Hiawatha Offering Free Fitness Classes

Fitness enthusiasts take advantage of the free Zumba class March 9 at the Hiawatha Community Center. Photo by Cynthia Petersen

Time is running out to try Zumba for free at the Hiawatha Community Center.

April 13 is the last time Zumba, an aerobic fitness program inspired by various styles of Latin American dance, will be offered at the center, 101 Emmons Street in Hiawatha. The last Zumba class will be held Thursday, April 13 at 5:30 pm.

According to several Zumba enthusiasts, the great thing about Zumba is that you don’t have to know how to dance to join in. “The important thing is to keep moving and have fun.”

Hiawatha Parks and Recreation director, Kelly Willadsen, said the city has been offering a variety of fitness activities to the community the past year, including yoga and Zumba, which the community can try for free.

“Not many people know what Zumba is so we thought why not give people the opportunity to see what it is about free of charge and maybe they will continue after our classes here,” said Willadsen. “Brooke Lentz does a great job and we have been impressed by the numbers we have seen over the last two months. We definitely hope to have her back next year.”

Brooke Lentz, Public Relations and Event Coordinator for Pat McGrath, is a certified Zumba instructor and leads the 30-minute class at the center. She became certified during a 1-day training session in Indianola last year, she said, simply because she loves to dance.

“I was in dance classes and show choir in middle school and high school. I was on the dance team my freshman year in college and the cheerleading squad my junior year at Wartburg College, as well. During the training we learned basic steps for four different rhythms: merengue, salsa, cumbia and reggaeton. My favorite is the reggae! The music is unbeatable. Zumba creates a community and make fitness exciting.”

Lentz said she was approached by Willadsen to lead a Zumba class once a month for the first four months of the year.

“I could not turn the opportunity down because city officials wanted to provide free fitness to the community. Amazing!”

Lentz also leads a weekly class for employees at the McGrath Fitness Center.

For more information, visit the city’s website at Hiawatha-iowa.com or the Hiawatha Parks & Recreation Facebook page.


Crossfit2.2 a goal-oriented fitness program

Crossfit2.2 isn’t your typical training facility.

A member works out at Crossfit 2.2 in Hiawatha. (Photo by Cynthia Petersen)
A member works out at Crossfit 2.2 in Hiawatha. (Photo by Cynthia Petersen)

According to Josh Dunnick, sales representative and coach, CrossFit optimizes fitness through the traditional fitness workouts, such as weightlifting, gymnastics, and running. However, it’s the personal style that makes Crossfit2.2 unique.

“We have our own business model and mission statement,” said Dunnick. “We are our own community and support and members encourage each other to reach their goals.

Dunnick said coaches encourage quantifiable goals, not subjective goals. “It means we teach you how to become more fitness indeed, which naturally makes you look and feel better,” he said. “We don’t want people to look at the reflection in the mirror. We want them to set realistic goals. By obtaining those goals, you’ll feel better about yourself.”

Dunnick said those interested in joining Crossfit 2.2 can come in for a free informational meeting to talk about available programs,  do a simple workout,  and ask any questions . If they want to pursue it further, they attend three 1-hour classes to show them how to use the equipment and to the fitness routines. They will also figure out a schedule that works for them.

“It’s about attitude,” said Dunnick. “What you get out of it depends on how serious you take your goals and what you want to achieve.”

Unlike other body building or shaping facilities, coaches from Crossfit 2.2 do not push you to do something you don’t feel comfortable doing, but instead encourage you to complete the goals you set for yourself.

“It’s important to set goals, but we try to stress the importance of the journey rather than the end product.”

Dunnick said members of the community that has formed at Crossfit 2.2 also support and encourage each other, which gives those struggling motivation to keep going.

“Someone is always here, happy to help,” said Dunnick.

For more information got to Crossfit2.2’s website at crossfit2point2.com or call them at (319) 462-7888.

Hiawatha Today

Ashley Grabe Zumbas her way to fitness

Those watching Ashley Grabe teach Zumba might think the 32 year-old has been doing it her whole life. But she actually just took up the fitness program a little over two years ago.

Ashley Grabe, Zumba Instructor
Ashley Grabe, Zumba Instructor

The Zumba instructor, partnering with Back in Line Chiropractic, recently held a free class at the Hiawatha Community Center so that more people could learn the benefits of Zumba Fitness.

Grabe said she started the popular exercise program as a way to lose weight, but soon found out it was a great addition to her life in general.

“I started gaining weight a few years ago and wanted to join an exercise class, but I hesitated because I’d never had much luck with them. I saw a class advertising Zumba and because liked Latin and Salsa dancing, I decided to try it.”

Grabe said she fell in love with it right away.

“I couldn’t believe how much fun it was,” she said. “I found that I didn’t watch the clock like I normally did. And when it was over, I couldn’t wait to do it again. I just couldn’t believe how good I felt.”

She said she attended more Zumba classes and learned the different music and routines.

“Someone told me once that I should become a Zumba instructor, and I thought, why not? I loved to do it and I couldn’t think of anything else I would rather do. I would do Zumba every night if I could.”

Grabe received her certification to teach Zumba in May 2013, after completing a day-long program to learn the steps and teaching methods necessary for certification.

“I had been subbing at the YMCA and continued to do that for a while, but then I decided to take my workout classes to the Shueyville Community Center,” she said. “I’m just trying to get my name out there.”

Together with Alicia Anderson, of Cedar Rapids, Grabe started Dance Club Cardio, which includes Hip Hop, pop, and funk music dance moves.

“We like to use a variety of genres in our classes,” she said.

Grabe, a sales executive with Communications Engineering Company (CEC) in Hiawatha for the past three years, lives in Shueyville with her husband.

Grabe graduated from Kennedy High School in 2000 and earned her Associates of Arts degree in Liberal Arts from Kirkwood Community College. She graduated Capri College and obtained her license in aesthetics.

For more articles go to www.mariontoday.org/times/hiawatha.