When it comes to health clubs, Lake Park Swim & Fitness (LPSF) easily exemplifies multiple meanings of the term “heart.” With February being The Centers for Disease Control’s American Heart Month, personal fitness and overall health are the focus of the programs LPSF offers.
This month, small group training takes center stage. With only eight to 10 people per group, it offers many advantages. While the group sessions are still “coached” fitness, conducted by a personal trainer, they make training sessions more affordable while retaining personal qualities.
“We’re offering a program this month with up to 10 people training as a group twice weekly with a trainer, and this includes nutrition and weight loss elements,” said Jane Dias, co-owner/manager of LPSF with colleagues Felicia Christianson and Megan Collins. “By combining the team support of small group training with some nutrition classes, we are focused on helping members get results whether that’s a shrinking number on the scale, dropping a few pants sizes or simply making better food choices for a healthier lifestyle. Everything we do every single day is helping people to have healthier hearts.”
Strength in numbers
The social aspect of the small group training sessions is just as important as the training itself.
“The advantages are camaraderie, obviously, and the coaching of a certified personal trainer, plus holding each other accountable because you’re a team working together,” Dias said. “And you get to know people, so you’re making friends, like the buddy system. Since the trainer will make the group try new exercises and safely push them outside their comfort zones, the emotional support of a team setting helps to keep the ‘I can’t’ attitude to a minimum. Plus the more the merrier — group training is fun!” Additionally, because Dias, Christianson and Collins feel so strongly about the importance of personal training on overall health, they are now making training available to non-members as well.
They’re not alone in their thinking. Jennifer MacAdam-Miller of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reinforces their point on the effectiveness of this kind of training: “The buddy system may be the answer for those whose idealism doesn’t match their ability to persevere. Experts say that weight-loss and exercise partners provide a combination of competition, accountability and support that almost ensures success.”
MacAdam-Miller further emphasized the importance and success of the buddy system with research: “In a recent study of married couples who joined health clubs together, Jack Raglin, an associate professor of kinesiology at Indiana University, found that couples who worked out separately had a 50 percent dropout rate after a year; whereas couples who went to the gym together, regardless of whether they focused on the same type of exercise, had only a 10 percent dropout rate.”
Another aspect of “heart” at LPSF is evident in the social environment that goes along with the training. It not only draws people to Lake Part Swim & Fitness, it keeps them coming back again and again.
“The hardest part for most people is simply walking through the front door to join a health club,” Christianson said about prospective members. “The number one thing we tell people is to find a place where you feel comfortable. We encourage people that it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process. Come on in. We’re going to hold your hand through this process.”
The “heart” of LPSF is also found in every staff member’s personal desire to help their members feel comfortable in a fitness environment as well as with the personal training. “We don’t want people to feel alone,” Collins said. “It’s what makes a club setting ideal. It’s what makes small group training or personal training a ‘results-driven’ experience. And it’s why our group exercise classes — all 80 weekly included in membership — are so popular!”
Young and old alike
In an effort to accommodate both younger and older generations, Lake Park Swim & Fitness tailors its schedule to suit the availability of members. With over 80 group exercises to choose from weekly, they make classes available to all ages and all abilities. In this way, LPSF is keeping up with the times. Jeanne Faulkner’s article on QualityHealth.com reinforced the idea that many fitness centers like LPSF are developing age-appropriate programs for all demographics:
“Check in with most gyms today and you’ll find age appropriate exercise classes designed specifically for seniors and children, but also a wider variety of classes targeting adults in their 20s through 50s. Rock climbing and cardio-boxing are designed to appeal to the 20- and 30-somethings (though all ages are welcome) while Zumba seems to appeal more to 30- and 40-something women. Silver Sneakers® classes are customized for the over-60 and specifically focused on flexibility, balance, and strength training along with aerobics.”
While the age groups at the club may vary, members are brought together by the sense of community that LPSF enjoys. “We are truly a community between our members and our staff. We have coffee together in the lounges,” Dias said. “We have groups of members that do holiday parties outside of the club. They celebrate milestones, birthdays inside the club. The care and concern for those who are hospitalized or who have passed away is amazing.”
Prevention is the best medicine
Of course, much of what LPSF focuses on is keeping members healthy and out of the hospital. Part of that involves promoting heart health awareness. Collins explained there are numerous things people can do for their cardiovascular health, which follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
According to the CDC website: “Heart disease is a major problem. Every year, about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack. About 600,000 people die from heart disease in the United States each year — that’s 1 out of every 4 deaths. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.”
The CDC recommends the following preventative measures:
- Eating a healthy diet.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Exercising regularly.
- Monitoring your blood pressure.
- Don’t smoke.
- Limit alcohol use.
- Have your cholesterol checked.
- Manage your diabetes.
- Take your medications.
- Talk with your healthcare provider.
Every club has equipment, every club has trainers. LPSF has what some other clubs don’t have: community support and a non-intimidating environment.
They also have a really big swimming pool.
“We do offer a 25-yard lap/junior Olympic sized pool,” Christianson said. “It’s ideal for the elite athlete, for anyone rehabbing an injury, or for the older adult who simply wants to walk in the water.” These perks, along with free towels and coffee, locker room amenities, and over 80 classes to choose from weekly, make LPSF really stand out from the fitness center crowd.
But the biggest difference, what really sets them apart from other clubs, is just how much the staff cares about the members. It starts with the owners. “The ‘heart’ of Lake Park Swim & Fitness is our desire, goal, mission of taking care of our members,” Dias said. “Knowing their names and their situations, supporting them in their times of needs, celebrating their times of successes; simply knowing them and being with them on their entire journey both inside and also outside the club.”
If you think you’d like that kind of support on your journey, stop by Lake Park Swim & Fitness today. Check out the facilities and talk to the members and staff. You’re sure to find that the community there will take your fitness goals to heart.
- Aqua Dance
- Aqua Fit
- Aqua Intense
- Aqua Zumba
- Body Blast
- Butts n’ Guts
- Core CRUSH**
- Cycle & TRX
- FIT Body
- Fit Lite
- H2O Challenge
- Kettlebell Bootcamp
- Group Cycle/Sunrise Cycle
- RoadFit Cycle
- Sculpt Amp’d
- Total Body Conditioning
- TRX & KB
A complete description of the listed exercise programs can be found at http://lakeparkfitness.com/Pdf/Descriptions.pdf
Unless otherwise noted, exercise programs are 60 minutes.
* 50 minutes
** 45 minutes
Sources: Centers for Disease Control. Prevention: What you can do. May 9, 2013. Retrieved from http://cdc.gov/heartdisease/what_you_can_do.htm
Faulkner, Jeanne. “Age-appropriate exercise classes: A growing trend.” QualityHealth®.com. April 12, 2011.
Go AS, Mozaffarian D, Roger VL, Benjamin EJ, Berry JD, Borden WB, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2013 update: A report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2013; 127(1):e6-e245.
MacAdam-Miller. “Buddy system for exercising helps partners stay the course.” St. Louis Post Dispatch. Jan. 16, 2002.
730 Lake Park Road, Menasha
For a complete listing of LPSF’s programs, services and free amenities, visit