ROCKINGHAM — “The more you put in, the more you get out.”
That’s the motto of Creeta Grace, a Richmond County resident who teaches a women’s fitness team that meets every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Leak Street High School gymnasium.
Grace works at the FirstHealth Center for Health and Fitness, where she teaches water aerobics. She also teaches a line-dancing class at the Hive Recreation Center in Rockingham and is an instructor at South Piedmont Community College in Anson County.
The fitness team’s regimen ranges from kickboxing and weightlifting to ab workouts and cardio. Grace said there are usually between 15 and 20 women who show up for each class.
Seventeen were in attendance Wednesday night, including Venieca White of Hamlet. White won the Fayetteville Fitness Group’s local adaptation of television’s “The Biggest Loser” back in April after losing 43 pounds in three months. Altogether, White said she’s lost 78 pounds.
Grace said a dedicated member, Maxine Ross, wasn’t able to attend the Wednesday workout because she’s in the hospital. Ross, a diabetic in her early 60s, no longer needs her diabetes medication after joining the group and starting to get in shape, Grace said.
Several women in the group who attend the Thursday session are cancer survivors, Grace said. They use the workouts as a way to stay healthy and remain active.
“You can see total transformation in them,” Grace said of her fitness team members. “They’re awesome.”
Ladies refer to Grace’s assistant coach, Terri Mack, as “No Mercy” for her drive to push members toward their peak performance. Even in a humid gym in the middle of the summer, the women push themselves to their limits to help build muscle and tone their bodies.
They start by walking laps around the court to get warmed up and then move onto a cardio workout back and forth across the gym floor. After that, they work with small weights in different routines. Grace yells words of encouragement as they count down their repetitions.
To finish up, the women perform exercises set to music that resemble dance moves.
All of this is done in a hour, but coaches and team members said the workouts are intense.
“In these conditions, they stay on it,” said Grace, “because they know the benefits of it.”
Reach reporter Matt Harrelson at 910-997-3111, ext. 18.