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New Year, New Workout

by Lindsey Getz

Looking for a new form of exercise that will keep your workout from becoming routine? There are options out there just for you.

With a new year just around the corner, getting fit is probably on your wish list. Unfortunately, a study recently performed at the University of Scranton shows that while 40 percent of us make New Year’s resolutions, only about 8 percent of us actually keep them. We want to help you buck the trend. After all, today’s unique classes and training options make exercise fun.

Among the exercise regimens trending right now, CrossFit is at the top of the list. Consisting of varied movements at high intensity intervals, well over 8,000 CrossFit gyms have emerged across the country in the last few years, and people are eager to sign up.

But CrossFit isn’t the only way to go. Other workout programs are also taking off. You’ve likely heard of yoga, Pilates, Zumba, among others, all of which are ways to get fit, and are proving you don’t have to spend hours on a treadmill.

Seeing results
While many people feel intimidated by new programs or by just starting out, there are often modifications or ways to ease into a new fitness regimen. Laurie Weiner of Pilates Plus Restoration Studio, LLC says that Pilates has currently evolved to incorporate the most current scientific information so that everyone can benefit.

And it’s popular because it works. “From famous actors and actresses to professional athletes, Pilates is being used for preventative measures as well as everyday exercise to feel good, look good, and stay healthy.”

Many people are also finding they benefit from a personal trainer. At Impact Training & Fitness, the focus is on athletic based training. But the programs are customized to the individual. “Every type of training is different and based on your fitness and experience level,” says Keith Scott, owner of Impact Training & Fitness. “It’s extremely important for people to do their homework and really investigate before they join any program.”

At Impact, the focus is definitely on high-intensity training but Scott says the training is balanced and progressive. That means that newbies shouldn’t be scared off. “We are great at modifying workouts for beginners and inexperienced people,” he says.

Having a coach to guide you in your exercise plans can definitely have an impact on your success. Darren Garland, owner and head fitness coach at Emerge Fitness Center, says that the advantage of a skilled fitness coach can help someone who is struggling to have success finally meet their goals.

“The ability to capture those deep goals and the desire to translate it into an action plan is sometimes magical,” he says. “A skilled coach can regress or progress an exercise routine to make it the most effective program for the person at that time. Exercise is like a prescription and the right dosage at the right time can be effective while the wrong exercise at the wrong time can be catastrophic.”

A group effort
Many people also find success by working out in a group, finding the collective atmosphere of fitness classes and programs encouraging.

At the Katz JCC in Cherry Hill, members are encouraged to try a variety of activities and find what works best for them. And there is certainly a variety to choose from. Debbie Orel, director of membership and marketing, says that there are more than 100 group wellness classes being offered weekly including yoga, Pilates, Zumba, spinning, Tabata warrior, aquatic programs, and more. “Regardless of your fitness level, there is something for everyone,” Orel says.

Group training is also quite popular at the Cherry Hill Health & Racquet Club (CHHRC). Working out in a smaller group allows people to work with an experienced personal trainer at a fraction of the cost. CHHRC has also recently introduced Impulse Training, a niche program that’s powered by the Parisi Speed School.

“You can burn up to 1,000 calories in one of the Impulse classes,” says Brian Kosa, general manager at CHHRC. “It gives you the ability to lose both weight and inches. But it’s also open to all fitness levels. You don’t have to be someone who is planning to run a marathon or is an athlete to participate. It’s fun and it’s empowering and we’re finding it’s helping people get out of their exercise ruts.”

Consistency is key
While there are a lot of intense exercise programs gaining traction right now, not everyone is so gung-ho about some of them. Sam Balducci, owner of Giant Fitness, says that some of these intense workouts can lead to injury. They may also get the heart rate going higher than where it should be. Balducci says that these latest trends may also be misleading people that intensity is the only way to go.

“I think right now people feel like they have to work out a lot harder when in reality they just need to work out smarter,” Balducci says. “The main reason people fail at getting fit is that they stop going. If you keep going regularly, you will get fit. There’s not some huge secret as to how to get in shape. It’s mostly about consistency.”

Balducci says that a smart fitness routine all comes down to heart rate and consistency. He’s a big believer in resistance training because it never gets the heart rate too elevated. His perfect mix is a blend of cardio training that targets the heart rate and strength training.

No matter what program you end up choosing, opt for something that is fun or enjoyable so that you will stick with it, and seek out a gym or a trainer that is reputable.

Garland sums it up: “The best option for continued success is finding a facility where you feel comfortable and safe, and where you feel the staff cares about your success.”

2015 Guide to Living Well resources

Cherry Hill Health & Racquet Club
1820 Old Cuthbert Road
Cherry Hill
(856) 429-1388

Emerge Fitness Centers
3701 Church Road
Mount Laurel
(856) 438-0348

Katz JCC
1301 Springdale Road
Cherry Hill
(856) 424-4444

Impact Training & Fitness
115 Route 73 N.
West Berlin
(856) 767-2250

Pilates Plus Restoration Studio
151 Greentree Road
(856) 304-5556

Premier Orthopedics
Locations across South Jersey

Safety First
With the growing popularity of some of these intense workout regimens like CrossFit and Impact training, it’s important to remember that they can take a toll on the body. We asked three experts to give their best advice on avoiding injury and staying healthy.

“The knees and the rotator cuff of the shoulder take some of the hardest impact during CrossFit so those are special considerations. If you’ve had any sort of issues with your knees and/or shoulder you should talk to your doctor first. You may need to do some modifications. You may need to lessen the angle of your squat and do less reps. You can always make up for it with extra sit-ups or planks. You could also go with a lower weight kettlebell. I do believe that the benefits—staying in shape, bringing weight down, keeping blood pressure in check—make up for the risks.”
—Fred McAlpin, III, DO, FAOAO, orthopedic sports surgeon, Premier Orthopaedic Associates

“The most important thing someone can do before starting a high-intensity program is have a physical exam to make sure they’re capable of doing it. With any program, you should start gradually. And don’t overdo it. After a workout, it’s fine to have some sore¬ness and stiffness since you worked your muscles. But pain that begins to interfere with normal daily activities or sleep is a sign you’re doing too much at once. Stretching is also good for the preparatory process.”
—Michael J. O’Keefe, DC, DAAPM, of O’Keefe Chiropractic Center

“As someone who has been weight lifting for 30 years and was a trainer myself, I do see a lot of injuries mostly due to improper education, improper technique, or both. They should see a physical therapist or personal trainer to find out where they are at the outset. Some are in better shape and some have more natural ability so it’s unfair to start everyone at the same level. When you do start a program, work to your capability. Start slow. Most people fail when they try to do too much at once. Shooting for two to three days a week, a minimum of 30 minutes to an hour, is a good starting point and a reasonable goal.”
—Thomas A. Dwyer, MD, FAAOS, orthopedic sports surgeon and president/CEO of Premier Orthopaedic Associates

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 10 (December, 2014).
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