Uncorked Half Will Help All RVA Residents 'Keep It Moving'
The Keep It Moving community fitness initiative is the official event charity of the Uncorked Half on May 6, and helps hundreds of area residents get active and prepare for events throughout the year through income-based training programs. Check out this Q&A with Candace Benn, who will lead pre-race yoga sessions at the Uncorked Half. Candace is a graduate of the Fitness Warrior program, another initiative of Keep It Moving.
SB: What has your Fitness Warriors experience been like?
Candace Benn: The Fitness Warrior program allowed me to step out of my comfort zone with regards to fitness and meet other Warriors and class participants of all fitness levels and backgrounds. My experience as a Fitness Warrior has been full of fulfillment, positivity, and personal growth.
SB: What have the benefits been for you and for the people who take your classes?
CB: So far I have experienced numerous benefits from my Fitness Warriors involvement. It has given me confidence to use my skills to help others, and given me and my husband, Jason, a fellow Fitness Warrior, the confidence to start our own fitness-related business, Fit By Benns. I have also gained skills in community organizing and the Fitness Warriors program has provided numerous opportunities to partner with community groups and projects that are focused on improving the health and wellness of fellow residents.
The program has also given me plenty of self love and self confidence. Before finding the Fitness Warrior program, I had a solid workout plan and had lost over 50 pounds in less than a year. Then, in 2014, my mother passed away from cancer and as I grieved over her loss, I slowly gained some of the weight back. When I got involved with the Fitness Warriors, the program gave me the opportunity and motivation to get back on track and dedicate my efforts to my mother and my family.
I teach a Cardio Circuit class at the Hopewell Community Center every Wednesday, and I call my class attendees my ‘Fit Family.’ They often express how great they feel since they started taking part in our classes. My Fit Family members are dedicated, and they work hard during our sessions. Class participants have a wide variety of skill and experience levels and range from children all the way to older adults. They often let me know they enjoy coming to class each week and that gives me the confidence and inspiration to keep working for them.
SB: You’ll be leading yoga sessions at the Uncorked Half. How did you get involved with yoga?
CB: I found yoga at a time when I was tired of the weight that I had gained after having my children. I was really struggling to find an exercise that didn’t hurt. I went from being very active as a child and adult to being fatigued and living a sedentary life. I decided to try a hot yoga class and eventually fell in love with it. I felt great after each class and enjoyed it so much that I decided to get my certification.
SB: What can Uncorked Half participants expect from your pre-race yoga session?
CB: My teaching staple is gentle yoga. The participants can expect a gentle yoga session for runners that will stretch the muscles, increase flexibility, and offer focus for a great run!
CB: The confidence and fitness knowledge that my husband and I gained from Fitness Warriors allowed us to finally move forward and build our fitness business, Fit By Benns. We are a mobile fitness company bringing fitness and yoga classes to groups, community organizations, breweries, wineries, and parks. Our goal is to make fitness fun! We also offer private yoga classes and personal training.
SB: Donations from Uncorked Half participants will go towards Keep It Moving and help supplement the cost of income-based training teams. How important is it to create fitness opportunities for people in all corners of the Richmond region?
CB: I feel it is important to create fitness programs that are accessible to everyone. Many residents live in areas that lack access to daily fitness opportunities, and the free classes that Fitness Warriors offer in schools, churches, and community centers aim to create these opportunities on a regular basis. Building programs that encourage and motivate residents to get active and provide a safe place for activity is important to fight chronic issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. The income-based training teams do a great job of getting more people involved in local fitness events like marathons, half marathons, and 8k and 10k races and provide guidance and support to achieve their goals. Overall, programs like this help make Richmond a vibrant, active place to live!
Visit www.sportsbackers.org for more information on the Uncorked Half and the Keep It Moving initiative. On race day, enter a raffle with Keep It Moving for $5 and you’ll be entered to win a $50 gift card to Can Can Brasserie, a $50 gift card to Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa, a $30 gift card to Om On Yoga, and a bottle of wine thanks to New Kent Winery!