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‘Pounding’ out stress and calories just a drumbeat away — call it a dance party with sweat … or perks

By Vicki Prichard
Special to KyForward

After a particularly grueling work week, Epic Wayts could very easily remain mired in the grip of stress; instead, she goes to the gym, armed with a unique set of drumsticks, and pounds out her frustration, doing bother body and psyche a favor.

Wayts, who lives in Southgate, teaches Pound, a fitness program that has garnered its share of media attention from celebrities such as Kelly Ripa and Harry Connick, Jr.

It was recently featured on the NBC series “This is Us,” when actor Chrissy Metz’s character, while aiming to shed some physical pounds, put her uniquely patented drumsticks to use to release some emotional weight as well in a Pound fitness class.

Created by female drummers Kirsten Potenza and Cristina Peerenboom, Pound is a 45-minute fitness class that combines cardio, strength-training, and Pilates with drumming to achieve a full workout. As the music plays, participants use lightly weighted, Pound-patented drumsticks, known as Ripstix, to tap to choreographed exercises.

Pound-designed Ripstix are lightweight exercise drumsticks used during workouts.

Wayts, who drove to Madison, IN to partake in her first class with her aunt, says she was hooked on the fitness program from day one.

“When the class ended I said, ‘This is the best group fitness class I have ever taken in my entire life and I need to know more about it.’”

She decided to become a Pound instructor and be among the first to teach the program in Northern Kentucky. After an eight-hour training program in Mason, OH – taught by a Pound master pro from Los Angeles – Wayts was ready to begin teaching her own classes.

Since June 2016, she’s taught the fitness program to 120 people and says that roughly half of them continue to come to her classes on a regular basis. Her average class size ranges from nine to 13 people, but she’s taught as many as 22 in a class. She says participants represent a broad range in age and state of fitness.

“With Pound, it’s literally for any stage of fitness,” says Wayts. “It doesn’t matter if you work out every single day, or you haven’t worked out in six years; it doesn’t matter if you are 50 pounds or 350 pounds, we can make any modification you need.”

But, she cautions, don’t doubt the impact of the workout. Wayts says a 45 minute class might incorporate anywhere from 250 to 500 squats, with about 15,000 Ripstix strikes to the ground. Class participants will workout to the beat of a music playlist that ranges from the Chain Smokers to Gwen Stefani, and can expect to burn between 750 to 900 calories per class.

“They always say, “That was so much fun – did we really workout for 45 minutes?”” says Wayts. “I tell them, “You will feel it in about an hour.””

Attire for Pound classes generally consists of leggings and tank tops. Wayts says sweatshirts and t-shirts are fine too, but points out that the class is cardio so expect to sweat.

While the workout might have a mighty sound -– sticks pounding, music playing, and sometimes a shout or two to let off steam -– Pound is actually very low impact.

“We have a lot of people who have had knee surgery, or hip surgery, and they can do it because there are so many modifications,” says Wayts.

Wayts says she has taught Pound to people from 12-years-old to 68-years-old.

“My favorite class so far had a Vietnamese woman who came to my class and the next week she brought her husband, her granddaughter, and her brother to class,” says Wayts. “It was like a family reunion. It was so much fun.”

Currently, Wayts teaches Pound in Cold Spring, at Anytime Fitness at 48 Martha Layne Collins Blvd.; in Fort Thomas, at Christ Church, at 15 S. Fort Thomas Ave.; and at Revere Dance Studio at 6435 Revere Ave., in Saylor Park.

She says her classes are the place where people can release whatever they’re holding on to.

“If someone cut you off in traffic today, this is where you let it go. Don’t take it home with you,” Wats says.

As far as her students are concerned, ‘pounding’ out the stress works.

“It’s the greatest workout ever,” says Brandy Edwards Willman. “Great stress reliever.”

And for some, it’s a dance party with perks.

“It’s a workout with drumsticks,” says Katie Riley. “In my opinion, it’s basically a dance party where you get a great workout.”

Vickie Prichard is a reporter for NKyTribune

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