Fun, Fitness & Roller Skates: The latest fitness craze rolls into NWI

2013-02-21T00:00:00Z 2013-02-21T16:42:06Z Fun, Fitness & Roller Skates: The latest fitness craze rolls into NWIAshley Boyer
February 21, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Tired of the same workout routine? Looking for a fun way to shed pounds? Then strap on some skates and a funky outfit and head to a Derby Lite: South Shore session. Now available for the first time in Northwest Indiana, this unique workout experience combines roller skating, fun and fitness.

The recreational league was founded by retired roller derby player Barbara “Queen B” Dolan in November 2007 and now comes to the Region as Derby Lite: South Shore, thanks to Ellen “Maeby Rude” Michelin of Merillville and Julie “Machete Page” Bonnema of Griffith. Former roller derby player Bonnema and her friend since college Michelin attended a Derby Lite beginner class in Chicago in January 2012, followed by an intermediate class, and became hooked.

“Every time we left class we talked about how much fun it was and how much we loved it,” says Bonnema. “We just wished we could share this experience with women in Northwest Indiana. When we saw Derby Lite was offering an instructor certification class, we decided this was our chance to bring the class we love to Northwest Indiana.”

Now in its second session, Derby Lite: South Shore offers the same beginner workout as the original Derby Lite. The 90-minute classes run weekly, begin with off-skates dynamic warm-ups, feature on-skates skills and drills combined with upper body strength exercises, and finish with a cool-down period and stretches.

“Derby Lite is a great whole body workout that doesn’t feel like working out at all,” says Michelin. “Derby Lite built me up gradually, using a progressive curriculum.”

Those who never learned to skate or have not been on skates for some time need not worry. The session begins with the fundamentals and safety is an essential component to the class. “On the first day of class, we will start teaching you what you need to be a safe and effective skater no matter your past skating experience,” explains Michelin.

“We start with the basic skating skill and learn how to stop and fall safely,” adds Bonnema, “Safety is very important to us.”

The advantages of this fun workout are numerous. Not only have both women lost weight since beginning Derby Light nearly one year ago, 60 pounds for Michelin and 30 pounds for Bonnema, but their fitness level has increased. “I've noticed changes in my strength, balance, agility and endurance,” says Bonnema.

In addition to the physical benefits, both women agree Derby Lite is a great way to meet new friends in a positive and supportive environment. “I enjoy meeting other women from every background imaginable,” admits Michelin.

Thinking of joining a session? The ladies offer advice for first-timers. “Wear comfortable clothes and come to class ready to have fun and get sweaty,” advises Bonnema.

“Bring a positive attitude about yourself and your abilities, and be ready to have fun!” adds Michelin.

Classes take place weekly on Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Black Hawk Arena, 7331 Mallard Lane, Schererville. Derby Lite’s winter session is already underway, but registration for the spring session will be available soon on Visit their Facebook page at

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