Low burpees, planks and kettlebell swings were just a few of the exercises on the menu Nov. 17 during the Earn the Turkey Fitness Challenge at Estep Physical Fitness Center.

Estep PFC regularly hosts these challenges to help people stay motivated along their fitness journey, said Lucy Arvelo, supervisor, Estep PFC.

For the challenge, participants had 10 minutes to complete the exercise routine developed by the PFC’s fitness experts. Competitors were encouraged to do as many sets of the routine as possible within the time frame.

Holly Williams, spouse of an Army retiree, and Maj. Olivia Welch, reservist and Army spouse, both broke a sweat during the workout and pushed past their comfort zones in the gym.

Welch completed one set and started on a second before the timer buzzed. She said she hoped to do more, but the time got away from her.

“If I were to just do a plank it would seem like forever, but that 10 minutes went by really fast,” she said. “I am not new to these kinds of exercises, but they still really challenged me.”

Williams and Welch agreed the final exercise in the set, surrender, was especially difficult.

To complete a surrender, participants stood with their hands behind their head with their elbows wide, and brought their right knee to the ground followed by their left knee, so they were kneeling. Then, while keeping their chest up and squeezing their glutes, they lifted their right foot up and placed it in front of them. Next, they picked their left foot up and brought it forward so they were back in a standing position.

They did several repetitions as part of the set.

Williams said some of the exercises reminded her of CrossFit training she has done in the past.

“I am trying to get back into this kind of exercise to help with my back pain,” she said. “I go to the chiropractor and I am also trying this and running.”

Arvelo, who has been a professional in the fitness industry since the 1980s, said challenges like this are a great way to incorporate variety into a person’s gym routine.

“Say they come in every day and do the treadmill,” she said. “Yes, you are going to see results, but at a certain point you are going to plateau. You aren’t going to gain or lose. When you get your body out of its comfort zone, that’s when it’s going to react.”

She said that is why many people benefit from cross-training.

“They are doing different little exercises and it’s not always the same, so it’s not repetitive,” she said. “These challenges are fun because there is competition.”

Arvelo said she works with other fitness instructors at Estep PFC to incorporate different types of exercise into the fitness challenge routines.

“We put our brains together to come up with the exercises and then we actually do the challenge ourselves to make sure it is a balanced workout,” she said. “We want each exercise to focus on a different muscle group and then have some cardio in there.”

The varied routines also are a way to avoid gym burnout, Arvelo said.

“You don’t want to use the same muscle groups all of the time,” she said. “When people do these challenges it is a reminder that they have other parts of the body and other muscles that don’t get used as often.”

Arvelo said people have come to rely on internet instructors and online platforms for their fitness needs. The perk to attending Estep PFC and working with an instructor in person is that they can ensure all exercises are being completed safely and effectively.

“It is so important to use the correct form,” she said. “We don’t want them to get hurt and we want them to do the exercise correctly so they get the real benefit from it. That’s the difference between watching a video and having a real person here taking care of you and helping you.”

Community members are invited to put themselves to the test with the 12 Days of Christmas Fitness Challenge, 11 a.m.-noon Dec. 15 at Estep PFC, 2270 Kentucky Ave. During this body weight challenge, participants will work through 12 stations all while listening to holiday music. For more information, call 270-798-4023 or 270-798-4664.