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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Health, fitness director at YMCA adds personal touch

Thursday, February 8, 2007

(Photo)
Kenny Stone, YMCA of Southeat Missouri health and fitness director, spots Spencer Whitehead.
SIKESTON -- Making the transition from YMCA of Southeast Missouri fitness specialist to health and fitness director was such a smooth process for Kenny Stone even the members may not have realized his title swap.

But they are noticing the positive changes taking place in the Sikeston facility's programs.

"Since he's been here full-time, Kenny has put a personal touch on our fitness programs, where we were probably lacking before," said Chris Hodgkiss, program director at the YMCA of Southeast Missouri.

Over the past three years, Stone worked part-time at the YMCA. After completing his master's degree in nutrition and exercise science in May, Stone began working full-time for the Sikeston facility in June. "Things are going great," Stone said.

Since his job change, Stone has implemented new programs at the YMCA, including Silver Sneakers, which is a low-impact, low-intensity class designed for senior citizens, and "yolates," which is a combination of yoga and Pilates. Stone has added aerobics classes and instructors.

In August, Stone started offering "Four Weeks to Fitness," which is a personal training program.

"They meet with me once a week for four weeks, but I don't abandon them," Stone said. "It's a very detailed exercise program. They do it on their own and try to increase their fitness level."

Stone admitted the program is doing a lot better than he anticipated. It began with six to eight members and currently 20 are enrolled.

"We really felt Kenny would be a good addition to our staff and explored the opportunity with the board about bringing him in early. It's worked out wonderful," Hodgkiss said.

As health and fitness director, Stone is in charge of the fitness center and all aerobics classes -- and their staff members -- as well implementing new ideas for fitness programs. A weight loss class called Idea Weight Management is anticipated for sometime in the spring.

And Stone is able to give members more individualized attention, Hodgkiss said.

"We didn't have a lot of personal training before we hired Kenny and that was one area we thought we could grow a bit," Hodgkiss said.

The YMCA has also added a lot more coverage in the fitness center since Stone has been working full-time, which has really helped, Hodgkiss said.

"Members feel comfortable and like seeing a familiar face and somebody who they know is trained in that area, and he has a good rapport with the members," Hodgkiss said about Stone.

Although he doesn't have statistics, Hodgkiss said since hiring Stone membership remained steady during times it typically starts to decline.

"In late summer to early fall, we'll see a drop off in fitness center usage, but we never saw a drop off, and, if anything, we saw an increase," Hodgkiss said. But Stone said the YMCA's ambitious staff is the credit for the facility's success.

Currently enrollment at the YMCA is almost 1,800 members.

And members can only expect more in the future, Stone said. With the upcoming expansion of the facility, more programs will be added to utilize the additional space, he said.

"We're excited to have Kenny on board, and I'm excited he's here in place and building relationships so when we do go into the new building, we can take it and make it awesome like this current one," Hodgkiss said.

Meanwhile, Stone said he will continue brainstorming and working to develop new ideas for implementing fitness at the YMCA.

"What I like most about this (job) is I'm right there doing what I want -- exercise and fitness and keeping people healthy," Stone said. "I'm right in the middle of it, and I absolutely love it."