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Tampa gym focuses on getting kids back in shape following pandemic school year

Posted at 10:32 AM, Jun 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-08 15:46:16-04

TAMPA, Fla. — The pandemic certainly disrupted the everyday routines of children. For many of them, it meant more eating and less exercise. So one Tampa gym is offering classes specifically designed for kids.

A couple of hours each day, South Tampa CrossFit pushes aside their adult classes and makes room for a little musical chairs, but instead of chairs, they are using medicine balls.

"We've been having calls from parents, saying that their kids have been less active than ever, sitting on the couch, way more screen time than normal, for the first time ever are gaining weight exponentially," said Tricia Will, co-owner of South Tampa CrossFit.

So the trainers decided to put extra focus on their youth programs, including a CrossFit for Kids Summer Camp, ages 5-14.

"They forget what it's like to play, they forget what it's like to be physically active, and so they come in here, we teach them this is how we do it, and we're going to have a great time," said Will.

Parents say it's been tough watching exercise go from a priority to an afterthought during the past year.

"We definitely saw a lack in their activity and more of an attachment to the screen," said Chris Jelesky, who has two kids in the class. "Even their playtime was modified, they weren't able to do as much running around, the playground was restricted, so they couldn't do as much as they wanted to."

So far, the response among these students has been overwhelming; it's much more fun to be moving rather than sitting.

"When you sit on the couch for like 800 days, you can't even feel your body," said Cooper Donahue.

"I like it because it's challenging, and last year we didn't get to do a lot of things," said Saina Roychoudhury.

"So that you can be fit and your not unhealthy," said Ariana Roychoudhury.

South Tampa CrossFit said it's not just about these kids going home with a healthier body but also a healthier mindset.

"It gives them self-confidence by constantly learning that their bodies and themselves, they are capable of doing way more than they ever thought possible," said Will.

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