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TUFFcamp teaches kids to be more active on the playground

  • Gail Maholick/TIMES NEWS Makayla Sabatino and Megan Hauser taste some of the healthy foods during a demonstration of TUFFcamp held at Franklin Elementary School.
    Gail Maholick/TIMES NEWS Makayla Sabatino and Megan Hauser taste some of the healthy foods during a demonstration of TUFFcamp held at Franklin Elementary School.
Published September 14. 2010 05:00PM

For the children at Franklin Elementary School, TUFFcamp (The Ultimate Family Fitness) turned out to be more fun than they anticipated.

First came learning about good foods and tasting them, then came the outdoor fun activities that made the playground a busy and exciting place.

Greg Tymon, TUFFcamp instructor, said that children should be active and that is what TUFFcamp is all about.

Tymon and his helpers brought the The Ultimate Family Fitness camp to school to encourage the children to be more active.

With an outdoor obstacle course and calisthenics, the children got a taste of what TUFFcamp is all about.

"We try to encourage the kinds to engage in physical activity," said Tymon.

Tymon has TUFFcamps established in East Stroudsburg, Stroudsburg, Easton and most recently at the Lehighton Recreation Center.

"We're growing all the time," he said. "The program points out physical activity that is important for everyone, especially kids."

He noted that youths should be physically active at least an hour a day and that adults, at a minimum, should be active at least three times a week for 30 minutes.

"Eating a balanced diet and exercise will make you feel healthier," said Tymon. "Eating well is not enough, you also need to be active."

With TUFFcamp, exercise is as hard or as fast as you want.

"We do things with time limit," said Tymon. "We set a time for about three or four minutes to do an activity. Group activities tend to push you a little, so you tend to get more out of your workout."

Tymon said he is concerned about the youth of today. He noted that one in three children are overweight.

"Outdoor recess is a good way to get kids outside to be physically active," he said.

"Team sports are good to get kids moving," said Chrissy Mayernik, also a TUFFcamp instructor. Mayernik so enjoyed TUFFcamp in the Lehigh Valley that she asked, no begged Tymon to establish a TUFFcamp in Lehighton.

"I've gone from getting excited about TUFFcamp to being a fanatic," said Mayernik. "I've lost 45 pounds and 45 inches. I went from a sedentary lifestyle to being active. I used to eat terrible and now I eat healthy."

TUFFcamp is open Wednesday and Friday nights at 6:30 p.m. at the Lehighton Recreation Center.

"TUFFcamp allows all ages the ability to work out together at the same time," said Tymon. "All fitness levels, moms, dads and kids, can work out together."

Tymon said that he initially began TUFFcamp as a unique way to train triathletes, but the concept has taken off because families wanted to work out together.

The program on the Franklin Elementary School playground had kids hopping, running and jumping. They thought they were just having fun, but Tymon said that most kids don't get near enough exercise without some encouragement from adults.

"We teach how to do sit ups and push ups properly," he said. "I said hats off to a principal who lets us come in and help teach kinds proper nutrition and exercise."

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