The halls of Magnolia Elementary School in Oakdale seem to be eerily closing in on 10-year-old student Brayden Abel, but it’s just Abel’s growing shoulders creating the illusion.
Abel is one of 35 local youths involved in crossfit classes at Fitness Plus in Oakdale, located on South Yosemite Avenue. He was a runner-up at both the freestyle and folkstyle state wrestling tournaments last year, but a vigorous workout plan with Fitness Plus owner/trainer Bryan Ching is making state gold seem closer than those Magnolia hallways.
“I can see a big difference from last year to this year, especially in his strength,” Brayden’s mother, Julie Abel said during a recent class. “He picks up kids his own weight easily and he pulls and pushes them around.
“He just powers through other kids.”
The explosive strength is a byproduct of intense exercises Abel has undergone three days a week since joining Fitness Plus in August of last year. He joins another 14 youths on a weight training class for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while Ching also leads another 20 students in a Fit for Life program on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Despite the intense and invaluable training, the classes require a modest fee of just $20 a month. They come with specialized instruction and hands-on guidance from both Bryan and his wife, Corrine Machado-Ching.
“I really enjoy doing it and I think it is real important,” Ching said. “There is a need for kids to learn how to train correctly and make it a lifestyle, so when they get older they can be healthy.”
The classes focus on proper footwork, bolster agility and emphasize the importance of good technique in every exercise. Ching said while he hopes for the type of results Abel has shown, he maintains the old adage of getting what you put into something.
“I’m not into the fads, I am into what really works,” Ching said.
That is evident in the athletic and powerful routines the youths show, from a quick shimmy up the rope by Faalia Martinez (a successful girls wrestler) to some stunning vertical box jumps by Joshua Jacobson.