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Conditioned Competition
Local fitness enthusiasts give us tips every athlete needs when preparing for their next endeavor.

by Kaytlyn Mroz

It’s safe to say that we are now in the thick of training season. Whether  you are  a  cyclist,  swimmer,  runner—or  triathlete—you  are  currently hitting your local gym and preparing for your races day in and day out. And no matter if your goal is to beat last year’s time o r  simply finish the race, having someone push you to your limits can help you achieve those results.

Suburban Family recently spoke to ar ea fitness experts who offer words of encouragement and explain how their approach and resources might help make the difference in giving you the competitive advantage to cross the finish line. 

Sheena Potts, training director at Medford Fitness, says their facility sees a mix of athletic  abilities coming in through their doors which makes their center a well-rounded place for all athletes. They see triathletes, biathletes, marathon runners and even ‘everyday’ athletes from the general public who like to work out and have an interest in fitness.

So how does she help these athletes reach their goal s? Potts makes safety her No. 1 priority. 

 “Safety is No. 1 because if the athlete is injured, it prevents them from doing what it is that  they love and enjoy doing,” explains Potts. “Safety comes first in my opinion and it is about creating durability for the athletes and we want to ensure that they have a really solid movement foundation and progress their strength  and conditioning programs from there .”

Potts focuses very heavily on movement. If she sees someone who has a limitation in mobility  or a movement restriction, she knows th at it needs to be addressed right  away. Ultimately, that restriction is what could linger and put the athlete at a higher risk of getting hu rt.

 “What’s really growing is small group training—which is what we offer—and that is what a lot of our athletes are doing because it  allows them to train based on their fitness level,” says Potts. “Ultimately,  in order to create strong and durable athletes, not only do they need to train the technical side—whether it is getting out and running or getting out and swimming or biking—they really need to i ncorporate some good, solid strength and conditioning.”

Athletes enjoy this type of training setting because not only is it an intimate c lass of six people, but i t is also more affordable than a personal trainer.

But what really makes Medford Fitness a great facility for t riathletes, specifically, looking to hone in on their expertise is that it is a multipurpose gym. “We can really cater to a triathlet e because they can work on the running and the  biking and the swimming all within our facility,” says Potts.

The same goes for Giant Fi tness’ newest location  in Voorhees. Owner Sam Balducci says their new fitness center will have all of the bells and whistles of your idea l fitness facility—with the addition of a pool. The new 41,000square-foot facility opening soon will offer swim programs for members an d will be the location of the Jersey Wahoos Swim Club.

Taking your training one step further, Aistriu in Marlton equips athletes with the  tools they need to be successful in their fitness journeys. The new action sports retailer provides guidance and knowledge—and even un locks hidden athletic talents at times. 

Aistriu’s Brian Macapagal says they acknowledge training goals and initially inquire what their  athletes’ current training methods are, allowing their assessment to work within their regimen.

 “The input we offer is to further their p rogress based on our own training h abits. Additional advice and guidance we provide is the knowledge of the equipment they acquire fro m us and what they already have, ” explains Macapagal. “We educate them on ‘how’ to use their equipment,  not just service or care for it . These are common practices which are offered from other locations. What we provide is the experience  and what to expect from your equipment. The inner workings; how it will perform for you, how to make the equipment work (for you), mastering it to maximize your results.”

As for motivation, the team at Aistriu tells athletes to go outside of their normal routines, add diversity and try something new. 

 “Most of taking that next step is mental; clearing your head can make huge strides going forward,” says Macapagal. “Pushing through is more  than  just gritting your teeth, sweating more, training harder. You have to take a moment, step back and find yourself. We find people  get so deep into their sport; too focused, too driven on a goal that they forgot why they even chose this path.”

Macapagal  reminds athletes of the four reasons  why they became interested in their chosen sport:

• It’s exercise

• It’s a way to keep fit and be healthy

• It’s an activity for your friends to partici- pate in and a way to find new friends

• and …  IT’S FUN

So, what’s the real secret to success? Po tts says it ultimately comes down to your team and who you have in your corner to help push and drive you to success. She says, “Really , it is just about proper guidance, instruction and progression to really show these athletes—and every person that we work with— what they are capable of.”


Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 1 (March 2018).

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