because of participants having to make “higher jumps more consistently.”
Inside the school’s auxiliary gym, a group of participants exercised to the tune of upbeat music during step aerobics, led by Thompson.
In step aerobics, it was important to keep moving because that’s how people get the workout, he said.
Even if participants mess up, they should just keep going, he added.
“If you can add a little laugh along the way, even better,” Thompson said.
Among the participants of step aerobics was Vigo County School Corp. Superintendent Daniel Tanoos, who clearly enjoyed the workout.
Tanoos said he wanted to “lead by example” and to show his staff that a healthful lifestyle is important.
The fitness summit was sponsored by the Vigo County School Corp. and Hamilton Center.
Another participant, Kelly Renteria-Evans, also enjoyed the workout.
“It was good. It got my heart rate up,” the school counselor said during a brief brake from step aerobics.
“I’m not as coordinated as I used to be,” she said of missing some of the steps. “It takes a lot of coordination, but it’s fun.”
All to keep herself healthy.
“I need to take myself seriously. I need to do something for myself,” Renteria-Evans said.
“That’s what today is about.”
Tribune-Star Reporter Dianne Frances D. Powell can be reached at 812-231-4299 or firstname.lastname@example.org.