It’s 5:15 on a weekday morning. After a few minutes of stretching, the fitness group drags out bags before donning boxing gloves. For the next 45 minutes, the sounds of punches and kicks hitting the bags can be heard throughout the room — Kickin’ It is in session.
Begun 13 years ago, the Edgewood fitness group uses punches and kicks as a way to work out Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays.
On this particular morning, 10 women are scattered across the dojo at McDowell’s Midwest Academy of Tae Kwon Do north of Edgewood. Though not affiliated with the martial arts academy, Kickin’ It uses the dojo for workouts.
The group is varied. A senior in high school works out next to a grandmother. For members, Eileen Bergan and Tammy Kirby, the age range of the group speaks to the group’s diversity.
“We’re all at different fitness levels here,” Kirby said. “Any fitness level can join and everyone goes at their own pace.”
Bergan agreed, adding, “This activity can be totally catered to you. Kickboxing is one of those things where the harder you kick or punch, the better the workout goes for you. But everyone does it at their own pace.”
Bergan and Kirby lead the group, calling out kicks or punches for the class to execute. Both are quick to point out that they are not formally trained as kickboxing instructors.
Bergan joined the group at its inception in 2007, with Kirby joining a year later. Both agree that besides working out for themselves, they want to be there for the others.
“I kind of get held accountable by the other people in the group. It’s a camaraderie thing,” Bergan explained. “I feel like we are each other’s support group.”
“I couldn’t do this on my own,” Kirby said. “I know I can always count on someone else to be there. Also, there is no judgment there. Any fitness level can join. I look forward to seeing everyone in the morning. We get along well and try to build each other up.”
In addition to building each other up, they help wake each other up. At least when it comes to Ed-Co High School senior Sarah Beasley.
“Sarah asks me to give her a wake-up call to get her up in the morning and I do it. It’s that kind of a group,” Bergan said.
Beasley joined the group last summer and sid she is glad she did. “It’s a rush of energy, afterward I’m not tired at all. I feel good about myself. It’s definitely a good workout and definitely worth it.”
A suggested monthly fee of $25 goes to help pay for utilities at the dojo with the remainder used to update workout equipment or donate to a local fundraiser.
“If someone in the group suggests a cause, we donate something,” Bergan said.
Bergan doesn’t see herself quitting the group anytime soon. “I like it, it’s my time in the morning. I enjoy the camaraderie. I’ll do it as long as my body will do it.”
Kirby agrees. She said after 13 years there’s no reason to quit now. She also mentioned another advantage to the group. “I used to work from home. When I did that, coming out here was the only adult conversation I had all day.”
The group has seen members from Edgewood, Manchester, Strawberry Point, Colesburg and Greeley over the years.
A Facebook page for the group can be found at Edgewood Kickin’ It. Anyone wanting more information about joining the group can message Bergan or Kirby through the page.
Bergan said all are welcome. “Anyone who just wants to give it a try without making a commitment, we are totally open to that.”