January 27, 2022 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Passion for fitness inspires Hixson’s JustBfit class

Brenda Hixson likes to help people be fit.

Hixson created a fitness program that meets at St. Joseph Grade School called JustBfit.

Hixson used her own love of fitness as inspiration for the class.

“I love to workout before my day starts in the office,” she said.

Hixson works at the University of Illinois and likes to exercise before work to get her body and mind ready for the day. She also loves people so creating a fitness program was a no-brainer.

“It has really grown,” she said.

The class, which usually has 20 people, lasts for eight weeks and meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5:30 a.m.

“Working out with people helps me stay motivated and challenged so it inspires me to keep it up,” she said.

Lacey Holman has participated in the group for five years.

Holman said getting a full body workout done in 45 minutes is a great way to start the day and her favorite part of the group are the people in it.

“(My favorite part is) working out with a great group and motivated instructors,” she said.

 Micki McGuire Suits agrees that the instructors are motivated.

“(There are) great leaders and a group that totally supports and motivates each other,” she said. “Brenda is a beast and so motivating.”

Maghen Hale said she loves working out in the morning so she can relax after work.

“I absolutely hate doing it after work now,” she said.

Meagan Stenzel has participated in the class for more than three years.

Stenzel said the class helps her make sure she gets a workout in.

“I’m not a morning person, but I knew it was the only time I would actually fit in a workout,” she said. “Evenings are too busy and I make too many excuses after work.”

Stenzel said it was originally difficult going to a class so early in the morning but she is seeing the benefits.

“But now it’s just routine,” she said. “The class has definitely added more activity to my life that I wouldn’t do otherwise, and I love not feeling so out of shape all the time. I’m not super fit by no means, but I got some muscles.”

Hixson said she works to keep the workout challenging and not boring. She changes the routine and the areas of the body the classes focuses on.

She also has the class focus on strength and core on Mondays, cardio and core on Wednesdays and boot camp on Fridays. Hixson’s two co-instructors, Diane Griswell and Julie Mumm, help her with ideas and setup.

 “It isn’t easy being up and ready to take on and motivate a group of people at 5:30 a.m., but we get it done,” Hixson said.

 Jamie Painter has participated in the class for four years and agrees that working out with a group in the morning helps her stay motivated.

“Going early starts the day in a positive way and if I waited until after work, I would talk myself out of going because of a million excuses,” she said.

Painter said the encouragement and friendships she has formed are the best part of the group.

Lynn Christian Hardimon, who has belonged to the group for five years, agrees.

“I have a lot of great friendships from this group and we have great instructors,” she said.

Hardimon said she enjoys working out in the morning.

“I find it gives me more energy throughout the day,” she said.

Debbie Martinez agrees that workout in the morning sets a positive tone for the day.

‘Getting up and getting it done first thing makes for no excuses and feeling great the rest of the day, said Martinez, who has participated in the group for a year. “Group activity keeps me accountable.”

Hixson said the group keeps her accountable as well.

“The group is fantastic and fun,” she said.   “It’s a challenge, I love how we encourage one another and keep each other accountable.”

Hixson is planning another fun and challenging event. The second Santa 5K run and walk will take place on Dec. 21.

Each runner will receive a Santa hat and beard and a red race shirt to wear during the race. Runners will also receive a medal.

More information can be found here.

For more information on the JustBfit class contact Hixson on Facebook.

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