Fitness June 2011


HOT trends for keeping your exercise commitment!

Even though as a culture we have pretty much bought into the concept that exercise is a great thing for everything from weight loss to mental health management, individuals still find it hard to motivate themselves to workout daily. This just proves the fact that knowledge alone is NOT enough to get our butts off the couch! It also brings to light that oftentimes we “get in our own way” and despite our best intentions find that we struggle, often times unsuccessfully, to get ourselves to do something even when we know that it will make us feel better.
The good news is that there are several new exercise options that are growing in popularity for the simple reason that they’re not only successful in helping people to consistently participate in an exercise program, but they’re actually enjoyable (gasp!).

Small group personal training
Personal training came into its own as an industry partly due to Linda Hamilton’s biceps and triceps when she appeared in the original “Terminator” movie and it was revealed that she got those arms from working with a personal trainer in preparation for the movie. Since that time, personal training has established itself as a cornerstone in the fitness industry and provides individuals the option of having someone customize their workouts to maximize results. Unfortunately, due to either finances or scheduling, the option of working with a personal trainer doesn’t always work for everyone.

Enter into the scene the option of small group personal training, a growing trend in the arena. They are basically organized workouts, but instead of one-on-one, it is anywhere from two or more individuals working with one trainer. The trainer customizes the workouts per individual, but the execution is conducted in a small group format. This allows the cost per person to be significantly less than the one-on-one fee normally charged, while allowing more people to train at the most popular time slots in a trainer’s schedule.
Another perk to small group versus one-on-one training is that the group dynamic facilitates “friendly competition” and pushes each individual to work even harder in the group then they would one-on-one (at least this is my personal observation working with small groups and individuals). So the small group trend is a win-win-win on all levels and is available through many personal trainers right here in the Capital Region.

Bootcamp classes/clinics
Another hot, hot, hot, fitness trend is Bootcamp type workouts, especially ones that are conducted either partially or fully in outside venues. Bootcamp type workouts have come into vogue due to the fact that they promise amazing transformative results within relatively short timeframes. They are designed from military recruiting protocols famous for getting the new recruits into fighting shape. Although there is a high risk of injury in these types of workouts, a good instructor will be schooled in how to modify all movements to make them safe for all levels that have been medically cleared to participate.

Bootcamp workouts are great because they actually CAN deliver transformative results; partly due to the fact that the drills require the participants to push themselves beyond what a typical group fitness class offers and partly because psychologically the participants are so focused that the time flies! Many people find the workouts challenging, but in a way that promotes full body satisfaction at the completion, offering mental as well as physical benefits. And, because many of the drills are done with partners, there is a camaraderie and mutual support that is not always available in other types of workouts.

In this area, we have CrossFit, which integrates power lifting techniques as well as military body weight drills; MakeItFit Bootcamp workouts and Bootcamp Group workouts like those offered at my studio and gyms like The Cicotti Youth Center.

Organized walk/run groups
The third growing trend that is motivating many people to head out to the exercise trails and roadways are the expanding number of groups that bring an individual who doesn’t work out to one who successfully completes their first running or walk/run event. These programs typically meet one to two times a week for group trainings and provide an exercise outline for additional workouts, nutrition, etc. that leads to the completion of a previously determined race. The group workouts occur at set times/days and are conducted by “coaches” who have successfully participated in the program and/or have been trained to facilitate this type of group experience.

Just like the previously discussed hot trends, the psychological success of doing something you didn’t think you could do pays back even longer then the effort of the training, and in my opinion, is one of the main reasons why these types of workout programs are gaining in popularity. That, plus the fact that there is a huge social component and many lasting friendships are formed as the result of these programs. 

Our area hosts several wonderful 0 to 5K or half-marathon training programs. One option sponsored by Fleet Feet is “No Boundaries”. A newer addition to the Capital Region is the USAFit running programs that helps locals get ready for the upcoming November Hudson Mohawk Marathon, among other races.

I want to highlight one additional point as to why I feel these three trends are not just “flavors of the month” type workouts. All three workouts have one other factor in common that makes them compelling. Each of them does more than provide a good workout; each one goes beyond that and actually facilitates a change in lifestyle. Many people who come through one of these programs find that they change the fabric of their daily habits (something that is hard to do on your own!). Now, instead of meeting friends for a high calorie brunch, they meet a friend for a 5K run in the park and then go for breakfast after. And who wants to be loaded down after having just experienced an awesome workout with a buddy? So the changes are not just in the moment, they become a change in habits and THAT is where long-term health and weight management resides.

Judy Torel is a USAT coach, personal trainer, nutrition consultant and psychotherapist. Her office is Judy Torel’s Coaching and Training Studio at 116 Everett Road, Albany. She can be reached at 469.0815 or


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