Sports, fitness, and community

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First Posted: 3/27/2014

For the first time in the area, there will be a weekend and a place dedicated to all things fitness and sports.

Love BMX? Interested in trying out the newest workout craze? In need of someone to help you with sports injuries? Want to see some awesome karate demonstrations?

The NEPA Sports and Fitness Expo, happening April 12 and 13 at the Wyoming Valley Sports Dome, has all that and more.

“Every time you go to a trade show, it’s so boring,” said Mike Bazadona of NEPA Event Pros, who organized the show. “I would hear people asking other people around here, ‘Hey where do you take this class? Where do you go to do this?’ so I wanted to create one place where you can come and check all these things out at once.”

The NEPA Sports and Fitness Expo offers that in spades. The $8 admission price not only gives attendees a chance to talk to various local businesses, but it also allows them to give the services they have to offer a shot.

“Maybe you’ve always wanted to do a Zumba class, Pilates class, hula hoop class,” Bazadona listed. “Well now you can try it.”

Throughout both days, there will be several types of classes offered, from spin class to yoga, and there are many events going on inside the dome. The West Side Starz Cheer & Dance team will put on a cheerleading showcase, and three bike organizations have teamed up for a BMX freestyle competition.

Attendees can also watch the U.S. Air Force Fitness Throwdown, a two-day event in conjunction with NEPA CrossFit. On Saturday, there will be an Individual Competition with four events, and on Sunday, there will be a Team Competition with four other events.


You know you’re in for a unique time when you head to a yoga studio that goes by the name of Lotus Pug Yoga.

“Oh, everyone always asks about the name,” said owner Miranda Russell with a laugh.

Russell has a pug named Miso (yes, like the soup) that she wanted to incorporate into her photography business. When she was searching for a photo of a pug, she stumbled upon one sitting in an almost lotus-like position – one of many yoga poses – and a name was born.

With it comes a yoga studio on South Main Street in Wilkes-Barre that takes yoga and makes it its own, whether it be classes by candlelight or set to live music.

“We take yoga very seriously, but at the same time, we have fun,” Russell said. “It’s such a non-threatening studio. We welcome all skill levels and want people to take a relaxed approach to the practice.

“We don’t want the new yogi to feel intimidated. I don’t want them to worry about getting into a headstand because they’re not there yet, and it’s not meant to be that way. And for advanced yogis, we encourage them to go far in their practice and are there for whatever they need.”

Perhaps one of the more interesting classes Lotus Pug has to offer involves live music. Isn’t yoga supposed to be something for quiet meditation?

“You know, some yoga studios do do classes with music, but it’s very quiet music,” Russell said, “and I thought, ‘But why? Does it have to be this way?’”

Lotus Pug brings in a DJ or live musicians once a week for class.

“People still focus and meditate on what they’re coming to yoga for, just in a different way,” Russell explained. “You feel the vibrations coming through the floor; you hear different music every week. I want people to see that you can truly do yoga to anything.”

Lotus Pug will host a Hoopasana class at the expo, taught by local hooper Danielle Drevenak.

“We’re so lucky to have her,” Russell said. “She’s incredibly talented and will teach people the basics of hooping.”


They say the buddy system may be the best way to go about hitting the gym – you need accountability and motivation, after all. No one recognized this better than Jessica Sands, owner of S.W.E.A.T. Fitness Studio in Luzerne.

“We are a group fitness studio, only group fitness classes, and of every type you can imagine,” she said. “Most people aren’t self-motivated when it comes to the gym; they need someone there to push them or lead them along. People are motivated to do more if they’re among friends, so this is the perfect environment for that. They can have a friend come with them; they can make friends in class. It keeps you going. You feel comfortable knowing there’s other people around you who are pushing you and are also in the same boat as you.”

S.W.E.A.T. holds none of the typical gym equipment, unless it’s used for a class. Classes are only $5 a piece, and there’s no contract.

Though S.W.E.A.T. will be bringing the well-known Zumba way of fitness to the expo, Sands will also be teaching a class of a not oft heard of name: R.I.P.P.E.D., which stands for Resistance, Intervals, Power, Plyometrics, Endurance, and Diet.

