By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News
A bold collaboration between Youth Enrichment and Tulalip Bay CrossFit is seeking to make a significant, perhaps even lifelong, impact in the overall health and wellness of Tulalip youth. That is, those youth who are willing to commit just one hour a day, twice a week to burpee, box jump, assault bike, row machine and push themselves into a strength transformation.
“Our goal is to get our youth into strength and conditioning along with gaining knowledge on nutrition. We hope that by them developing these skills, they then gain access to lifelong health,” said Josh Fryberg. “This is also a cool opportunity to support a local, tribal member owned business. Tulalip Bay CrossFit classes are free for youth grades 6th – 12th thanks to financial support provided by Youth & Family Enrichment.”
It’s no secret that many of our people who live past the age of Tulalip’s 58-year average life span are at high-risk for developing high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Also, not a secret that many in the under 40 age group have a propensity to engage in a lifestyle that’s resulted in diseases of despair (drug overdose, suicide, and alcoholic liver disease) among the Tribe’s leading causes of death.
What is a secret, one often whispered in safe spaces filled with like-minded fitness enthusiasts, is the previously mentioned afflictions are largely preventable. All it takes, wait for it, is self-confidence and a purposeful focus to accomplish long-term goals. That’s it, really? Yes, really. Confidence to decline the social pressures of unhealthy activities in order to sustain a mind and body capable of thriving from functional fitness long into the elder years.
This is where Tulalip Bay CrossFit and this newly created youth-centered class comes in. Because for our 712 teenage Tulalip tribal members, they have so much untapped physical potential and teachable mental elasticity that often they just need a safe environment led by a passionate coach who believes in them to break through their imagined limitations.
“Knowing these moments of accomplishment experienced by the kids eventually turn into memories that fuel them to accomplish more and more is just amazing to me,” said Ananda Pablo, certified CrossFit trainer and coach. “The kids of our community are so adaptable and eager to be active that after the initial shock of actually working out, they make progress so quick as they get adjusted to the CrossFit routines.
“We’re able to offer a convenient spot that’s on the reservation for them to exercise and engage in healthy behaviors,” she added. Ananda and her husband Roy have been co-owners of Tulalip Bay CrossFit since September 2019. “Honestly, the kids motivate me because I get to witness their growth. I watch them do things they previously told me they couldn’t do, and to see their attitude and self-belief soar after they do those things is just phenomenal.”
Participation in CrossFit has become increasingly popular in recent years, and many young people are reaping the benefits of this high-intensity exercise program. Within the familial confines of Tulalip Bay’s box, how those in the CrossFit world refer to their gyms, is a daily changing workout that combines cardiovascular exercise, weightlifting, and gymnastics.
CrossFit focuses on functional movements performed at high intensity that offer the following benefits:
- Improved Physical Fitness: CrossFit is an intense workout that can help young people to improve their physical fitness. The program is designed to improve cardiovascular endurance, strength, flexibility, and overall body composition. Young people who participate in CrossFit can expect to see improvements in their cardiovascular health, muscle strength, and body fat percentage.
- Increased Confidence: CrossFit workouts can be challenging, but they can also be empowering. Young people who participate in CrossFit can gain a sense of accomplishment and self-confidence when they complete a tough workout or achieve a new personal best. This can be particularly important for young people who may be struggling with self-esteem or body image issues.
- Social Support: CrossFit provides a sense of community and social support that can be beneficial for young people. The workouts are often done in a group setting, which can provide a sense of camaraderie and teamwork. This can be especially important for young people who may be struggling to find a sense of belonging or social support in other areas of their lives.
- Improved Mental Health: Exercise has been shown to have positive effects on mental health, and CrossFit is no exception. The high-intensity workouts can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and can provide a natural outlet for negative emotions. Young people who participate in CrossFit may also experience improved self-esteem and self-confidence, which can be beneficial for overall mental health and well-being.
- Healthy Habits: CrossFit can help young people to establish healthy habits and practices that can last a lifetime. The program emphasizes proper nutrition and rest, which are essential for overall health and well-being. By establishing healthy habits early on, young people can set themselves up for a lifetime of health and wellness.
An additional benefit of the Tulalip Bay CrossFit and Youth Enrichment collaboration is the competitive spirit that is summoned during workouts that showcase the girls versus the boys. When functional fitness is the name of the game, the girls can and do win in convincing fashion.
“It’s so important for women to know it’s okay to be strong. Especially during the teenage years, when there are so many social pressures to be skinny and entire marketing campaigns aimed at making them feel inadequate,” explained Ananda. “When it comes to fitness and exercise, skinny is not a strength; strength is strength.
“We want our women and girls to feel empowered, so what better way than to actually develop a power they can feel and use on a daily basis. During these youth classes I’ve witnessed two teenaged girls, Lillyannah and Kyla, become so proud to be strong. I’ve seen them out rope climb the boys and out row the boys. Each time they are motivating and pushing each other to be a little bit better than that time before, and that just so inspiring to me because that’s the beauty of progress,” she continued.
Youth fitness and self-care through exercise are essential for overall health and well-being. Particularly for Tulalip youth, regular physical activity can help to prevent chronic diseases, improve mental health and promote healthy habits and practices. It can be lifechanging for our young people to establish healthy habits early on and to incorporate exercise into their weekly routines.
These Youth Enrichment sponsored Tulalip Bay CrossFit sessions are held on Mondays and Thursdays from 4:00pm – 5:00pm. Sign up today at the Tulalip Youth Campus located at 6700 Totem Beach Road. Get fit. Be strong. Live healthy.