Programming fitness

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Health club programs pump up energy, enthusiasm


Contributing Writer/COEUR VOICE

At a glance, Alina Portwood appears to be a content and healthy young woman—and by most accounts, she is. But the cheerful 28-year-old has an underlying medical condition that impedes her otherwise active lifestyle.

She has lupus, a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs.

“It makes it very hard to live my life to the fullest,” Portwood says.

Despite the medical setback, Portwood is not taking lupus lying down. That’s why she enrolled in Body Pump, a toning and condition barbell class at Peak Fitness in Post Falls that helps whip participants into shape.

“I was a dancer for years and I’ve always been active and the one time in my life that I wasn’t active was when lupus hit me so hard,” she says.

Portwood just recently started Body Pump, and says she is on course to challenge the disease that threatens her health and, to some extent, her mobility.

“I just want to prove to myself that I have the strength and endurance to continue the class and not give up,” she says.

While she has never been a couch potato and has worked out in the past, Portwood says taking part in a fitness class motivates her differently than just going through a routine solo workout in the gym.

“I would probably have quit halfway through my workouts if it wasn’t for the team effort of the classes,” says Portwood, who also participates in the cycling program (RPM) at Peak. “It’s so motivational and the ‘Come on we just have a few more reps to do mentality’ is so inspirational.”

Portwood said going to the classes by herself was a bit intimidating at first.

“… but if you can get past that intimidation, it’s definitely worth it and it’s a group effort.”

Beating cancer through fitness

Uterine cancer hit Susan Botts hard. Diagnosed in 2013, the illness and treatment took a toll on Botts; she gained 40 pounds, was sluggish and lacked energy and ambition.

Realizing the importance of being healthy, she fought back through embracing fitness. “If you’re not healthy, you’re in big trouble if you get sick,” says the 64-year-old Post Falls resident.

Botts underwent chemotherapy to fight off the cancer and decided to muster the energy to get in shape and fight back against the disease. Fitness classes were the answer.

“I was really, really out of shape, Botts says. “The cancer had changed my whole active lifestyle. I was tired from the chemo and that’s when I put on all the weight.”

Botts says focusing on getting healthy through fitness likely saved her life.

“I truly could not have recovered like I did without getting involved in fitness programs,” she says.

Botts is an active participant is several Peak fitness classes including weight lifting, cardio workouts and more subtle but effective workouts like yoga.

Supplementing a healthier lifestyle

Being active is critical to staying healthy and keeping fit, but good eating habits must also be part of the fitness focus, says Toby Schindelbeck, owner of Nutrishop, a sports nutrition and weight loss shop on Government Way in Coeur d’Alene.

Nutrishop offers sports nutrition products including low-calorie protein shakes and supplements, as well as weight loss products, organic fruits and vitamins.

“Our goal is to help educate clients to learn how to eat correctly,” he says. “Our foundation is meal planning. Supplements definitely work, but if you don’t have a good foundation of meal planning, then the (fitness) results typically come and go.”

Nutrishop’s meal plans for customers include a grocery list, food choices, a sample day, and supplement directions based on individual desires.

In the business since 1998, Schindelbeck owns eight Nutrishop stores.

It’s all goal-oriented, Schindelbeck said.

“If you want to gain muscle or gain weight, we develop a plan for that and provide a menu that includes proteins, complex carbs and other diet essentials and tell (clients) what to eat for a snack, lunch, dinner and also pre- and post-workout nutrition to custom fit their health goals.”

While a majority of Nutrishop shoppers are in the 20 to 40 age range, Schindelbeck said his business attracts people ranging in age from their mid-teens to mid-seventies and beyond.

It’s all about balancing a healthy lifestyle, eating right and choosing supplements that are right for you, Schindelbeck says

Fitness for the 30s, 40s and beyond

Heath Wiltse, general manager and personal training director at Peak in Post Falls, said the health club offers a wide range of fitness classes that are well attended—particularly by women and men in their 30s and 40s.

“That’s our biggest demographic because that age group tends be a little more focused on their fitness,” Wiltse says. However, program participants overall range in age from 15 to 91.

Wiltse says while he has seen enormous success from members at Peak, some have unrealistic expectations.

“A lot of people hang their hat on success thinking, ‘I could be on the cover of a magazine,’” he says. “They say, ‘I’m going to lose 58 pounds in two months,’ and when they don’t hit their goal, they quit. That’s unrealistic. Getting healthy and trimming down takes commitment and time.”

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