Let’s get fit, ladies

With food services director leading the way, women shape up in OHS weight room

DEWAYNE MCFADDEN, the food services director at Ozaukee High School, is the vocal leader of a women’s fitness program that meets twice weekly in the school’s weight room. “They’re training themselves, and I’m just their guide,” said McFadden, an avid body builder. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press staff

The weight room at Ozaukee High School in Fredonia has become a happening spot for local women seeking to get into shape after organizers began a community fitness program in December.

Jim Lippe, the school’s head football coach, said his team has been running the weight room for about nine years, but he wanted to get mothers of the players involved to encourage more participation.

“The theory behind it was if moms could come in to work out, then it would get more football players to workout,” Lippe said. “I bounced the idea to run a class for women back in December because I wanted more people in the community to work out.

“Now, we not only have moms of football players, we have all kinds of community members and retired ladies.”

The class meets from 5 to 7 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays. Participants pay $4 per session.

Dewayne McFadden, the school’s food services director, leads the fitness classes. He said the program began with three women and is now seeing a regular attendance of 14 to 16 residents per session.  

“I can’t make you work out and I can’t get you in shape — that’s lesson No. 1. You have to get yourself in shape, that’s what I learned over the years,” McFadden said.

“They’re training themselves, and I’m just their guide.

“Gyms tell you that they will get you in shape by a certain time, but it’s really up to you.”

McFadden, 61, is an avid body builder who once trained to be a mixed martial arts fighter. He said he frequents the weight room after school to work out with football players and was approached by Lippe to run the community fitness program.

“He may be the strongest 60-year-old man I’ve seen in my life. He’s a beast,” Lippe said.

“He’s a great trainer and a hard worker. It’s quite a unique experience to see the school cook running a fitness class.”

According to the organizers, the classes are an economical way to use the fitness center for a group of people who historically would never use it.

“The women used to be intimidated by the weight room because they were used to going to health clubs and hopping on an exercise bike, treadmill or elliptical, but they didn’t know how to lift weights and train,” Lippe said.

The fitness class focuses on using proper technique and stretches for weight training.

“We don’t do aerobics or anything like that, we do more weight training and stretching that involves working your abs, back, chest and legs,” McFadden said.

“We never tell them what we’re going to be working on that day to keep it a surprise.”

McFadden also shares his knowledge as a chef to offer healthy nutrition advice to the ladies.

“One of the things I ask them is not only what they eat, but also what they’re drinking. Everybody is different; some bodies might take water in just fine while others will hold it,” he said. “There are a lot of things they didn’t even know about health, like eating and sleeping. As you get older, the body begins to change, and a lot of things you used to do when you were young aren’t as easy, like sit-ups.”

McFadden said the women take his lessons to heart. To show their appreciation of his training, one of the members made shirts for the entire class that say “We love Dewayne.”

McFadden said it’s important to build camaraderie among the participants in order to have a support system. After each workout, the ladies select a member who they feel worked the hardest during the session or who has shown the greatest improvement.

“At the end of each session, we talk and cheer each other on. We recognize who did the most in the session and we all give each other high fives,” McFadden said.

“It helps lift their spirits and motivates the women during their workout.”

McFadden said he is noticing results in all the participants and is impressed with their willingness to follow directions.

Lippe is also impressed with the turnout and appreciates the women using the fitness center.

“It’s taken on a life of its own. They keep expanding and doing new things,” Lippe said.

“I’m fired up the room is being used even more. The best part is seeing them having a lot of fun.”  

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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