BY SUE WILSON
READING EAGLE CORRESPONDENT
AS WE begin 2017, many of us resolve to make changes in our lives. Some of those changes will include a vow to exercise more, bringing to life the saying, “a new year, a new you.”
But what kinds of exercise programs work? Do we stick with the tried and true, or do we look for something different this year?
Stephen Pradon, owner of Down Under Fitness in Wyomissing, said there are tons of workout programs available.
“But at the end of the day it’s about maintaining a constant workout program and consistent diet,” he said.
Pradon said the majority of the population thrives on instant gratification, but to lose weight safely, people must be willing to allow their bodies the chance to adapt to a new diet.
“If you begin a new diet, give your body at least a month to adjust its chemistry,” he said. “And at the end of the second month you can decide whether to continue or try something else.”
Joanne Ewing, fitness director at Colonial Fitness in Spring Township, said exercise should become part of your routine in a meaningful way, not just the means of losing weight.
“In order to see results, hitting the elliptical for 30 minutes while you catch up with your favorite TV show, once a week, just isn’t going to cut it,” she said. “Instead, aim for three workouts if you’re just getting into a routine again, or five to six sessions if you’ve been at it for a while.”
Ewing said to keep in mind that rest is key to reset mentally, physically and emotionally, so make sure to build in at least one full rest day.
“You’ll need to really push yourself in every workout you do,” she said. “It’s kind of a big deal that you bring your A-game to each and every workout. I’d rather see you work hard during your workouts three times a week than see you give 50 percent for five days.”
Debbie Stiller, director of wellness at Body Zone Sports and Wellness Complex in Spring Township, said what has become most apparent over the years is the fact that fad diets are not the answer.
“What does seem to work is to make changes in lifestyle that are sustainable and can be carried out long term,” she said. “In order to maintain a healthy weight, a person must incorporate both exercise and smart nutrition decisions.”
But change, like losing weight or starting a new fitness routine can be overwhelming, Stiller said.
“Sometimes all it takes is one small change,” she said. “One small change begets another small change and so on until it becomes part of what you do.”
Because of this idea, Stiller said Body Zone offers a program called “Project: You.”
“Project: You” utilizes the idea that group support, along with learning strategies, such as journaling and tracking, are important pieces of the fitness puzzle, helping individuals to address the obstacles they face in getting fit.
One of the newest programs offered at Body Zone is the small group training experience, said Morgan Fogelman, fitness director.
“Small group training offers consistent and unique daily programming for groups of six to eight,” he said. “Each session consists of a dynamic warm-up, movement demonstration and coaching, high-intensity interval training and a group cool-down. We love the dynamic of our groups. The camaraderie and intensity can’t be matched.”
At Down Under, Pradon said they are running a “New Year, New You” program, which includes a three- to six-month membership, personal training with endless motivation, custom workouts when clients are not with their trainer and personalized five- to seven-mealsper-day plan based on current nutrition.
Roll with It is another new class being offered.
“Every week this new class offers 12 to 18 different exercises,” he said. “Class format/exercises change week to week because change is good for the body and doesn’t get boring for the participants.”
How it works, Pradon said, is that they use one large die and two to three other large dice to determine the exercise type and time of the exercise.
Another new one for participants is called Incinerator, which is a fast-paced, stationto-station, circuit-based workout program.
“Everyone goes at their own pace, but it will be the workout of your life,” he said.
The workout program includes battle ropes, medicine balls, kettlebells, jump ropes, kickboxing bags, slam balls, plyo boxes, spin bikes and dumbbells.
Pradon said Down Under will be running an in-house obstacle course competition once a month.
“It will combine running, climbing, lifting, crawling, dragging, jumping, holding, rolling and, overall, a lot of sweating,” he said. “One time through may take 10 minutes, or it may take 25, depending on the setup.”
Elaine Forry, group fitness director at Colonial Fitness, said one of their newer programs is called HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training.
“It is one of the hottest fitness trends on the planet because it’s the fastest way to get fit and in shape,” she said. “Short, sharp bursts of effort allow you to reach maximum training zones, and that’s the secret to athletic performance.”
If you want to take your fitness to the next level and see results, Forry said Les Mills GRIT Series works well.
“Enjoy spending less time at the gym and reap the benefits of working at your maximum,” she said.
Les Mills GRIT Series features three 30-minute unique workouts for strength, using barbells, weight plates and body weight exercises; plyo, using plyometrics and power agility training; and cardio, using high-impact body weight exercises and no equipment.
Jocelyn Boettner, marketing representative for Etchfit in West Reading, said Etchfit offers programs that are completely new to the area.
“Our model is based on comprehensive testing which allows us to better understand each individual’s strengths, deficiencies, injuries and goals,” she said.
Boettner said Etchfit has medical-grade equipment tests that track critical information, such as body composition, muscle/fat analysis, obesity analysis, segmental lean analysis, extracellular water/total body water analysis, VO2 analysis and functional movement screening.
“The 150-foot turf track provides our athletes with a safe and realistic training surface for speed and agility drills,” she said.
Some of their other equipment includes TRX Suspension Trainer, which gives the user total body workouts that build strength, balance, flexibility and core stability, Boettner said. And the Curve Treadmill, which is fully athlete-operated.
“In others words, the athlete creates forces to move the frictionless belt using his/her own power,” she said. “The curve treadmill provides a workout that is biomechanically and metabolically similar to ground-based running. Athletes have been proven to burn more than 30 percent more calories while running on the Curve compared to traditional treadmills.”
Boettner said they also have, among so much other equipment, a boxing center with a full-sized boxing ring and 50-plus bags for group fitness.
The name of the game in fitness is longevity by a combination of clean eating, plenty of sleep and “prehab” modalities as a regular component to your training, Fogelman said.
“Use of foam rolling, mobility bands and static stretching implemented pre- and postworkout will ensure a much lower risk of nagging injuries and ultimately aid in your recovery between workouts,” he said.
No matter where you decide to work out and what kinds of results you hope to achieve, Ewing said you’ll need to find a workout you genuinely enjoy if you have any hope of sticking with it.
“Finding a trainer or workout that makes you happy is actually really important to weight loss,” she said. “When you enjoy doing it you’ll be more likely to stick with it.”
Losing weight isn’t easy, but it can be done, especially with determination and a good attitude, Ewing said.
Contact Sue Wilson: .