Get fit — the roller derby way!

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Hey ladies, if you’re looking to get in shape, just put on some skates!

Starting this Sunday, the Greenwood Playground will be home to Derby Fit, a roller derby league for women that’s based on the teachings of Gotham Girls Roller Derby, that gritty urban racing game.

Jasmina Nikolov, a member of the Friends of Greenwood Playground, decided to bring a less-intimidating version of that derby program to the Windsor Terrace Park last year for a fun, but still intense, way to get in shape.

“It was really scary initially, I hadn’t been in skates in 20 years,” said the Kensington resident. “But it was wonderful. It was really exhilarati­ng.”

Those sessions were such a hit, the group, this time led by Friends member Lisa Origlieri, decided to bring it back for three sessions this spring and summer. The six- to seven-week sessions are geared toward beginners, during which you can learn such skills as turning, stopping, proper stance, and falling on stakes. Cardio and conditioning are also done on foot, but the real work comes when the quad-skates are laced up.

“Skating in itself is a tremendous workout,” said Tracey Debenedictis, aka Ariel Assault, a Gotham Girls Roller Derby coach who leads the Derby Fit league. “And skating in a good, low derby stance is basically like holding a squat for two hours.”

Elbows — and punches — are known to be thrown during the competitive version of the sport, popularized by the 2009 movie, “Whip It,” starring Ellen Page, but the Derby Fit program brings a non-contact, non-aggressive version to the park. As a result, it’s attracted women of all ages, but most prominent are new moms looking to shed their baby weight in a fun, social way.

“I’m not one for the gym,” said Origlieri, who had her second child five months ago. “But this doesn’t seem like work. It’s more fun.”

Derby Fit at Greenwood Playground (Fort Hamilton Parkway and E. Fifth Street in Windsor Terrace, no phone). The first of six sessions begins on May 8 at 9 am, followed by two seven-week sessions after that. Cost is $125 for six weeks, $145 for seven. For info, visit or e-mail

Posted 12:00 am, May 3, 2011
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