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Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
  • Team approach helps people reach fitness and weight-loss goals

  • Anytime Fitness staff and members in Smyrna say "family atmosphere" is key to sticking with workout routines.
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  • Most people know the feeling. When it's time to work out, you say to yourself, "I do it tomorrow" or "I'll start next week." Then you don't. Or maybe you have a great start and stick to your routine for a few weeks, but then your enthusiasm tapers off and you quit.
    So what's the key to keeping on track and making workouts part of your everyday life? Teamwork — according to members and staff at Anytime Fitness which is celebrating its third anniversary in the Simon's Corner shopping center in Smyrna.
    Encouragement helped member lose 80 pounds
    Aaron Schulenburg of Smyrna said the support and encouragement he received at Anytime Fitness helped him lose 80 pounds.
    He joined Anytime Fitness in June 2010.
    "It's actually the first gym I ever belonged to," he said. "I walked in, I think like a lot of people do, knowing I was overweight and knowing I had to do something about it, but with no idea where to start."
    He wasn't in the dark for long, though.
    "Trish (Keller) walked me though how to use the equipment and worked with me on what to do," said Schulenburg. "The trainers they have here are excellent. They tell you different approaches for how to reach your goals and live a healthy lifestyle. They made it comfortable for me."
    He said the teamwork extends beyond the staff.
    "The members here are very encouraging, too," he said. "It's like a family atmosphere. Everyone is working toward the same thing — a healthier lifestyle."
    And "family atmosphere" is a perfect description. Schulenburg's wife and two children have gotten involved in the fitness routine, too.
    "My wife is in yoga classes. She liked how comfortable it was. We've worked this into our routine," Schulenburg said.
    Encouragement from the staff led to he and his wife running the Grinchapalooza 5K together at Smyrna High in December.
    "Trish told us that the race was coming up. Now two years ago, I would have never been able to run a 5K. My wife had never run one, but now our whole mindset has changed. We want to get involved with healthy activities," Schulenburg said. "The staff here does a great job encouraging members to get engaged with events like that in the community."
    Schulenburg said the 5K was a great experience: "We started off as a pack — the whole Anytime Fitness team. We jogged and talked. If you couldn't keep up with one group, you could drop back a run with someone else you knew."
    He and his wife have both benefited from the team approach.
    Page 2 of 3 - "Certainly for both of us, I don't think we could've reached our goals without their support," he said.
    How does it feel after losing 80 pounds?
    "You don't realize how much energy you don't have until you get it back," Schulenburg said. "My energy level is so much higher."
    However, the best part is setting a good example for his children, he said.
    "My three-year-old daughter won't know anything other than us going to the gym on a regular basis and living a healthy lifestyle," he said. "My five-year-old son thinks it's great to come to the gym. He loves it."
    His son, Mason, agreed: "I'm glad I'm part of a team and it's real cool here."
    Schulenburg also uses his lessons from his successful weight loss and fitness experience in his job.
    "The same things apply in a business," he said. "To get results, you have to put in the time and energy and build relationships."
    Working out leads to fitness competitions
    Nikki Novak of Smyrna joined Anytime Fitness when it opened three years ago.
    She's done so well sculpting her body by working out, she entered her first fitness competition in August and she's planning to compete again in May.
    "Everybody has been encouraging me, coaching me, and helping me prepare," said Novak. "They've helped me have more confidence in myself. Without them, I don't think I would have done it at all. And it's not just the staff, it's the members, too."
    Keeping members on their fitness journey
    "The community atmosphere is what's going to keep someone on their journey," said Danny Wandless, a co-owner of Anytime Fitness. "We encourage everyone and take an interest in their progress, and we're there to help when someone says they're not seeing progress."
    The staff talks to each member about what the member's goals are, shows the member how to use the equipment, and demonstrates proper techniques to get the results the member is trying to achieve. Personal trainers are also on the staff.
    "The most important thing is to make coming to the fitness center a habit, at least three to four days a week, and stick to it," said Wandless.
    Having a spouse or friend to work out with is a plus, but even if you don't have a workout partner, the encouragement from the staff can keep you motivated. If you're on your own, you're probably more likely to slack off or not work out, but the "positive peer pressure" of a workout partner and the staff can help you stick to your routine, Wandless said.
    Page 3 of 3 - "There's an unwritten accountability. People know that if they miss a workout, someone will notice and ask them about it, or say that 'We missed you last week' or something like that," said Wandless. "That positive pressure can help keep you coming back."
    Another part of the team approach at Anytime Fitness is encouraging members to get involved in the community, supporting youth sports organizations and participating in fitness events like the Grinchapalooza 5K at Smyrna High or the Delaware Mud Run.
    "It's enjoyable to be together with other people who have the same goals and to participate in events together," Wandless said.
    New yoga class
    One way to take advantage of the team approach is in fitness classes, like the new "flow yoga" class on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.
    The instructor is Brittney Passerell, the community relations and wellness coordinator and also the group fitness instructor at Anytime Fitness.
    She's been teaching yoga since 2009 and started the flow yoga classes in December.
    "We have a lot of fun," Passerell said. "The students are at different levels and so we have ways to modify the poses based on everyone's ability."
    Passerell said flow yoga is an "energizing style where we try to match our breathing with our movement. We work on strengthening poses, balance, and flexibility."
    And what's the advantage to taking a class as opposed to working out at home on your own?
    "We laugh with each other. We encourage each other. We cheer each other on," said Passerell.
    Other classes at Anytime Fitness include Zumba and core workouts. Wandless said the center also plans to start classes focused on senior citizens

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