FARMINGTON - Fitness, well-being and weight loss generally tops New Year's resolution lists. The key to fulfilling a resolution may be exercising in a group dynamic with classes like Ring the Bell Fitness.

Ashley Drobney, 35, leads the Ring the Bell Fitness classes offered via Farmington Community Education.

"I generally gear the workouts for what the group wants and if the group really likes cardio and endurance type workouts, then they will get a little more of that," Drobney said. "But I certainly like to cater it to the group so I do listen to the feedback."

Steve Gifford, 46, of Farmington offered testimony that he's witnessed the benefits of group exercising after he began working out on day one last October.

Describing himself as fairly athletic, Gifford volunteered to coach sports teams. He wanted to support his four children who have fun competing in sports, but now this class is a time for him to personally seek greater health and fitness.

"It is nice to find something that gives you that good feeling about everything," Gifford said. After two months he said he feels stronger, more fit and toned and has lost 12 pounds in the past two months, 20 pounds total.

"Ashley is the head coach or trainer and she is really good at modifying exercises if you are not comfortable with the way it is laid out," he said.

Gifford said the class is fun and the group is friendly. The class is not a huge competition.

"We welcome anyone with open arms and we are all helping and encouraging," he said.

Ring the Bell Fitness

Ring the Bell Fitness was founded by Eric Myran, a retired Minnesota teacher, who taught in the Byron area and served as an instructor for fitness classes called Kraze. Myran began partnering with community education at different high schools and today the adult fitness program is offered in 17 schools across the state, Drobney said.

The adult enrichment classes are a partnership with Ring the Bell Fitness and Farmington Community Education. Participants can take classes three times a week and begin at 5 a.m. at Farmington High School.

As a fitness instructor, Drobney finds reward in a career that leads adults to discover how seeking greater physical health through fitness can enhance their lives, minds and strengthen their body.

"You come in the door and we do warm-ups and we do some sort of calisthenics for five to 10 minutes, we stretch out and I explain the workout written for the day," Drobney said. "I will make sure that people are continuing to move safely and that there movements are appropriate and are made with speed and intensity. I will push them and make sure they are working as hard as they can."

New to fitness, veteran athletes

"We are very community driven and we have that kind of philosophy that no one is left behind," Drobney said. "It becomes a very close knit group and people really look forward to seeing each other and they look forward to suffering through workouts together."

With the elevated, indoor track at the high school, the facility serves as a perfect venue for the classes. Athletes can use exercise bikes, elliptical machines and have access to the training room.

"I call them athletes because that is one of the mindsets that we have when you walk in the door," Drobney said. "I personally love new athletes or people who are just trying to get back into shape."

For nine years, Drobney worked as a physical therapist assistant and admitted she liked working with the elderly population.

"I noticed at that time that a lot of things they were dealing with could have been prevented if they had been taught how to properly keep their bodies strong," Drobney said. "Inactivity in general is not good but if I could give any advice going into the New Year it would be to work toward building small steps."

To sign up for classes, visit Farmington Community Education's website or www.ringthebellfitness.com.