From family get-togethers to friend gatherings and work parties, the holiday season is filled with opportunities to throw caution to the wind and splurge on tasty treats that aren’t the best for the waistline. Inevitably, when the dust settles, many folks are inspired to make a renewed commitment to fitness as a result, and often seek a gym to join.
Of course, finding the right place to exercise can be overwhelming, especially for beginners who don’t know where to look. Fortunately for local residents, Echelon Health & Fitness offers a friendly staff and a warm, inviting atmosphere where members can achieve all of their health goals.
“We try to take a step back and remember that a lot of the new members signing up have not been in the gym in a very long time, if ever,” says Trey Severs, director of Thrive Personal Training at Echelon. “So we go above and beyond to welcome everyone.”
That’s just one of the reasons why Echelon has been such a game-changer on the local fitness scene, first at its original location in Voorhees and now at its second facility in Audubon, which opened in June. Both gyms boast state-of-the-art equipment and a wide variety of classes, but two programs in particular – which can’t be found anywhere else in South Jersey – really help Echelon stand out.
The first is MemberPERX, in which Echelon partners with 800 local businesses to pass significant discounts onto its members. Those who use the program regularly save enough to cover the cost of their membership. While Echelon was closed for six months during COVID, members saved $6,500 using the MemberPERX program, helping to support those MemberPERX partners.
The second is Thrive, a performance-driven program developed by legendary strength and conditioning coach Mike Boyle. Severs oversees a team of five coaches in Voorhees and four in Audubon who conduct the sessions, which are based on functional training and incorporate elements of yoga, speed and agility, strength and cardio. The program is suitable for anyone from age 8 to 90 of all athletic levels, and is tailored to a person’s specific needs.
We spoke with Severs to learn more about Echelon and to understand the keys to becoming a healthier version of ourselves heading into 2024.
What are fundamental habits to kick-start a healthier lifestyle?
The first step is you have to get started. You have to have a day one in order to have a day 30, 60 or 90. Things start falling into place after that: People start showing up in your life and the accountability gets placed around you to help you succeed. Without actually belonging to a gym that cares for you, like we do, and being part of a culture like we’ve created here, you can definitely still move in the right direction with healthier habits, it just puts the odds against you.
How can I incorporate exercise into my busy schedule?
One of my mentors told me, “If you want an extra day during the week, just wake up an hour earlier.” If you were to wake up an extra hour every day, you would grab seven hours, which is like an entire workday. So there is time, you just have to rearrange your schedule accordingly.
What role does nutrition play in a healthy lifestyle?
You can’t out-train a bad diet – as they say, abs are made in the kitchen. It’s important to make better choices in the first 30, 60 and 90 days, but not to change completely, because it’s a little overwhelming. A protein shake after a workout is a good start, along with a well-balanced breakfast, and if you like to eat out, maybe do it once or twice a week instead of every single night. I can 100% say from experience that if we can get someone to buy into the nutrition side of things, their results will speak for themselves.
What’s the importance of adequate sleep in maintaining good health?
Studies have shown that you need a solid seven hours of sleep to perform your best. As I said before, you can find time to exercise by waking up an hour earlier, so that means you have to go to bed an hour earlier. When we sleep and rest, that’s when our muscles grow.
How can I stay motivated on this health journey?
You have to grab an accountability partner and also understand why you’re doing this. Everyone moves with a purpose every day, goes to work and tries to help their family. They’ll do something for someone else but not for themselves. We try to get you to take a step back and understand that if you put yourself first, you’ll have a better version of yourself and everyone else will reap the benefits of that.
What are some simple lifestyle changes to promote well-being?
Take breaks from screens, practice mindfulness or meditation, and stay socially connected. Small adjustments in daily habits can have a big impact on your overall health. Remember, it’s important to consult with health-care professionals or nutritionists for personalized advice based on your individual needs and health status.
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 6.
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