Martha Fenton ’83 Fosters Fun Competition with Faculty Workout Program

For over twenty years, Martha Fenton ’83, West Quad North Cluster Dean and Instructor in Athletics, has led a workout program every Tuesday and Friday during fifth period. According to members of the class, the program is a source of light-hearted competition and a fun way to get active on campus.

“It’s a really positive environment. There’s no pressure, there’s no bad competitiveness. It’s only good stuff,” said Midori Ishizuka ’11, Teaching Fellow in History, who attended the class frequently in the fall.

Fenton wanted to begin the program because she found that there were not many opportunities for faculty members to convene outside of classes. The program has attracted faculty and staff from various departments, ranging from the History, Art, and Technology Departments, to library staff members, according to Fenton.

“I looked and saw that we have all of these offerings for students to exercise together in groups but didn’t have a lot of opportunities for faculty and staff to get together and do that. We meet Tuesdays and Fridays from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. I wanted to do it at a time when we could get staff to do it. If you do it early in the morning or in the evening, that allows staff to not arrive or have left campus. I wanted to make sure it was available to all the adult members of the community,” said Fenton.

The workout usually consists of a brief dynamic warm-up along with a few minutes on the treadmill. Fenton will vary the workout day-to-day, but it usually involves a competitive aspect, according to Ishizuka.

Ishizuka said, “We all warm-up on the bikes or on a cardio machine for a few minutes and we do some dynamic stretching. When it’s time to do the actual workout, Martha will explain how it is, which is usually some sort of superset workout, or it will be different circuits with times, or maybe we’ll use a deck of cards and each number or each suit represents a number of reps, or maybe we’ll split into teams.”

According to Fenton, the workouts typically feature varied, high-intensity functional movements similar to those which might be found in the popular training philosophy CrossFit.

Fenton said, “What I do is the same kind of workouts that I do with [ Andover Girls Hockey and Andover Field Hockey] teams and they’re really functional movements. Functional training is sort of crossfit-style workouts. We’ve definitely evolved over the years and used lots of different spaces. We try to go outside when we can, we use the stadium, we just try to do different things all of the time.”

Ishizuka said, “It’s pretty easy to jump in. As with most workouts, you can take it at your level, so if there are weights, you don’t have to lift as heavy,” said Ishizuka.

According to Fenton, there are other faculty workout groups which meet throughout the week, such as faculty/staff basketball on Sundays, indoor soccer club on Wednesday nights, volleyball, and curling.

Fenton said, “It’s people’s efforts to build community. I think for me, that was a big part of why I wanted to [create this program] because we’re a big school with a large faculty and staff and not that many opportunities for people to get together in social settings. I looked at it as an opportunity to get people together to do something that’s healthy but also hopefully fun.”