Vergennes workout ‘Warriors’ persist through pandemic

Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 3:13 PM EDT
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VERGENNES, Vt. (WCAX) - Some older Vermonters in Vergennes are showing their muscles are almost as strong as the bond they’ve formed in their one-hour workout sessions. Scott Fleishman introduces us to the Warriors.

Twice a week, this kettlebell exercise group, average aged 74, meets for an hour. “It’s not easy. It’s not easy. If you start out, you have to build up to it,” explained 82-year-old Janet Seaburg, who joined the group six years ago. That was when the workouts were at Vintage Fitness Studio in Vergennes and she was one of about 200 clients. “At the time, my husband was going through hospice, living at home and this was my escape to some kind of normalcy and it kept me strong.”

When the pandemic forced Vintage Fitness Studio to close permanently last year, Seaburg moved the group to her home. “I have a three-car garage and a big yard and if we can all get together, let’s meet. I didn’t know how many would show up and 16 showed up,” Seaburg said.

“Janet is amazing. It was a sad situation when we had to leave the other facility and she got right on it,” said member Connie Houston.

They named themselves The Warriors and 802 Print created T-shirts and face masks. Seaburg even made magnets for each member of the group with inspirational sayings. “We strengthen each other. One goes down one day and the other lifts them up. It’s a bond that’s just become amazing in this tiny town,” she said.

But last winter, it was the tiny town that came through in an amazing way. When weather forced The Warriors to end outdoor workouts, the members reached out to Linette and Bill Poquette, owners of Comfort Hill Kennel, who offered their 5,000 square-foot training space to rent at a hometown discount. “I thought it was a great idea right away. My first thing is how do we make it work? I’m all for everybody making use of what we have,” Linette said.

“There is no other space like this in Vergennes and it’s just meant a lot to us,” Seaburg said.

The Warriors plan to be back at Seaburg’s property once the weather gets warmer and next winter they’ll be right back at the Comfort Hill Kennel. “Because of the COVID, we’ve actually become closer and we’re more committed than ever to keep this going,” Houston said.

“It’s my life. I mean, I have family and everything, but this keeps me so I can be with my family,” Seaburg said.

When faced with adversity, these older Vermonters used dedication and motivation to come out swinging. It’s what being a Warrior is all about.

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