Barry McNamara  |  Published January 23, 2021


Team effort helps Monmouth alumni stay in shape during pandemic.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Getting into better shape and being healthier was a common goal for many people who set New Year’s resolutions at the start of 2021.

#FightingScotsStayFit: During the pandemic, the hashtag has helped a group of Monmouth alumni sta... #FightingScotsStayFit: During the pandemic, the hashtag has helped a group of Monmouth alumni stay connected and stay healthy.Several former Monmouth College student-athletes have found there’s a very effective way to do it: by being part of a group that supports and motivates one another.

The hashtag #fightingscotsstayfit is trending among a group of Monmouth alumni that includes former track and field champion Albert Greene ’06 and all-conference wide receiver Jason Killion ’04.

“During the pandemic, we’ve all had tons of time at home,” said Greene, who coaches football and track at one of Monmouth’s Midwest Conference rivals, Lake Forest College. “I started to record and post my workouts on Instagram in story mode, and I’d tag some of my Monmouth friends. All of a sudden, it kind of caught on, and they’d do a workout and tag back. In one of my Snapchats, I put ‘Fighting Scots stay fit.’ Then Jason Killion posted a workout and used it as a hashtag.”

Killion, who incorporates fitness as part of his role as an officer at a juvenile corrections facility in the Chicagoland area, said: “My buddy Travis Miller (’05) had been running and sent a message that said something like ‘Let’s go guys!’ I’m an avid trainer, and I do something every day. So when he sent that message, I jumped on, did a workout and used the hashtag #fightingscotsstayfit, tagging everyone that Travis had tagged. It just kinda morphed from there.”

One of the friends who Greene tagged was another Fighting Scots track champion, Ted Ross ’04.

“We started tagging each other’s Instagram accounts,” said Ross, who is a senior associate director for Golden Key International Honour Society. “Pretty much every day we work out, four or five times a week, and we tag each other. It started to grow. At first, it was three or four or five people responding. Then six or seven or eight, from all walks of life.”

Get off the couch

Ross said the group has helped him on days when he’d rather sit on the couch.

“It’s been great for motivation,” he said. “There might be days when I didn’t feel like doing it, but then I’d think about the group and think ‘I’ve got to do something,’ whether it’s yoga, or lifting, or getting on the exercise bike. Most of us are former athletes. We know what to do to get in shape, but it’s been great having the motivation to get us there.”

Ross had surgery about a year ago, and just around the time his prescribed two to three months off had expired, the pandemic hit.

“By the time we opened back up in Georgia, I weighed the most I’ve weighed in my entire life,” he said. “Now I’m lifting more than I’ve ever lifted. I’m definitely stronger, and I feel like I can keep up with my children.”

“Just stay consistent and do it in a way that will allow you to have fun and enjoy it. And having a support group like we do really helps, too.” Albert Greene

Keeping up socially is also part of the appeal.

“Obviously, the goal is to stay healthy, but it’s also a goal to stay connected,” said Greene. “That part of it is really cool.”

Joining the ‘health train’

Greene offered advice for those looking to make some changes to their fitness level in 2021.

ALBERT GREENE: You don't have to lift as much weight as the former Midwest Conference track c... ALBERT GREENE: You don't have to lift as much weight as the former Midwest Conference track champion to reap the benefits of regular workouts.“I’m not one to preach health, but I do believe that everyone can be healthy,” he said. “It’s kind of like a lifestyle change. It can’t be looked at as just a fad. You can start incrementally and just make a series of small changes. Just stay consistent and do it in a way that will allow you to have fun and enjoy it. And having a support group like we do really helps, too. I’m on the health train. Any time I can pull a friend in, it’s a good thing.”

Killion traced the birth of #fightingscotsstayfit to Sept. 11, 2020, and he said there are no signs of it ending anytime soon.

“All of the guys posted yesterday,” he said in mid-January. “It should keep going. We even had T-shirts made. I have a buddy who does that. And it’s the more, the merrier. Melissa Pacheco (’07), who ran track with us, has jumped on. We’re just trying to encourage each other. We’ve been out of Monmouth for a while now and we’re getting a little long in the tooth. Anything we can do to motivate each other helps.”

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