“It’s good for everyone,” Sands said. “People hear the name and think, ‘Oh, I don’t know if I could do that – that sounds hardcore,’ but it’s truly for people of all fitness levels. The instructor is able to give modifications to any participant so that everyone is getting an effective workout that’s perfect for them.”

R.I.P.P.E.D. utilizes resistance and cardio training in the form of intervals with power, plyometrics, and endurance sections.


Don’t be surprised when you walk into the NEPA Sports and Fitness Expo and see people flying about on bikes – it’s a typical day for the folks at Cedar BMX, Valley Cycle, and Plains Bike, who have all teamed up to host a BMX Freestyle competition at the expo.

Though this isn’t the typical bike event Cedar BMX is used to – they’re all about racing.

Cedar BMX is a nonprofit entity near Clarks Summit that takes care of a dirt track for bike enthusiasts to race on and, contrary to what many may think, it’s not just a boy’s club.

“It’s really a family thing,” said Candy Rosencrance, Cedar BMX’s track operator. “It’s a nice little Saturday night out for everybody. We have moms, dads, and children that all race, of all different skill levels.”

Rosencrance herself races and she feels biking is a pretty big thing in the area, though it does come in many different forms aside from racing. She feels a track like Cedar’s is important to have because of that.

“A lot of kids that race BMX aren’t into your traditional sports,” she said. “They like to bike, and if we didn’t have this type of thing, they wouldn’t be able to do a sport; they wouldn’t be involved. They might be out riding the streets, getting in trouble.”

Ever wanted to give a certain fitness program a shot? Well, you can at the NEPA Sports and Fitness Expo, where there will be a variety of classes offered both days for free with the price of admission.

Saturday, April 12 classes:

12:15 p.m.: Zumba Kids

1 p.m.: Zumba with S.W.E.A.T. Fitness Studio

2 p.m.: Yoga with Lotus Pug Yoga Studio

3 p.m.: The Leverage Experience with Leverage Fitness Studio

4 p.m.: Beat Explosion! with Candy’s Place

5 p.m.: Body Combat with Odyssey Fitness

5:30 p.m.: Body Step with Odyssey Fitness

Sunday, April 13 classes:

10:15 a.m.: Pound Workout with Danko’s All American Fitness

11 a.m.: R.I.P.P.E.D. with S.W.E.A.T. Fitness Studio

Noon: Body Attack

12:30 p.m.: CX Worx

1 p.m.: Spin class with The Fitness Place

3 p.m.: Hoopasana with Lotus Pug Yoga Studio

April 12, noon-4 p.m.: West Side Starz Cheerleading Showcase

April 12-13, noon-4 p.m.: BMX Showcase

April 12-13: Air Force Fitness Throwdown with NEPA CrossFit

No matter what type of sport you prefer, there’s something for you at the NEPA Sports and Fitness Expo. Check out the vendors that are a part of this first-time event:

Geisinger Orthopadeic Institute

The Fitness Place

Sports Team Hotels

Revolution Ice Centre

Huntzinger’s Karate


Leverage Fitness Studio

Hilton Garden Inn Wilkes-Barre

Schuykill Valley Sports

Blue Ridge Trail Golf Academy

Form You 3 Weight Loss Centers

Cedar BMX

S.W.E.A.T. Fitness Studio

Sun Tan City

West Side Starz Cheer and Dance

NEPA Career and College Counseling Associates

Mary Kay

Odyssey Fitness

Pain Care Consultants

J Lynne Consulting Group

Challenger Sports


NEPA CrossFit

Sundance Vacations

Danko’s All American Fitness

National Guard

The Athletic Club

Power Chiropractic

The Nutrifitness Boot Camp

Nanticoke Fitness Center

Unleash Fitness Studio

Kingston Recreation Center

Kitchen Saver

Sign & T-Shirt Kings

West Side United Soccer Club

Thrive Wellness Center

Uper 90

My Sky Elite

Lotus Pug Yoga Studio

The Center for Cancer Wellness Candy’s Place

Stanton Lanes

Yin Yang

Phoenix Rehabilitiation and Health Services

Bath Fitter

Elite Spine and Sports Physical Therapy

Paulson Tours

Valley Pools and Spas

Plains Bike

Valley Cycles