Dawn Skinner watches as instructor Gael Gebow shows how to lift correctly during a YMCA “Strength Train Together” exercise class Nov. 14, 2016 in Everett. The class is an example of the type of class that will be offered during the Thanksgiving “Burn the Bird” free exercise program. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Earn that extra slice of pie in a free class at the Y

EVERETT — Thanksgiving is one of the happiest days of the year at the Everett Family YMCA.

Senior program director Gael Gebow described it as a time when people come in with “gratitude and joy and just this freedom about them.”

Though the Ys across Snohomish County are closed for most of the holiday, they open from 8 to 10 a.m. for free group fitness classes. The classes are open to anyone in the community and participants do not need to be a Y member or come with a member.

“We offer a smorgasbord for people to come in and try different things,” Gebow said. “My goal with Burn the Bird is to have something for everyone.”

The name comes from the idea that people can work off the calories they’ll consume during Thanksgiving dinner. After a few high-energy morning classes, they can munch that extra piece of pie guilt-free.

Generally, the free classes attract a few hundred people total. The schedule includes Zumba, cycling, yoga, barre, water aerobics and weight training. At the Everett location, the workout starts at 7 a.m. with an hour-long jog called Run for the Bird. The person who runs the most laps on the course gets a prize, Gebow said.

“So we run for the bird, and then we burn the bird,” she said. “Anyone is welcome in the Y that morning, as long as they’re participating in the workout.”

Burn the Bird offers a chance for newcomers to experience class demonstrations and see if they like the environment of the Y. For regulars, it’s a chance to try a class with a different instructor than they usually work with, or to get out of solo workouts in the weight room and see what they think of group exercise, Gebow said.

Some activities, such as cycling, have limited space because of a fixed number of bikes. People can wait for their turn in one of the back-to-back classes or go find a different activity. Zumba, for example, is always one of the most popular workouts, Gebow said.

For group exercise classes, participants should be at least 11 years old. Cycling and strength training are for adults only.

November is a good time to test out the classes offered by local Ys before people start making New Year’s resolutions to work out and lose weight. Holiday membership discounts should be coming up after Thanksgiving if people try the Y and like it, Gebow said.

The YMCA of Snohomish County is a nonprofit with six centers around the county. The newest center in Stanwood opened this year and this will be the first Burn the Bird event there.

For a full list of Burn the Bird activities, locations and times, go online to ymca-snoco.org/burnthebird.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com.

Get moving

Other ways to work off your Thanksgiving meal:

Arlington Turkey Trot: The Arlington Runners Club offers a 5k run on Thanksgiving. Registration starts at 8 a.m. in the Arlington Grocery Outlet parking lot, 123 E Burke Ave. Race starts at 9. More info: www.facebook.com/events/1664782120502594

Lynnwood Turkey Trot: The Robert Burns Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons holds a Turkey Trot 5k to benefit the Lynnwood Food Bank, starting at 8 a.m. Thanksgiving. The race starts and ends at the Lynnwood Transit Center, 20100 48th Ave. W. Cost is $20 the day of the event. More info: 425-745-1635

Mukilteo Turkey Trot: Starting from and ending at Kamiak High School, the event offers 5k and 10k races. Elite runners start at 7:30 a.m. Thanksgiving, other runners at 8:10. The race ends at 10. More info, including cost: mukilteoturkeytrot.com

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