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Natural Awakenings Fairfield Cty/Housatonic Valley, CT

Fitness Success in 2015!: Choose the Right Environment to Achieve Your Goals

Dec 31, 2014 03:44AM ● By Kristen Hallett Rzasa

The new year brings the promise of a clean slate. Freshly crafted resolutions often center on losing weight, hitting the gym regularly and getting into shape. The endless barrage of fitness promotions also begins; for many, choosing the right fitness environment can be daunting and overwhelming.

Personal training is ideal for the person who needs guidance and direction, or simply accountability and motivation. A trainer can provide instruction on the correct way to use equipment and appropriate form and technique.

“A first-time exerciser or someone new to weights is a great client because I can make sure they learn the correct form on all exercises the first time around and I don’t have to use valuable time trying to fix bad form and habits,” says local trainer Tom Romano. “Another great client is the one who is very intimidated by the big gym atmosphere and allows me to help them not only build up their body, but also their self-image and self-confidence.”

Romano works with clients at a private facility in Norwalk as well as in the privacy of clients’ homes in Fairfield and Westchester counties. Using the services of a personal trainer can be pricey, but the education can be well worth the investment for the right person.

Group fitness classes can be the answer for those who are energized by being amongst others and are more likely to stay on track when required to show up on a certain day and time. Most traditional gyms offer a full schedule of group classes that offer variety specifically to attract this type of client. “Group training, either in a small setting or in a gym setting, is cost efficient, allowing many clients to achieve their general training goals,” explains Elizabeth Reed, owner of Monroe-based BodySmart. She encourages clients to “experiment at different facilities and class sizes to find a group class that fits your personality and specific training needs.” Group fitness classes can also be a great choice for those seeking community and fun in their workout routine.

Machines commonly found in a traditional gym setting, such as treadmills, elliptical machines and rowers, can be overwhelming. Using these machines can also be an injury waiting to happen if the equipment is not used properly or the settings are not appropriate for the user. Solo workouts on machines at the gym are best suited for the highly disciplined, as well as those who know what to do and how to properly adjust the machines and execute the movements.

Specialty fitness boutiques and franchises are popping up everywhere. These facilities typically highlight one type of workout such as spinning, barre classes, kickboxing or pole dancing. Travis VandeWater, owner of iLoveKickboxing in Norwalk, says, “The type of client that is best for our class is someone who is either bored or frustrated by the gym. Our classes offer a personal training type of atmosphere but at a fraction of the cost. What makes our class unique to other kickboxing classes is that here you actually get to hit something. In a cardio kickboxing class you get a good cardiovascular workout but that’s it. By doing the workout the way we do it you are able get both a great cardio and resistance workout.” One advantage offered by these locations is that the instructors are often specialists. This can be valuable if someone wants to perfect a particular skill like kickboxing.

Sports leagues for many team sports are available through many town recreation services during different seasons and are a popular option for former athletes and weekend warriors. This is a good environment for people who enjoy being a part of a team and have a competitive spirit. The local town parks and recreation department is a good place to start research into what may be available in your area.

Working out at home is a great option for those with tight budgets or limited flexibility, such as a new mom or someone with an unusual job schedule. Working out at home allows the option to define a workable, yet flexible fitness routine schedule. While this option requires discipline, fitness DVDs are low cost and flexible. There is an unlimited range of fitness DVDs on the market, at the local library or rented via services such as Netflix, so there is sure to be something to appeal to everyone. One downside of the home workout can be that there is no one there to correct your form if you stray from the intended posture so, depending on the workout type, it can be important to pay attention to form or invite potential injury.

The best environment to meet your fitness goals in the new year? It is the one with which you’ll stick. Experiment and find what works best for you.

Kristen Hallett Rzasa is the owner of InterPlay Health, a whole-life wellness company in Norwalk focused on fitness, nutrition and fun for women. She is a Jazzercise instructor, health coach and MELT Method instructor. Connect with her at


Tom Romano • Tom Romano Fitness, LLC
Norwalk • 607-423-3111 • [email protected]    

Travis VandeWater • iLoveKickboxing
Norwalk • 845-399-7569 •

Elizabeth Reed • BodySmart
Monroe • 203-767-0623 •