MBU’s president shares love for planks and push-ups as MBU exercise instructor

After decades of making fitness a priority in his own life, this University’s longstanding leader has begun sharing his love for planks and push-ups with the MBU community as a certified group exercise instructor.

MBU President Dr. R. Alton Lacey

MBU President Dr. R. Alton Lacey

Here are some things you might not know about MBU’s longstanding president:

He can hold a plank—that grueling isometric ab exercise—for a good five minutes. He can do 81 push-ups within 3 minutes. And as of press time, he had climbed 187,747 floors on his Stairmaster since he started logging his exercises years ago.

If it weren’t for those who have worked out alongside President Lacey in the fitness classes he attends twice a week, those little secrets probably would have never made their way into the likes of the MBU Magazine. But the truth is, Dr. Lacey has long made fitness a priority in his life—from completing marathons to habitually hitting the gym.

Now, the leader of MBU is planning to share his love for fitness and health with others. In September, Lacey became certified as a group exercise instructor by the American Fitness Aerobics Association.

“Fitness has long been something I have been passionate about,” Lacey said. “I’ve seen its benefits personally and have a desire to help others experience the rewards that come with fitness.”

Lacey and his daughter, Brenna, MBU’s fitness coordinator, went through the intensive certification process together. Months of studying and preparation culminated with a lengthy written examination and oral boards–covering the gamut of group fitness genres, from step aerobics to slow lifting.

Lacey, whose recent certification can be added to his list of academic degrees including a PhD and additional studies at Harvard, is currently teaching his first exercise class.

His class, held in the University’s Sports and Recreation Complex, is meant for people who don’t regularly exercise. Lacey’s program focuses on introducing group fitness to participants in a non-intimidating way with the goal of keeping them coming back.

Lacey remembers going to his first group fitness class at the YMCA some seven years ago. The class’ instructor commissioned participants to do 100 repetitions of every exercise.

“I was so sore for the next three day that I could hardly walk,” Lacey recalled.

Despite that initiation, Lacey kept coming back—in part because he knows the benefits.

“Research shows that there is value in regularly taking part in weight baring activities, particularly as you get older,” he said. “It can help stave off disease, help prevent and reverse preventable illnesses, such as diabetes, and it generally makes you feel better.”

Lacey’s class meets from 6:30-7:30 a.m. on Mondays. It gives him just enough time to begin what is sure to be a demanding workweek as the leader of this institution

It’s a routine he’s been doing for the last 19 years, which qualifies him as one of the longest-tenured University presidents in the region. Despite the pressures of the job, he’s remained remarkably healthy over the years—a likely testament to every single one of those 187,747 (and counting) floors he’s climbed.

And now you know.