BY AARON BREWINGTON
This summer, the City of Bloomington and the Bloomington Fire Department (BFD) are once again offering residents a chance to get in a free midweek workout while getting to know their local firefighters.
Run by Jess Klein, health and wellness coordinator for the City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department, and Jonathan Young, BFD firefighter first class, the 30-minute workout focuses primarily on body-weight exercises, includes a warmup and cool down, and, for those with extra time, some additional cardio at the end.
“It’s usually a combination of high-intensity and resistance-based strength building,” Klein says. “A lot of the guys do CrossFit, so it’s geared toward that. But everything can be modified for anyone with physical limitations.”
In its third year, the workout was originally part of a wellness initiative for City employees. Soon, the City and the BFD recognized the benefit of opening the once-a-week workout to the community. “There has been a big push for more engagement with the public,” Young says, “to show them what we do and help in every area, not just emergency services.”
Most people don’t know that an hour of mandatory exercise is built into the BFD firefighters’ daily schedule. “We’re going to do it either way,” Young says. “Here, we have company and get to engage with community members.”
While it might be intimidating to work out with people who are in such good physical condition, both Klein and Young point out that the mix of exercisers has been diverse, consisting of 15–20 regulars from teenagers to septuagenarians.
The workouts are held at the fire station located at 300 E. 4th St. at 4 p.m. every Wednesday from May through August.