The Consumer Doctor: New, improved body and new bedding bargains | Business


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For the upcoming new year, this column focuses on tips for selecting a workout gym and a personal trainer and how to save money on bedding.

Is working out consistently your New Year’s resolution? Based upon most research, the No. 1 New Year’s resolution is living healthier by working out. So what do the experts say to make this resolution possible?

According to Lenox Fit Inc. owner and President Suzanne Merritt, “One key to meeting your New Year’s resolution is realizing that being fit is a lifestyle and finding a fitness center that meets your needs is most important. It should be a place that keeps you motivated all year.”

James McMahon, client services manager of Bousquet Sport in Pittsfield, believes the location of a gym is very important.

“If the facilities are near your workplace or where you live, your chances to continue on a more regular basis are enhanced,” McMahon said.

He pointed out that many of Bousquet Sport’s clients find themselves developing friendships with other clients or their employees which also is another motivator.

Teddy Savage, the national lead trainer for the Planet Fitness company, said, “The first thing you want to look for in a club to motivate you is to find one that has a welcoming environment, is clean, well-equipped and has a friendly staff there to help you … where everyone belongs regardless of their fitness level or experience.”

One misconception is that there is a one-size-fits-all program, but there is no such thing.

“Each place is unique and if you are told otherwise, a red flag should go up,” said Lenox Fit’s Merritt.

Selecting a fitness center

With many fitness centers in the county, what else should you look for?

“My advice is to make sure your personal goals and your fitness center’s goals are realistic,” Merritt said.

Next, find out what offerings the facilities have. Do they have classes? Is there circuit training? Do the facilities have cardio machines and free weights? What about child care services if you have young children?

Other questions Merritt raised are: What is your budget? What is included in your membership? What is the quality of the facilities? What equipment is available? How up-to-date is the equipment and is it being maintained? Who is doing the training? Are they certified? What is the overall atmosphere of the staff? What is their protocol in requiring gym members to clean off workout equipment after using it?

Bousquet Sport’s James McMahon pointed out that some health clubs’ prices may be lower than others because classes aren’t included.

Bousquet Sport, formerly Berkshire West Athletic Club, includes classes with a fitness membership. Planet Fitness and Lenox Fit also include classes in their memberships.

What a facility offers beyond fitness equipment and classes may also be a factor in guiding your selection. Bousquet Sport has tennis and pickleball courts. In addition, there are expansion plans for a swimming pool and basketball courts. McMahon said Bousquet Sport just acquired eight new treadmills and six to eight new elliptical machines. Bousquet Sport also provides nutrition education. 

Savage said Planet Fitness has a “HydroMassage bed, massage chairs and an app that helps with your fitness experience.” 

Merritt’s Lenox Fit caters toward adults and does not have childcare services based upon that “adult niche.” It also has a wellness and recovery room including a cryotherapy chamber, full spectrum jacuzzi, infrared sauna, and Normatec Leg Compression sleeves and hip compression attachment sets. 

On-site personal trainers

In my opinion, the most important criterion beyond facilities relates to the personal training staff. Here are three questions which may help you decide.

First, are trainers visibly around to help you if you have a question on how to use a particular type of equipment?

The second question is if you are seeking a session with a person trainer, can your personal needs and goals be met by them?

Third, what is your budget for a session with a personal trainer? This may be determined if you want to pay more for a one-to-one experience or split your time with a friend and save money. Having a friend with you is a motivating factor but will take away time if you need full attention from the trainer. This decision depends upon your preferential needs and what you are willing to spend.

Merritt mentioned that you can save money if the facility has packages where you pay less per session if you sign up for more sessions with the trainer.

What else should you look for in a personal trainer? After considering this question, each of the three fitness experts interviewed responded with their own unique perspective.

Bousquet Sport’s McMahon said to look for experience: See if they appear friendly and knowledgeable about the techniques and can explain which equipment is best for you. Also, do you need a specialist? For example, maybe you require a certified corrective exercise trainer. This type of specialist is able to assess an individual’s strengths and weaknesses and then develops an exercise program around it, which Bousquet Sport has at its facility.

Certification is another key factor in your decision. All three facilities have certified trainers. However, some certification may be better than others.

They all have trainers certified by either NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine), ACE (American Council on Exercise), NCSF (National Council on Strength and Fitness), ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine), ISSA (International Sports Science Association) and AFAA (Athletic and Fitness Association of America). All of these are considered to be a gold standard in the industry.

I know this is a lot to digest. But in order to meet your New Year’s resolution this time, if you make the right choice, you will be continuing your workout program beyond just a month or two.

Just so you know, each of the facilities discussed, as well as others in the county, all have different equipment, facilities and approaches. I am not recommending one facility over another. That is for you to do. However, I will say, the key to your success is to see if your prospective fitness center has any trial offer promotions. In this way, you can try it out and see if it is a fit for you.

Hope to see you at the gym!

January is a good time for bedding

Be on the lookout for deals in bedding this month. Starting Jan. 9, Bed Bath & Beyond will have 25 percent off select bedding, bath and storage, according to the corporate office. Check out their January circular or visit online

Also, Kohl’s corporate office recommended checking out the Lenox store and website since details have not yet been formulated at the time of this writing. Personally, I would keep my eyes peeled for other sales at your favorite retail bedding stores and their online websites this month.

Rx tip for saving: See if the fitness center you are considering has any discounts for students, military personnel, senior citizens or new members? Also, many fitness centers have reduced rates if you sign up for the year or for a six month plan.

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