Kids Get Physical

Forget listening to music – children in the Fit Kids Conditioning Program will be jumping to it.

The six-week, six-session fitness program for boys and girls ages 8-12 begins at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at J.B. Chambers YMCA in Elm Grove. Walk-ins on Thursday are welcome. Those joining that day should arrive at 4 p.m. to fill out forms and provide payment.

Marcie Lehrke, exercise physiologist and group fitness manager at the YMCA, will lead the program. Describing it as a kid-friendly version of popular Insanity workouts, she emphasizes fitness choreography set to upbeat music.

“It’s the most important part,” said Lehrke about the music.

She has meticulously designed a playlist with songs appealing to the age group in an effort to keep them on their feet and excited about getting fit. Those of all fitness levels – including young athletes who want to increase their stamina and children who are not very active – are encouraged to join.

This marks the first year for the Fit Kids Conditioning Program. While instructing adult fitness classes at the facility, Lehrke saw her son, Alex, 10, and daughter, Jessica, 7, “put their iPads down and want to do the workout,” which gave her the idea for the program.

Paralleling programming of four sets of 30-second intervals and one minute of recovery, the program replaces timed sets with those measured through a song’s chorus, lyrics and refrain, Lehrke said.

“That’s what’s going to be really cool about it. The kids are going to do exactly what the adults are doing,” she said.

A mix of cardiovascular conditioning and muscular strength and endurance exercises, including jumping jacks, donkey kicks, kickboxing, light weights, pushups, high-knee jumps and a plank challenge will comprise the workout.

Unlike what Lehrke views as an often competitive sports atmosphere, Fit Kids will offer a non-threatening environment that simply promotes fun and fitness.

“Everybody’s going to come out feeling great,” Lehrke said.

During the sessions, parents are welcome to stay, observe or participate.

Maximum capacity for the program is 40 participants. All participants are asked to bring their own water bottle and sweat towel. Children must be picked up at 5:15 p.m. or a late fee will be charged. To reserve a spot or ask general questions, call the YMCA at 304-242-8086. For program-specific questions, email Lehrke at