Second Annual Fit Week

Samantha Mathewson

fit week 2 Fit Week 1The second annual FITWEEK took place in the Greater New Haven and Fairfield Counties of Connecticut at local gyms Sept. 30 – Oct. 6. This event encouraged local residents to try something new and turn their workweek into a FITWEEK.

Shana Schneider, the founder of FITWEEK, also a Zumba and group fitness instructor, feels it is important to provide new types of exercises and fitness tips for those who question “How do you find time.” Schneider explained that while you are doing every day activities; even something as simple as brushing your teeth, you can find the time. “You don’t have to have an intense background, just see what excites you.”

FITWEEK is a weeklong event, where participants can purchase a Fitweek pass, which provides free access to hundreds of fitness classes at participating businesses and resources throughout the area. Classes cover a wide range of activities, including Jiu Jitsu, Pound, Zumba Fitness, Crossfit, Yoga, Boot Camp, Pilates, Kettlebell, Spinning, Barre; a combination of yoga, ballet and pillates, an Aerial Skill class, and more. 50 facilities in the area participated and can be found online at

Some of the aspects that make these classes exciting are the music and the lights. Sometimes even live bands perform, explained Schneider. Getting participants involved in workouts that they enjoy, gives them the excitement to commit and find the workouts that fit their lifestyle.

The passes were sold for $20, and all the proceeds from the individual sales were donated to the Closer to Free Fund, which supports cancer research at the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven. “The money raised is to support cancer research, patient care and emphasize the importance of exercise in lowering the risk of getting cancer and the benefits of exercise for and during recovery,” said Schneider. The total amount that was raised, and number of passes sold, is still being calculated.

“Closer to Free provides essential financial support for breakthrough cancer research and compassionate patient care. Support is critical to ensure that new research is pursued each day, promising treatments are developed in real time, and patient care is continuously enhanced.”

The kickoff event, in conjunction with On 9 New Haven, was held on Friday, Sept. 6 at 6 p.m. at Pitkin Plaza, located near the corner of Orange Street and Chapel Street. The festivities included free outdoor Zumba Fitness and Yoga class, giveaways, and other fitness demos.

“As a working woman, I can easily empathize with those who say they don’t have time to add a fitness program into their busy schedules,” said Schneider. “Through the annual FITWEEK event, we are excited to provide an easy and fun way for people to learn how to incorporate fitness into their everyday lives by offering them access to hundreds of FREE classes, which they may not have otherwise tried. We’re also delighted to help raise awareness about the importance of exercise in the prevention and recovery of cancer by providing 100% of the proceeds from the FITWEEK Pass to support the Closer to Free Fund. ”

Dr. Anees Chagpar, Director, The Breast Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital says, “We are grateful to Shana and the many sponsors of FITWEEK for donating 100% of the proceeds to the Closer to Free Fund supporting cancer research and helping to raise awareness about how exercise can help with prevention and support recovery from this widespread disease.”

Additional events taking place throughout the week included themed FITWEEK Walks, FITWEEK Happy Hours and FITgroup Events that allow people to be social and try new fitness trends and activities together.

FITWEEK is sponsored by Higher One, Being Well at Yale, Yale WorkLife, The United Illuminating Company, The Shops at Yale, Cymplify/Campus Customs, Elm City Market, TYCO, Pinpoint Promotions, Trailblazer and Fitbit.

In addition, FITWEEK also helps fitness businesses meet new potential clients, and assists non-fitness businesses or organizations in providing a service that cultivates a healthy workforce and community. Along with the FITWEEK week-long event, Schneider posts weekly workouts and tips at, and coordinates monthly fitness events, which can be found on their website or at; she encourages everyone to stay connected.