Participants in the city of Davis' "Body Blast" class, led by instructor Ali Loge, do some stretches as they prepare to shape up their bodies. This class is offered from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at the Veterans' Memorial Center, 203 E. 14th St. It includes a mix of strength training and aerobic exercises, appropriate for all fitness levels. Robert Schultz/Courtesy photo

Local News

New year ushers in Davis fitness classes

By From page A1 | January 04, 2013

With the new year often comes a resolution to get in shape. But even with local resources available to achieve that goal, it often goes unfulfilled.

In fact, losing weight is No. 1 on the list of resolutions made by Americans, according to a 2012 study by the University of Scranton in the Journal of Clinical Psychology. Also noted in the survey is how many people actually report success in their new year’s goal: only 8 percent.

Ali Loge, fitness instructor for the city of Davis’ Community Services Department, has seen first-hand the upswing in participation in exercise classes around this time of the year, and the eventual decline in enrollment.

“People often make these resolutions, and have great intentions when joining the classes,” she said. “Sometimes they continue — I’ve had a few that have stuck with it, and I still teach them — but many drop it. It’s a common trend in gyms and fitness classes.”

For those who are serious about getting fit, she has for two years taught the high calorie-burning “Body Blast” class, which was previously referred to as “Boot Camp.”

But don’t feel threatened by the name, participant Mike Rockwell said; it’s not relentless bombardment.

Maintaining balance by bracing against a wall or taking a moment to breathe is never frowned upon, Rockwell said. Thanks to its noncompetitive environment, he doesn’t hesitate to suggest the class to an exercise newbie.

“You never feel pushed so hard that you’re embarrassed about what you’re doing,” he said. “(Loge) tailors the class toward individual needs, so if you want to push yourself more, you can. If you’re just starting out, she has exercises for that, too.”

The local resident has participated in Loge’s “Body Blast” program since 2011. Rockwell joined the class not because of a new year’s resolution, but as part of a commitment to personal betterment. And he’s stuck with it.

“It just seemed like the right time to change habits and get in shape, eat better and exercise more,” he said. “I’ve lost over 50 pounds with those lifestyle changes. I feel better, have more energy and my overall health has been a lot better.

“It helps that the class makes for a good time. She changes the pace. It’s not the same thing each time. When you’re doing something like the treadmill, it can get kind of boring. This is more of something you look forward to.”

Rockwell also has encouraged his wife, Kathleen, to join the class as well. She has been attending Loge’s class for four months.

“I saw the results he was having,” she said. “When I started, we were doing a skipping warm-up, and I could hardly do it. Now, I’ve gotten good at it — it’s easy to see those little improvements. … The payoff is really something.”

Once just timid beginners, the duo say they missed the class over winter break. “Body Blast” starts up again on Monday and is offered from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at the Veterans’ Memorial Center, 203 E. 14th St.

Besides “Body Blast,” the Vets’ also hosts PM Aerobics and Sunrise Step, Tone & Stretch, which are taught by Ann Smalley. At the same location are AM Yoga and AM Aerobics, taught by Julia Kable.

Yoga Meditation, another city program, takes place at Davis’ Senior Center, 646 A St. The class — which teaches conscious breathing, inner body awareness and spiritual inquiry — is led by longtime yoga instructor Annie Laurie.

The city of Davis has planned a “Fitness Appetizer Night” to offer community members a sample of its classes. It will begin at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, at the Veterans’ Memorial Center. The required preregistration is $6.

But none of these resources alone will ensure that a new year’s resolution is fulfilled. Trust an experienced fitness teacher to speak of the individual determination it takes: “When you try something new, it’s important to continue on with it for at least six weeks, which will give your body time to adjust,” Loge said. “It can be hard, if you haven’t exercised in a while.

“At first it can feel like it’s too much, too tiring. Give it some time, and then you’ll start to see the benefits — increased energy and mood.”

More information on fitness classes can be found online at cityofdavis.org, by navigating to “Special Interest Classes” in Community Services under the “Departments” tab.

— Reach Brett Johnson at [email protected] or 530-747-8052.

Brett Johnson

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