Train Your Trainer fundraiser benefits Special Olympics


Michelle McCool had a knee replacement a year and a half ago and then started going to Anytime Fitness in Seymour to try to get more mobility.

The trainers there had her do beginning exercises since she had very limited mobility, and they gradually changed up her routine.

All the while, they were encouraging her as much as possible.

On Thursday night, she had an opportunity to step into their shoes. She was the encourager, and they were the ones doing a workout.

For the Train Your Trainer fundraiser, she made a donation to Special Olympics Indiana Jackson County to allow her to create a 10-minute workout for her three trainers, Michael Powell, Mitch Hunnicutt and Braden Neal.

“I felt really good to get in there and to encourage them like they encourage me, but it’s just a little bit of a get-back because I’ve planned this for two weeks of telling them, ‘You remember, I’m training you, so you better take it easy on me,’” McCool said, smiling.

McCool, fellow members who donated and the trainers all felt good knowing they were helping a good local cause.

“Last year, they did the Christmas giving tree, and I just think it’s important to support the community in the holiday season for those who don’t have a lot, and so I used the money that I usually support the angel tree with to support them (for Train Your Trainer),” she said. “It was a lot of fun.”

Anytime Fitness hosted Train Your Trainer in 2019, 2020 and 2021, each year benefiting Special Olympics, a not-for-profit organization that provides year-round sports training and athletic competition for people with intellectual disabilities ages 8 and up. State and local fundraisers are conducted throughout the year to keep the program free for athletes to participate.

With the gym starting under new ownership a year ago, Train Your Trainer was paused. This year, it was important to bring it back.

“They gave us the green light in September this year,” General Manager Andrew Carpenter said. “Obviously, we worked with Special Olympics of Jackson County before, so we love them, we know they need it, so that’s the driver. I think it’s a great event, and we love that the clients get to see ‘Hey, we can go through what we teach, put you guys through.’ That’s a good benefit of it.”

The hope is it motivates other people, he said.

“People that are maybe coming in doing the same old thing, maybe try other things,” he said. “The biggest thing is we want to give back. That’s part of our heart of Anytime Fitness. We want to be able to give back. Picking this event has always been successful, so we wanted to stick with that route. The members enjoy it, too. They ask for it. The year we didn’t do it, they were asking for it.”

The participants were Carpenter, Powell, Hunnicutt, Neal, Cass Sharpe and Assistant General Manager Maycee Hahn.

For an hour, they were put through workouts designed by clients in 10-minute increments.

This was Hahn’s second time to participate.

“I’ve been actually participating in our coaching program actively to try and prepare. I’ve been jumping in the sessions with the clients during the week. I really love doing it,” she said. “I think also, this event gives a lot of people that want to contribute to the community, they don’t know how, but we help them get their hand in the door of like, ‘Hey, this is the kind of stuff that you can do.’”

Carpenter was back participating after serving as emcee during the last Train Your Trainer in 2021.

“Mentally, you’ve just got to go,” he said. “Once I start, I’m good. But leading up to it is kind of like, ‘Hey, we know they come to put us to work,’ so mentally, we’ve got to be ready, and you’ve just got to go in and be ready to do it, whatever they give us.”

Carpenter said he trains differently, and in the years past, he has joined the team sessions like Hahn did this year to be ready for Train Your Trainer.

“This year, it kind of snuck up on me, so I feel like I was in OK shape, but I could have been probably more physically fit,” he said, smiling.

To get through it, both said they made sure to stay hydrated and eat enough calories.

In the end, they had completed a good workout and helped a good cause, raising more than $1,500 for the local Special Olympics program.

“It’s super rewarding,” Hahn said.

“The people that are participating and giving their own dollars, they are doing it out of love,” Carpenter said. “They want to help the community and help the event.”

Along with Trainer Your Trainer, Anytime Fitness is doing the Christmas giving tree again this year. They adopted a family of seven and have paper tags on a tree inside the gym at 840 E. Tipton St. for people to take, buy the item and return it to be wrapped and delivered.

“Members can grab names or nonmembers even can come in and grab them, bring the gift back with the name tag and then we’re going to look at it, make sure it’s the right item, wrap it and then on Dec. 15, we’re going to deliver all of it,” Carpenter said.

If that goes well, they may be able to help another family and put new paper tags on the tree.

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