Women’s Fitness Club kicks up self-esteem

Endorphins were in the air at West Hill Collegiate on Oct. 18, as nine women got psyched up at the start of a new season for the indoor Women’s Fitness Club.

The club, starting its second year, is a division of Scarborough’s Just For Kicks Soccer Club, best known for its programs that cater to younger athletes.

Mary Fidilio, also known as Coach Mary, greeted both familiar faces and newcomers. After welcoming the ladies, Fidilio led them in a basic muscle stretch while telling them to engage their minds.

“You have to listen to your body,” Fidilio said. “This is about you.”

During the warmup, each player introduced herself while sharing her soccer skill level with the group. With women age 18 to 55 and skill sets from beginner to intermediate, it was clear the purpose of the club was not competition.

The club has two groups that run on the weekends. This objective of the two groups is to give the women a chance to get fit without the intimidation of working out in a gym. Group one meets each Sunday at West Hill CI at 11:00 am, and Group two meets Saturdays beginning Nov. 14 at Francis Libermann CS at 1:30 p.m.

“I think that for women, we get kidnapped by life responsibilities,” said Fidilio who explained that leading by example is part of inspiring the women to participate.

Fidilio can relate to the women’s situations. Once a robust 237 pounds and plagued by chronic injuries, she said she felt there was a market out there for women who needed a place to get active without being stereotyped. After shedding 75 pounds, she says she needed to give back to the community and make a difference. After pitching the idea to the club’s chief executive officer, Nick Voronka, the coach began planning out classes. Filidio says she mainly uses her imagination in the planning process, while catering to the needs of the women.

Losing anywhere from 6 to 20 pounds, the ladies rally around Fidilio each season, bringing girlfriends along with them.

“To think that I’ve been able to share my own life lessons and make a difference other people’s lives … the first summer was really emotional for me,” said Fidilio who was touched by the support she received.

The first class of the season was a success as Coach Mary continued to offer positive reinforcement, telling one self-proclaimed beginner she was underestimating herself.

“We know what to do, we’re not idiots,” Fidilio said. “We just need to commit.”

Passing drills, and kicking techniques were covered before the women began a four-on-four scrimmage. Positive reinforcement was also encouraged, with phrases such as “Man on”, “Good job” and “Nice try” being heard.

“It’s like a sisterhood,” Fidilio said. “It’s so rewarding in so many ways for me.”

After 90 minutes of blood-pumping cardio, smiles and laughter rang through the gymnasium as the ladies packed up, thanking Coach Mary and looking forward to next week’s class.

The Women’s Fitness Club indoor season runs until May, and registration is still available for Group one at $140, Group two at $130, or both groups for $180. To find out how to join, visit just4kickssoccer.com.

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