The morning Macho Dads workout class at the YMCA at Gothenburg Health came about simply as a way to stay accountable to exercise.
“When the YMCA first opened, Jason Wagner and I decided we would start going in to exercise during the mornings,” said local attorney Colten Venteicher. “I told him if he held me accountable to consistently go at 6 a.m., I would come up with the workouts. Within a couple of weeks, we had a group of 5-6 guys and have continued to recruit ever since.”
YMCA Executive Branch Director Julie Czochara put the class on the group exercise schedule and called it Macho Dads. It’s open to any man of any age.
“We typically have a group of 6 or 7 and can have as many as 10 when the whole regular crew comes,” Colten said. “We are definitely open to newcomers. You can do these workouts as a 20-something or a 60-something. When I was in Omaha, we had a group of 60-year-olds doing similar workouts, so no excuses!”
Scott France, 62, has exercised with the group since April of this year and enjoys the camaraderie with the other guys.
“We show up early, work hard, leave tired and have some laughs while we’re working,” Scott said. “There is no judging.”
Scott said the group makes him push himself more than if he worked out on his own, and it makes “exercise something to look forward to.”
The class meets on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 6-6:45 a.m. On Mondays and Wednesdays, workouts include a mixture of circuit and high-intensity interval training, and they play basketball on Fridays.
Colten said the class encourages men to “be comfortable showing up to the gym to work out with no judgment and to leave and go about their day feeling better about the physical shape they are in.”
The benefits of the class have included more energy for life and smaller waistlines, as many Macho Dads have had to make shopping trips to buy smaller clothes.
“For me personally, I’m not winded when playing with my kids,” Colten said. “I think that speaks to not only current health and happiness, but to longevity as well.”
Colten is an Omaha native, and his wife, Tabitha, is originally from Gothenburg. They have three young children: June, 4; John, 1; and Ada, 2 months.
In addition to better health, the Macho Dads group also has its social benefits. After their 45-minute workout, they enjoy 15 minutes of coffee time in the cafeteria before heading out for their days.
“I’ve had a great time getting to know the guys,” Colten said. “We are a tight-knit group, and we often enjoy each other’s company outside of the workouts.”