By Art Petrosemolo
It’s that time of year when just about everyone is thinking, “How can I lose the extra weight I put on over the holidays?” Or, for some, there is the New Year’s resolution to eat better and exercise on a regular basis.
In the two river area, there is no shortage of gyms, personal trainers, health clubs, and the like, all looking to help you meet your weight loss and fitness goals. But more often than not, and the professionals at these fitness centers will attest, most individuals may start a program with good intentions but give up when they don’t see instant results.
Getting fit and staying fit isn’t easy and if you don’t believe it, don’t start, the professionals say. First, be sure your doctor agrees with you starting a fitness program; then do your research on options, check your diet, talk to the professionals at fitness centers, and yoga and pilates studios and make a plan.
I had a close sailing friend who always said before we started out on a long cruise, “Plan the sail; sail the plan… and we’ll get to our destination safely.” The same goes with fitness. You need a plan, a goal, and a means to achieve success and then the persistence and fortitude to succeed. Here are some local fitness locations that will give you some options to help you succeed this year.
Lisa Aquino has turned her passion for yoga into a business at Brahma Yoga. For the past eight years, her Sea Bright yoga studio and spa has been catering to adults and children with yoga classes for all levels. Brahma Yoga also runs a 200-hour training program for yoga instructors.
Yoga is a no burn out, stress reducing series of exercises that children as young as three can start to help their balance and focus. “Yoga also works for teens, adults and senior citizens to help fitness, balance and reduce stress,” Aquino says. ”As an added benefit, regular yoga participants find they sleep better too.”
Classes are 90 minutes and taught by certified instructors. There is a warm-up, build-up, back down, relaxation and meditation segment to each class. There are 20 yoga instructors at the site and Brahma specializes in yoga.
“We also have a holistic spa,” Aquino says, “and do massage therapy and a number of other treatments. Being close to the beach we are quite busy in the summer with many vacationing yoga enthusiasts looking for a studio when they are here at the Jersey Shore.”
1050 Ocean Ave., Sea Bright
Fitness Director Diane Karpus says Atlantic Club members love group exercises. With more than 100 classes each week, all open to members as part of their membership fee, there is something for everyone. “Members enjoy the family feeling that comes with exercising with friends in a group setting,” Diane says.
But there is a lot more than group programs at the Atlantic Club. The younger (10 years old) of a two-site fitness operation, Atlantic Club Red Bank is no sleepy sister to the larger Manasquan site. The club has hundreds of visits a day by men and women for one-on-one sessions with one of the three dozen personal trainers, workouts on state-of-the-art aerobic and strength equipment that is updated regularly, group classes, fitness swimming or water aerobics.
Members are given a fitness evaluation and plan as well as complimentary three month assessments whether they chose to work with a personal trainer or exercise by themselves.
The Atlantic Club is an adults-only facility but does provide childcare on site for moms and dads who need someone to keep their children active while they exercise or enjoy the services at the club’s Milagro Spa. The club has a children’s swim team that meets Sunday evenings and occasional short-term programs for teens.
Also, on-site at the Atlantic Club is Crest Physical Therapy for orthopedic and sports rehabilitation. The Atlantic Club supports the program with certified post-rehab trainers to help patients continue rehabilitation.
325 Maple Ave., Red Bank
For years, although there were always small boutique work-out facilities in the area, your option in the two rivers communities to join a full service facility was the Community Y in Red Bank. Linda Ambis is the executive director of the Maple Avenue location. Today, she points out, with the commercializing of fitness and wellness it has become an industry unto itself and there are dozens of focused facilities or larger health club/fitness centers to choose from.
“We recognize the growth in the industry in the past 10 years,” Linda says, “ and have adjusted to meet the needs of our existing members and, at the same time, attract new individual members and families.” The Community Y is big, 60,000 square feet, and open weekdays 17 hours a day to accommodate hundreds of visits.
One of the things that sets the Y apart is its family focus. They have programs for children as young as three months (mommy and me aquatics) to senior citizens with every age group in-between covered too.
