Free workouts 1

Dawn Naples, health promotion specialist at Profile by Sanford, hands an orange donation bag to a gym guest Monday at Fitness for $10. The bags are part of Extra Trimmings, a new donation drive for ECHO Food Shelf featuring 15 area gyms offering free classes and workouts on Thanksgiving and Black Friday in exchange for non-perishable or monetary donations to the nonprofit.

MANKATO — Maintaining a fitness routine during holidays is notoriously hard, so Profile by Sanford and Mankato Clinic came up with a charitable way to promote physical activity on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.

The organizations worked with 15 area gyms to offer classes and workouts for guests Thursday and Friday in exchange for non-perishable food or cash donations to the ECHO Food Shelf.

ECHO Manager Deisy De Leon Esqueda said the community event, known as Extra Trimmings, is a way for folks to do something good for themselves and others at the same time during the hectic holiday period.

“The whole purpose is to get people moving and at the same time to think about others as well in the community,” she said.

Like many other organizations, gyms aren’t usually open on Thanksgiving. Dawn Naples, the event organizer who works as a health promotion specialist at Profile by Sanford, said she was pleased by how many gyms jumped on board for the cause.

“You can attend any of these classes all around town,” she said. “(Most of) these gyms are opening up to non-members.”

She distributed orange bags Monday at Mankato’s Fitness for $10 gym. People who can’t make it to any of the gyms Thursday or Friday can pick up the bags ahead of time, fill them with non-perishables and return them by Monday.

For those who can make it to one of the gyms, they can bring the filled bags to Thanksgiving offerings ranging from specific classes like Zumba at Dance Express, an early bird boot camp at Jo’s Fitness Garage and morning open gyms at Hometown Fitness, Fitness for $10 and Planet Fitness.

The YMCA is putting on a 3-mile run/walk Thanksgiving morning along with classes and open gym, while Kato Crossfit, VINE and Ignition Fitness and Sports will have classes on Black Friday.

The organizers encouraged anyone from seasoned gym rats to newcomers to check out a workout. Dr. Katie Thompson, a family practitioner at Mankato Clinic, said it’s a great chance for people to try a class they’ve never done or for gym regulars to keep up their routines. Thompson will lead a Les Mills barbell aerobic class at YMCA Thanksgiving morning.

“Find something you know you enjoy or use the day to try something new,” she said. “If you have family in town, going in a group could be good to have that support.”

The suggested donation for the workouts is either non-perishable food items or $10 monetary donations. Profile and Mankato Clinic are each donating $1 for every pound of food collected up to 1,000.

Since each pound equals dollars for donations, De Leon Esqueda said heavier donated items like flour bags, canned foods and rice will especially help.

“It’s actually pretty neat,” she said. “There’s definitively a lot of ways to support the food shelf while you’re taking care of yourself.”

The Extra Trimmings Facebook page has a full breakdown of the participating gyms and their class offerings. Monetary donations are also accepted online at

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