By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
LINCOLN PARK – As the holidays approach, instead of cocooning and packing on pounds, venture out for a workout that boosts your physical and mental health twice a week with Sweat Squad Strut.
Fitness leader Matt Mayes, 25, of Melvindale, who works in advertising by day, presides over the club-like workout, which meets 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., Monday and Wednesday, in the Chandler Center, the former Lighthouse Ministries Building, 2069 Chandler.
Mayes launched it in September, and hopes to attract additional participants, and will add more days as needed to accommodate demand.
“It’s a fitness class, it’s a community of accountability, it’s like a big network of people that want to focus on mental and physical health,” he said, “and it is just a way to have an outlet and somewhere to go to exercise and talk about how they are going to achieve goals, whether it be fitness or wellness.”
He said participants may choose to focus on fitness, or they may want a friendly support group or an accountability partner.
“If you want to get away from your family for a few minutes, and just dance and have a good time, it is all what you want it to be,” Mayes said.
He said he has seen a lot of different fitness and wellness programs, and he wanted Sweat Squad Strut to offer a broad workout with a fun component.
“It’s not Zumba, it’s not P90X, it’s not Cize,” Mayes said. “It is its own entity that not only focuses on the fitness, but focuses on what you want to focus on.”
While more women attend, the sessions are co-ed, Mayes said.
“It’s a solid mix,” he said. “It tends to lean more toward the women, but there are definitely the men here that are having just as much fun, and they come back for more as well.”
Mayes said the sessions are “judgment-free zones.”
“You come as you are, and be who you want to be, and you have fun while you do it,” he said. “People love it. They love the atmosphere and they love the environment.
“They love that it is dark so they don’t feel self-conscious, but there are still lights going, and fun, loud music. They can get lost in their own head while not having to worry about it and just having fun.”
Mayes said the workout, from warm-up to cool-down, with water breaks, runs just under an hour.
“We have labeled it as a ‘clubbing fitness experience,’ but it is not just for young people,” Mayes said. “It really allows somebody, whether you are 16 or 65, you can come and you have a group of people that are all on the same path to hit wellness, and we accommodate you based on what your needs are. It’s not a package where you buy this and get this. You come in, see what you want to do, we see what your goals are, and we give you a way to achieve those goals.”
The drop-in rate is $7 per session, with a $2 discount for Lincoln Park residents. Discounts are also available with prepayment, and prepaying for a month earns a 20 percent discount.
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected].)