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Classes take motivation, dedication year-round

Thursday, January 24, 2008

SIKESTON -- Like the gym, there is a constant revolving door in aerobics classes.

"There are always new people coming in," said Mary Lynn Alcorn, who has taught aerobics for almost 25 years and currently leads classes at the YMCA of Southeast Missouri. "They're looking for a workout challenging enough that they'll push themselves. And sometimes, they're just looking for something easy and later quit."

Alcorn said that overall it takes three main characteristics for someone to stick with a class such as hers: dedication, motivation, and determination.

That's evident by some of her class members. Brenda Riley has attended classes since 1983.

"I just wanted to get in shape and stay in shape," she said. Although Riley hasn't noticed any big weight losses, she said she hasn't gained any weight as she has aged -- something several women struggle with," she said.

Another class participant is Melanie Glaus of Sikeston, who has attended regularly for almost two years.

"I went to get into shape, and I had a few pounds I needed to lose," said Glaus. To date, she's lost 15 pounds from attending the one-hour class, typically three times a week.

"One of my goals is just to make it through the whole class," she said. Glaus immediately noticed an increase in her energy level, in addition to sleeping better at night.

She and Riley agreed that going to a class versus hitting the gym on their own is what keeps them accountable.

"I've tried to use those machines, and it's just so boring to me," said Riley.

Glaus said the class helps her to switch up her exercises so she doesn't get stuck in the same routine. "When you go to her class, you do not know what you're going to do when you walk in the door," she said.

The attention from instructors, as well as the bonds formed with other regulars, also keeps people coming back.

"People need that push," said Alcorn. "They need to feel like they are a part of it and feel worthy of themselves."

She said those who attend her class often won't see a result in muscle definition right away, but they will notice a peak in their endurance level. "It takes a good two weeks for your body to get used to it because you're in shock," she said. A couple of tips she shared were for people to drink lots of liquids -- primarily without sugar, and to just eat in moderation.

Glaus said those workouts are usually so intense, it makes people want to regularly attend so they don't experience that shock again. She recalled a time that she missed a couple of weeks due to work issues.

"It was hard to get back into it again," she said. "You want to be dedicated to the class."

The classes are for anyone -- regardless of their age or sex, Riley added. "I don't think anybody's excluded -- anyone can do it if they want to feel good and have fun." In fact, she said she can't imagine not attending the aerobics classes.

Her best advice for those going to classes is to stay in focus.

"I've seen a lot of girls come and go through the years," Riley said. "You have to stick with it to see results."