The Maple Avenue location has undergone a major renovation in the past year with updates to its lobby, childcare area, fitness studios, Teen Zone and pools. The Teen Zone on the first floor is popular with youngsters who have access to a personalized, interactive fitness location with floor supervision.
Like other large fitness centers, the Y offers classes on land and in the water that run the gamut from cardio, strength, yoga, pilates, cycling to water aerobics.
The Y also offers the largest aquatics program in the area – taught by certified Y and Red Cross instructors – with aquatic fitness sessions for adults and swim lessons for children from three months right up to nationally ranked competitive teams.
“New Y members get a wellness orientation with a plan customized for them,” Linda says, “and it is based on their interests and goals with the hope it will keep them motivated.” Wellness coaches help individuals with equipment and exercises between, or in lieu of, personal training sessions.
The Y staff encourages family participation and helps members find programs that will interest their children or other family members. The popular after school “fit kid,” program, for example, combines 30 minutes of strength and 30 minutes of cardio training. Childcare is available.
“I encourage members to set realistic goals for fitness,” Linda says, “and then to break them down into small bites and to celebrate successes. And above all,” she concludes, “try new things and have fun in the process.”
166 Maple Ave., Red Bank
Mike Duffy Personal Training
Duffy, who has a degree in exercise science and 28 years in the business, has two locations with the Oakhurst operation running for 13 years while the Little Silver site is five years old. Carol Ann, Mike’s wife, handles the phones and appointments while keeping Mike and the other nine personal trainers with clients.
“What sets us apart,” he says, “is our concern with personal nutrition and how we include it as part of our training program.”
Clients sign up for three or six month time periods with two sessions each week with their personal trainer. A specific program is designed by Duffy and his staff to meet individuals’ fitness goals and each session lasts 60 minutes. They also have trainers certified in post-rehab training to help individuals continue their road to full recovery from injuries, operations and initial rehabilitation.
Duffy’s runs the popular “Boot Camp” programs for adults five days a week with a 5 a.m. and evening session. After school Boot Camps for children 8-12 also are popular.
147 Markham Pl., Little Silver
According to Kristina Caswell, who works the front desk at LA Boxing and also works out at the club, there is no other workout that lets you burn 800-1,200 calories in an hour.
“All our instructors have fight (boxing, kick boxing or mixed martial arts) experience,” Kristina says, “and they run intense group sessions.” There are classes all day at LA Boxing’s Shrewsbury location with class size up to 20 men and women.
“It is a challenge,” says Jay Connelly, a lawyer who owns the Shrewsbury and Marlboro facilities with partners, “as the instructors constantly change-up the workout to keep you on your toes with cardio, strength and toning exercises.”
One of the reason individuals enroll at LA Boxing is they get tired of the traditional workouts using treadmills and other exercise machines. They are looking for a new challenge.
Clients usually do a one-hour workout, twice a week, Connelly says. It will include a warm-up, shadow boxing, work on the heavy bag, core workout and a cool down, stretch segment.
“Yes you can get into the ring,” Kristina says, “if you are a member of one of our fight groups or through personal one-on-one training with one of our personal trainers and yes it is a rush.”
150 Shrewsbury Plaza, Shrewsbury
Work Out World
The WOW name is a recognizable brand, according to Anthony Miscia who manages the Red Bank studio on Broad Street, but each site is individually owned. The Red Bank and Tinton Falls locations are owned by the Roma family who have a commitment to fitness.
Lauren Cascio is Red Bank’s head trainer and has a philosophy that stresses “variety” in an exercise program. “We want clients to enjoy the experience,” she says, “and one way to help do that and keep the interested and moving toward fitness and weight goals, is to be sure there are not doing the same thing every visit.”
Cascio says a well-rounded fitness program includes one-on-one sessions with a personal trainer, group classes in programs like pilates, yoga or kick boxing (offered at the Tinton Falls location), and working out on your own. “I help clients develop a varied program that works for them,” she says, “that focuses on their main interests and goals.”
WOW’s Red Bank facility, with aerobic machines overlooking the Navesink River, has a studio feel but includes 30 state-of-the art aerobic and kinesis machines and thousands of pounds of free weights.
30 West Front St., Red Bank