Pound for Pound

The HHS track team was treated to two workout sessions by Crunch, a local gym in Stanhope.  The program, named “Pound” was first initiated when the boys’ track coach, Mr. Michael Juskus, suggested that an instructor from the gym come to the high school. The instructor, Melissa Towey, was so impressed with the team that she offered the students two free workout sessions.

To mark off the commencement of the 2014 Track & Field season, Juskus began on that Friday, March 7th, with the activity of Pound prepared for his team, along with Towey, the instructor of the Pound classes at Crunch. “At one of my gym sessions, I pulled her (Towey) aside and I said ‘can I hire you,’ and she said ‘absolutely.’” Towey came to the Hopatcong High School, drumsticks in one hand, and her bright, encouraging personality in the other, ready to work with the team and get a good workout that afternoon.

More than one hundred members of the Hopatcong track team participated in this activity, all of them asking for another chance to do Pound with Melissa Towey. After the workout, Towey had some extremely kind words to say about the HHS group. “I think you guys were awesome. You’re energetic, you’re willing to work hard, and  you’re willing to try new things and step out of your comfort zone. A lot of fitness is about that–it’s about trying new things and not being afraid to dive in,” said Towey.

Towey pointed out that the workout would help the team in many ways. “It would be a nice compliment to your training, for the different events you do because there are a variety of hurdles in the workout, and a bit of higher intensity cardio, some strength work, and core work. Every piece of a pound workout is super important to daily life, whether it’s training for track or an adult who is looking to maintain a fitness level so they can continue to pick their child up or lift heavy bags out of the back of the car,” added Towey.

As the HHS Track & Field mimicked Towey’s movements and followed each step, the encouragement and motivation of the team flourished. The excitement was contagious—an excitement that will definitely follow the team into a successful season.

The HHS workout sessions ended up as a sponsorship. According to Juskus, after the first session, Towey was so impressed and overwhelmed with the size and efforts of everybody that she  went back to the boss; the boss said to her: Let’s give them their money back and let’s do the next one for free, and maybe we can do something with them in our national advertising campaign.” According to Juskus, Crunch has sponsored these lessons, because they  were so ecstatic about the school’s efforts and success.

Staying true to these words, Towey came back on March 21st, two weeks later, with another round of Pound. The atmosphere was yet again full of excitement, and the HHS Track & Field team showed their efforts of how much they improved from their previous class, ready as Towey walked through the doors.

As for the national advertising campaign, the gym Crunch will use HHS as one of their faces for their advertisements. Instead of other schools in the area, Crunch has decided that the Hopatcong Track team will be part of the advertisement due to their impressive work and stamina.

The track team demonstrated their best throughout the sessions. Senior, and four year member of the HHS team, Brian Berry, said, “I think it got us more ready for a tough season than any other before.”

Exercise can be difficult and physically demanding on the body, especially for those starting an exercise program after years of being dilatory. For some, just the thought of exercising can cause stress, a constant reminder of doubt and failure from lack of physical endurance. Exercise programs now-a-day advertise heavy duty machines, claiming to give off toned muscles and a stronger core; however, this equipment can cost more than a mortgage. What is needed, is an exercise program that takes the mind off the idea of physical movement, and takes it somewhere besides the fact, and this is exactly what Crunch in Stanhope, New Jersey has done for the HHS team. This gym believes in making imperative exercise fun, blending fitness and entertainment into a program containing results for everybody.

According to Juskus, the concept of Pound, is to get people to work out to music and the sounds of instruments when their hands are busy. “That rhythmic motion of music and creating a tune while working out, believe it or not, takes your mind off of the fact of exercising,” said Juskus.

Coach Peter Oesen agrees. “After I saw the first session, I realized that the program really does work the core,” said Oesen. According to Oesen, strengthening the core is an important aspect of being a better athlete.

“Strengthening your core means strengthening all the muscles that make up our core: your abdominal muscles, the muscles in your back, and your gluteus muscles,” said Oesen. Oesen pointed out that he also enjoyed the incorporation of modern music into the workout.

What does all this have to do with HHS track? As to the team’s future success , as Juskus would say, “There is only one leader, and that’s us.”

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