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A new take on fitness

Cedar Crest changes improve fitness, confidence of members

Created date

April 26th, 2011

Fitness Specialist Ryan Donahue sets his stopwatch for 30 seconds. His client, 85-year-old Gil Dorfman, performs as many bicep curls as he can. The stopwatch beeps; 30 seconds is up. Dorfman has improved since last month increasing the number of reps by five. Donahue, a fitness specialist and personal trainer at Cedar Crest s Village Square fitness center, trains with Dorfman for a half hour three times a week. Dorfman came to him after a six-month hiatus from any exercise routine. He s been with me for two months and is back to the shape he was in before. He s walking better, he s stronger, and his confidence level has greatly improved, Donahue says. From Dorfman s point of view, he couldn t agree more. Ryan [Donahue] has made all the difference in the world I m sleeping better, I m feeling better, and it s all due to Ryan and the fitness center. Donahue s personal training program is part of a new initiative to improve the Cedar Crest fitness center experience. The Pompton Plains community, built and managed by Erickson Living, started making noticeable changes last year, including changes to the membership structure, an additional location on campus, and the introduction of new programs and classes.

Three levels

The Cedar Crest fitness centers operate on three membership levels: individual, assisted, and personal training. According to Donahue, individual membership provides use of all classes and fitness center equipment but no assistance with machines or exercise routines. Cedar Crest s monthly service fee includes individual membership to both on-site fitness centers, in addition to covering 24-hour-a-day, 7-days-a-week apartment maintenance, one meal a day in any of the community s restaurants, and use of all campus facilities. Assisted membership, which costs $10 a month, provides an additional level of supervision and instruction when using exercise machines. A fitness specialist evaluates everyone when they start using the fitness center. If we feel they need instruction and guidance, we assign a trainer to work with them on each machine to assure they are using it correctly, Donahue says. Most people graduate to individual membership after about 60 to 90 days. Personal training, the newest and most customized membership level, costs $15 for each 30-minute training session. Members work with a personal trainer to develop goals and a workout plan to achieve those goals, as well as one-on-one training. Donahue says goals range from losing a few pounds to increasing upper body strength. After developing their goals, I do an assessment such as how many chair stands or bicep curls they can complete in 30 seconds, Donahue says. They then develop an individualized workout plan with certain exercises and the number of times they will meet each week. In two months, I ll do another assessment which measures their strength and ability again.

Popular programs

The personal training program started a year ago. It has really taken off, says Donahue. Nearly 40 clients train either in the Village Square or Belmont fitness centers with Donahue or his colleagues Colleen Ferguson and Tiffany Taylor. Ferguson and Taylor also train clients in-home for 45-minute sessions. Other exercise options include group classes like tai chi, yoga, stretch and tone, Zumba, aqua Zumba, gyrokinesis, falls prevention, cardio circuit, and stretchercize. We offer a bunch of classes, and they are very active and very full, Donahue says. He says no matter what membership level or exercise style people choose, attitude makes all the difference. Confidence is the hardest part, he says. A lot of people have never used a gym before, so the more they are in here, the more [their confidence level] increases. I find that after just a couple months, their confidence level rises to the top. For Dorfman, Donahue s statement rings true: If you want to live longer, come to Cedar Crest.