Project SWEAT offers free adult fitness training

PUMP IT UP — Bridgton Rec Director Gary Colello poses with the workout equipment used at a new free fitness-training program at Town Hall on Tuesdays called Project SWEAT. As a trained fitness instructor, Colello provides individual guidance to participants in using the weights, ropes, TRX straps, agility ladder and Bosu Balls in order to strengthen specific muscle groups. (Geraghty Photo)

PUMP IT UP — Bridgton Rec Director Gary Colello poses with the workout equipment used at a new free fitness-training program at Town Hall on Tuesdays called Project SWEAT. As a trained fitness instructor, Colello provides individual guidance to participants in using the weights, ropes, TRX straps, agility ladder and Bosu Balls in order to strengthen specific muscle groups.
(Geraghty Photo)

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

Bridgton’s Rec Director, Gary Colello, believes in the power of New Year’s resolutions. That’s why he’s chosen January as the startup month for a new, free, strength-training program that he will lead called Project SWEAT.
The acronym stands for Strength, Winning Attitude, Endurance, Agility and Toning, all brought together into a 45-minute, high-energy, music pumping class. Whatever your fitness goals or present level of physical activity, Colello wants to work with adults to help them lead a more active, healthy life.
And while many people will use almost any excuse to break their New Year’s resolutions, Colello has made sure no one can say they don’t have the money to sign up for the new program.
That’s because it’s free.
“Hopefully we can attract enough people to keep the classes going,” Colello said. He said more and more municipal recreation programs are responding to the need to offer ways for adults to become more active. While jumping into an exercise program like Jumping Janes might feel too intimidating for some adults, Project SWEAT fits the bill because it offers a graduated way to improve strength and agility, he said. An energetic group of about 10 people showed up when the workouts began Jan. 6, and Colello hopes the numbers will grow as word about the new rec offering spreads.
The main class will be offered Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall on North High Street, which is where most of the town’s rec offerings take place. He is also offering noon “lunchtime” classes, a 30-minute workout on Wednesday and a 45-minute workout on Thursday.
The Tuesday class will be ongoing until mid-March. He plans to reassess the lunchtime classes after around a month to see if there’s enough support to have them continue.
Colello spent his first year on the job in Bridgton making sure all of the town’s existing rec programs were running smoothly. But from the start, he’s been passionate about fitness training, owing to his background as a sports fitness and conditioning trainer. Before coming to Bridgton he worked three years in that capacity for the SAD #17 School District, and was a track coach and summer camp director.
Participants in Project SWEAT will use weights, training ropes, agility ladders, TRX straps and Bosu Balls, set up at different stations around the gym for their cardio workout. The classes will be small enough to allow for individualized attention; and all levels of physical fitness will be accommodated.
Walking With Ease
NW 39 project SWEATBut because he knows some people might feel intimidated with a full cardio workout, Colello plans to offer another free program geared for the older crowd. “Walking With Ease” will be offered on Thursdays at 10 a.m., pending $4,000 in grant funding from the Arthritis Foundation. Selectmen gave the go-ahead for the program on Tuesday.
Colello said the money will pay for instructor training in the group walking program, which includes a series of warm-up and cool-down exercises. The instructor will work with participants on individual goals as the group follows a proscribed walking route around Stevens Brook Elementary School and playground. The Arthritis Foundation also has a useful online tool that participants can use to track their progress and set goals.
Pickleball rules
Colello said another new rec offering, Pickleball, has really “picked up quite a head of steam” since the program was begun in September, and now has a committed group of enthusiasts who have asked for more nights. A racquet sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis, one and a half-hour Pickleball sessions are now being offered four times a week — at noon Mondays, 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays, 4:30 p.m. Thursdays and noon Fridays.
The enthusiasm for Pickleball in Bridgton mirrors the success that Casco and Harrison has also had with introducing the sport as part of the town’s recreational offerings.

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