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Feature photo by LocalFitness

Your New Year’s resolution was to shed a few pounds so you looked good at the lakefront this summer, but by the time Groundhog’s Day rolled around you hadn’t hit the gym in weeks. Now that summer’s right around the corner, you’re ready to shed those extra winter pounds fast.

I’ve faced that problem many times and always had a hard time finding something that stuck. I tried buying fitness DVDs and equipment to work out at home. I joined a Weight Watchers program at work. I signed up for a gym memberships. My attempts at losing weight always resulted in a few shed pounds that came right back again.

As a last ditch effort to lose weight before my wedding, I decided to join a fitness class offered by Unicus Fitness called Wedding Boot Camp, and I was pleasantly surprised when they whipped me into shape. Not only was I able to drop a dress size in about a month, but I felt healthier and more energetic throughout the day.

In an attempt to find out more about what made this class more successful than my other weight loss attempts, I spoke with the trainer of my class, Will Sadural, about how classes like their Beach Body Emergency and Wedding Boot Camp classes can help people like me shed weight.

As a trainer, what are some common mistakes you see clients making when they’re trying to lose weight?

I have been a personal trainer for more than 6 years now. The one common mistake I see in people trying to lose weight is their lack of dedication to nutrition. Many go about their weight loss programs implementing exercise routines without proper changes to their diets. Exercising without making healthy lifestyle changes to diet is like running a race in concrete shoes. It’s setting yourself up for failure. How many times have you said to your husband/wife/friend, “Hey what do you NEED to eat?” 10 out of 10 times you ask, “Hey what do you WANT to eat?” Food is a basic human need, but we as a society have turned it into a want, full of saturated fats, salts, sodium, and empty calories.

Does you offer nutritional guidance too?

We do offer nutritional guidance through our online nutrition software. Many people don’t have a lot of time and are always on the go. Our online nutrition software allows for our clients to not only log their food, but receive a grade on their logs, flip through quick and easy recipes, print out grocery lists, and instill a healthier lifestyle. Research shows that individuals that actively journal and plan their meals achieve better results than those that simply follow a published plan.

For those that are just starting to incorporate fitness into their lives, can they jump right in to any program, or do you recommend starting slow at first?

When beginning any exercise program, starting slow is always a precaution to avoid not only injury, but aggravate any health concerns. Jumping right into a workout after an absence from physical activity can cause nausea, feelings of lightheadedness, and dizziness if pushed too hard. A physician’s approval is always needed if any medical conditions are present in the client. Unicus Fitness exercise programs rely only on intensity. For this reason, we welcome the enthused fitness-goer to keep breathing, keep moving, keep constant resistance on the muscle and when they need to stop and catch their breath, they can. We encourage our clients to push themselves to their own levels of intensity and not beyond their range of physical limit. As time goes on and they continue with the workouts, they will not only feel the difference in their breathing, but difference in strength and the way their clothes fit. Starting out slow is always better than not starting at all.

What do you consider the benefits of working out in a class setting as opposed to going to the gym on your own?

Working out in a class or boot-camp setting has many benefits. Patient information published in 2005 in the Journal of American Academy of Physician Assistants suggests that people exercise with a partner or group because they “are more likely to stay on track.” Class exercise or boot-camps push each individual’s motivation to be able to compete whether they believe it or not, against one another. Competition is a natural human instinct that drives people to perform better. Also, working out in boot-camp settings builds friendships and through these friendships builds a sense of belonging and camaraderie. Because of these group settings, they can say they did it. You don’t get support by working out on your own. Finally the structure of class allows a more complete full body routine designed by the fitness professional, whereas on your own is a matter of what you read in a magazine or seen others doing.

What types of exercises does you teach in class and how are they more beneficial than say, using the elliptical for a half hour?

We utilizes two exercise methodologies. One is Time Under Tension and the other Mechanical Inefficiency. Time Under Tension is a method that works by keeping a specific muscle under a form of resistance or tension that naturally increases a person’s heart rate to meet the energy response needed to keep up the exercise. Mechanical Inefficiency is a method that simulates the human body as a car. Naturally that car wants to drive on open roads, no stopping, no traffic, and burn it’s fuel efficiently. If we can put that car or your body through stop and go traffic, or various types of exercises, the fuel will be used up inefficiently thus burning more calories per minute. 30 minutes on an elliptical can be a great workout, but once the body adapts to its stimuli especially cardiovascular adaptation, it becomes wasted time and effort. This is the reason why you see people on treadmills and ellipticals for hours and hours, their bodies are so used to it. 30 minutes of Unicus Fitness exercise programming is more beneficial in that the body can not adapt to the stimuli because the stimuli or exercise changes everyday. If the body can’t adapt, it will continue to burn more fuel and burn more calories.

While I realize personal training services are not an option for everyone, they are something I can honestly say changed my life. I found that the monthly weigh-ins and tracking of my body’s stats helped me to realize just because the number on the scale may not be lower each time I weigh in, my body is still changing, and it is a gradual process. The classroom setting held me more accountable for showing up and working out three times a week. While it is a bit expensive, especially in this economy while I’m reluctant to spend money, I decided that I needed to make a lifestyle change and would need to make some sacrifices to get results. In my case, I adjusted my budget and used the money I would normally spend on lunches and dinners out towards my fitness class. Even if you find that fitness classes are not the right choice for you, I hope that my experience can help you to make a positive change in your life.

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