Thursday, March 25, 2010

Class #48 Sculpt Thursday 1:00 p.m. (Sheffield)

The story today isn’t as much about the class as the teacher. Sheffield Duke has officially been teaching at the LRAC for longer than anyone else on staff. In fact, her tenure as a teacher pre-dates even my involvement with the Club (I started here in 1985) going all the way back to 1983 when, as she put it, “it was the Westside Tennis Center and out in the middle of nowhere!” Back then, she says, she was teaching school and had no children. Today she has two daughters, Sheffield Duke, age 24 and Riley Duke, 23.

The amazing thing is that Sheffield looks the same as when I first saw her 25 years ago. She is a living, breathing testament to the benefits of staying active, eating right and whenever possible selecting from a good gene pool.

Sheffield tells me that while she’s been at the Club she’s taught everything on the schedule except Step, Yoga or Pilates – that makes for LOTS of classes that she has taught. When Anne Piazza left, in 1994, Sheffield took over the renowned Pryme Tyme group and taught those classes for eleven years.

Sheffield with Pryme Tyme group in mid '90's

These days, Sheffield teaches a Sculpt class on Thursday (the one I took today) and an Aerobics class on Fridays (I may take that tomorrow). Outside of the Club, Sheffield is an Activities/Volunteer Coordinator at Pleasant Hills Senior Living Community. My guess is that one of the activities she coordinates for the good folks living at Pleasant Hills is something akin to a Sculpt class….maybe not as hard as the one we did today.

Sheffield Duke

In class today, Sheffield worked us over using a “body bar” (weighted bar), hand weights, an elastic strap thingy and a step bench. She put us through the requisite litany of squats, lunges, bicep curls, tricep extensions, chest presses, shoulder presses, flys, shoulder raises, planks, ab crunches of all varieties and flavors and lots of other stuff. It wears me out just to write about it. It was a good workout and I was happy to make it through without whining.

As you would expect from someone this experienced, Sheffield is an excellent instructor. She gives good cues, is continually encouraging while urging everyone to do just a little bit more. She stays in complete command of the class and is cheerful on top of that. It’s the mark of a professional to teach something for the 1,000th time and yet make it fresh and vital. Good job Sheffield!

Sheffield teaching a class

As we near the end of the week on this Spring Break, the Club is much more deserted than usual – still there are ten in Sheffield’s class today. As fate would have it, I’m the only guy. The lucky winner of the $25 gift certificate is Gina Terry.

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