Meet the new trainers in town

Kaili Masamoto

We are currently experiencing a fitness revolution; with better health education, people are exercising now more than ever.

According to the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association that publishes yearly health club trends, “[gym] membership has increased more than 10% over the past three years to over 50.2 million members [in America].”

While some Whitties choose to stay on campus and exercise via SSRA courses or campus sports, others pursue their exercise off campus, joining the millions of people who choose to pay to exercise. So, where exactly is everyone going, and to whom are people turning to for their exercise needs?

Downtown studio jazzes up exercise

While Zumba is synonymous with trendy Latin dance workouts, the tried-and-true Jazzercise owns a place in many people’s hearts-including Janet Byerley’s.

Byerley is a Jazzercise instructor and also the owner of Jazzercise Walla Walla. She first got into Jazzercise through … BMX racing.

“When my boys were young, they liked riding bicycles a lot and we have a really nice BMX track out here at Fort Walla Walla. I started racing bicycles too and needed some kind of cross training exercise program to help out in the winter and just keep active. A friend of mine got me coming to Jazzercise and it was just a great workout,” Byerley said.

Her passion for Jazzercise led her to train to become an instructor when they needed an extra one, and shortly after, she purchased the franchise after the previous owner got a job as a nurse for a public school district.

Byerley works hard to encourage students to come out and try Jazzercise.

“We have a reduced fee for tickets, so whereas a normal ticket is $42 a month for unlimited classes, a student’s pass is $25,” Byerley said. “Time and money keep people from exercising, or motivation. We can’t schedule your time for you, but we can give a price break.”

Byerley loves Jazzercise and this passion drives her outreach efforts because she wants everyone to experience Jazzercise. Some of her older, more dedicated students have actually been coming here for ten years now. They enjoy it so much they have actually incorporated it into their lifestyle.

Jazzercise offers a wide variety of music from Latin to jazz, Top 40 hits to techno. The musical focus is broad, and the workout itself also includes strength training.

“Typically, we’ll do dance songs for about 35 minutes, and then go grab weights and mats and do an abdominal routine, an upper torso routine, and one or two leg routines,” Byerley said.

Besides providing people with a wonderful workout, Jazzercise Walla Walla above all gives people “a really fun, supportive atmosphere” where camaraderie and laughter flows freely.

“Really, there are lots of neat people that come [to Jazzercise]––totally talented––and if you miss your mom, you can come and meet someone else. [It’s] like Adopt-a-Mom!”

3, 2, 1 … Go! Walla Walla gets CrossFit

Meet Chuck Amerein, instructor and owner of CrossFit Walla Walla. Amerein was first exposed to CrossFit by some members of the military while working as a contractor in Iraq. After returning to the United States, he began helping train kids for free who were interested in enlisting.

“Someone mentioned maybe I should get certified because it might be a liability issue,” Amerein said. “I got certified in CrossFit, and because it was kind of pricey, it didn’t make sense to only prepare people for the military.”

His next move was to open up a “box”, which is slang for a gym, in Dayton, WA for a year and a half until, seeking a larger clientele, he moved business to Walla Walla and set up another CrossFit box right here in town over the summer. Based in a warehouse in the industrial part of town in the common CrossFit style, he is continuing to build up a Walla Walla constituency.

Unlike some gyms which attract a wide range of ages, the majority of people working out a CrossFit Walla Walla are post-college students. In the past years, Amerein has noticed an increase in popularity of CrossFit after ESPN started broadcasting the CrossFit Games.

“It used to be mostly firemen, soldiers, police officers -the type of people who needed functional fitness,” Amerein said. “Now there are other people into CrossFit, probably because it can make you capable of amazing things.”

Amerein likes CrossFit because it is a constantly challenging workout, easily scalable up or down depending on an individual’s fitness level.

“It’s a little different and a highly effective, almost extreme, non-traditional form of exercise,” Amerein said.

CrossFit utilizes traditional exercises such as running, kettlebells, calisthenics and plyometrics, then combines them in innovative ways designed to challenge the entire body. Anyone who wants to enter a profession which requires a high level of functional fitness, or simply wants to get in great shape, would benefit from CrossFit.

“You can become as flexible as a gymnast, with the endurance of a marathon runner and the strength of an Olympic weightlifter,” Amerein said.

However, do not think that CrossFit does all the work for you. An investment of personal effort and perspiration is of course required on the part of the participant. Amerein stresses it is impossible to ever become the “bee’s knees” at CrossFit since no matter how long a person does CrossFit, Amerein can always think up a bigger, better, and let’s face it, more painful workout.