Coach Zack Quaderer’s class brings challenges, positives amidst pandemic


Photo by Austin Buck

Zack Quaderer, Adult Boot Camp Coach, goes through his warm-up in preparation for their sessions workout on Feb. 17. Quaderer leads this workout every Wednesday and Friday evening at the PAC.

Austin Buck, Broadcast Editor

Zack Quaderer has been coaching the Community Ed Class called “Adult Boot Camp” since late spring 2020. As a part-time job, Quaderer has put much of his free time towards improving and improvising his class along with making connections with his trainees. He coaches at the Pony Activity Center (PAC), and doing such at an indoor gym during the pandemic (COVID-19) has been tough at times. 

The class has been on and off since the beginning of the pandemic. During the month’s indoor gyms have been closed during this pandemic, this class and its participants have struggled with consistency. Not only with the schedule, but with a new coach. 

Quaderer started coaching the class as a part-time job in the spring of 2020 once indoor gyms were allowed to re-open. When indoor gyms have been open since last spring, Quaderer has spent a lot of time coaching his class at the PAC. 

“The single most challenging thing about this class during the pandemic has been consistency, but with those challenges has come positives,” Quaderer said. <iframe frameborder=”0″ class=”juxtapose” width=”100%” height=”333″ src=””></iframe>

During the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, indoor gyms in Minnesota have switched between open and closed multiple times; the PAC is no exception. Between mid-March and June of 2020, the PAC was closed at all times, but from June through November it was open with some regulations. Then again from November until early January, it was closed until Jan. 4 when it was allowed to re-open, this time with more restrictions. 

“It was tough because we never knew what our future was going to look like, and especially in November when it hit us pretty hard,” Quaderer said. He also added how difficult it was for him and his trainees to “stay consistent with workout routines due to the multiple shutdowns.”

“Consistency can be a problem because trainees may forget proper form on workouts we have been practicing, or may come back after a long break and injure themselves,” Quaderer added.

Since January, the PAC has been open but with lots of restrictions in place, making working out harder in certain aspects. Everyone must now stay at least nine feet away from others. For Quaderer, this means he is not able to closely demonstrate proper workout techniques while coaching.

“It has also been difficult having to stay distant while explaining workouts, which often adds time to the explaining. I like to be able to touch them and show them up close which muscles they are working, or how to slightly alter their technique which I am able to do when physically helping them with the movements. Unfortunately, right now I cannot do those things,” Quaderer said.

A new regulation put in place in January was that masks must be worn at all times during indoor workouts. Masks make communication much harder between Quaderer and his trainees, but there is no avoiding it. 

Quaderer explained he has not observed any major difficulties regarding masks being worn during the workouts. Quaderer also said he makes his workouts slightly less cardio-heavy since masks are being worn.

“Everyone has been very good about keeping their masks on and over their mouth and nose; we haven’t had any problems,” Quaderer said.

The changes that have been made to the class workouts have turned out very well. The trainees have learned better ways to adapt to different scenarios they might be given in a weight room or anywhere they want to get exercise. Examples are decreasing cardio with masks and using just one set of weights for multiple workouts to limit sharing.

Alumni Simon Leppicello explained that the class is learning new ways to modify their workouts because of the situation they are in.

“When we cannot share weights, our equipment is limited, or if we are not able to have spotters, we will change the way we workout. We normally use less weight and do more repetitions when we cannot have spotters who could help us lift the weight if we fail,” Leppicello said.

Although many challenges have been thrown their way, this group of boot campers along with Quaderer have seen multiple positives come out of the situation. The most notable benefit to these challenges is that it has strengthened the relationship between the trainees and Quaderer. 

“I think there are a lot of positives that come out of this situation. The trainees and I have come together to find the best ways to get over our challenges of communication and consistency,” Quaderer said. He also explained how much he enjoys his trainees and the relationship they have built over the past months.

There is another significant positive that has come out of this situation. The most beneficial part of the class is that it has provided a place to stay active, let out your feelings, and most importantly socialize with others. All of these benefits are extremely important during this time, and this class is providing them. 

Quaderer pointed out how “important this class has been for me to get out of the house and into a better routine” after the first months of shutdown.

“This has been so crucial for me to socialize because this is where I see many of my friends. It is also where we can be active and enjoy ourselves,” Leppicello said. 

Despite all the inconsistency, Quaderer and his trainees are extremely happy they are still able to work out and go to the gym. They are also optimistic about the future as they hope the worst is over in terms of closing down. Once COVID-19 is over, Quaderer hopes to continue the boot camp class but also wants to go further into personal training. He also hopes to expand his coaching realm to the point where he can even do it full time. For now, Quaderer is continuing to coach two classes per week as a part-time job until he feels he can transition to a more full-time role as a coach. Hopefully, this class has him headed in the right direction.