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Thursday, May 28, 2020

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CMS Sixth Grader Launches Virtual Workout Class with Sweat Equity; Donates Proceeds to PAWS

Ben Merrill, a sixth grader at Coronado Middle School, isn’t getting lazy in the lockdown. In fact, he’s using his extra time to launch a daily workout class to help kids get in shape and feel great.

Ben Merrill, an avid lacrosse player, misses his games. But he’s making good use of his time in lockdown.

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“I started teaching for my lacrosse team on our Zoom meetings, which gave me the idea that there are probably a ton of kids like me who are bored at home, and could use a little fun getting exercise,” said Ben. “So, I started the class.”

Ben’s twenty minute class—which is organized through Sweat Equity—is on Zoom every Monday through Friday at 4pm. The best part? Any proceeds from the donation-based class will go to straight to PAWS.

“I have an undying love for animals of all types, so I want to support the people who help our pets,” says Ben.

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Ben walking his furry friends at the beach.

Not only does Ben play lacrosse, but he plays basketball and works out with his family. Exercise is, after all, the family business. (His mom and dad, Liz and Nick Merrill, own Sweat Equity Gym.)

Ben says he knows first-hand the benefits of a good workout. “If you don’t exercise, you get grumpy, and after you work out you feel so much better, mentally and physically,” says Ben.

His workout class is a full-body workout with footwork drills and body weight exercises. No special equipment is needed, although light weights can be used during certain exercises. “My favorite exercise is the ‘cossack squat’ because it gives you a great stretch and you work on leg strength,” says Ben.

Although Ben misses his lacrosse team and the games, he says he’s surviving quarantine. “I’ve been learning how to cook and bake, and I got a basketball hoop,” says Ben. “I’ve been riding my bike, walking my dog, reading and doing homework.”

And now, he can add something new to his quarantine curriculum…leading a legit online workout!

To check out Ben’s kid’s workout classes, get the links each day here.

The suggested donation is $5, which will be donated to PAWS, and can be paid via Venmo @BenettMerrill.


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Christine Van Tuyl
Christine was born and raised in Texas, but moved to Coronado with her family as a teen in 1993. Although initially horrified by surfers, flannels and skateboards, she ultimately grew to love all things So-Cal. A graduate of UCSD, Christine got her first writing job on the KUSI ten o’clock news while simultaneously juggling a reporter position at the San Diego Community News Group. She worked as a public relations professional, a book editor, real estate professional, and a freelance writer before eventually succumbing to motherhood in 2008.A decade later, Christine resurfaced to start the Island Girl Blog, a Coronado lifestyle blog. In addition, she writes a monthly page for Crown City Magazine. Christine loves hanging out with her husband, Ian, and their two spirited daughters, Holland and Marley, who attend Village Elementary and Coronado Middle School. When she’s not working, you’ll find her practicing yoga, spilling coffee at school drop off, meeting friends for sushi, or sailing the Bay with her family and English Bulldog, Moshi. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to:


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