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Just like their clients, fitness centers come in all forms, sizes

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CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Fitness centers have continued to evolve to meet the changing needs of members, with group classes becoming more popular. Here, members train during one of the PulseX classes at Steel Fitness Riverport in Bethlehem.
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Fitness centers have continued to evolve to meet the changing needs of members, with group classes becoming more popular. Here, members train during one of the PulseX classes at Steel Fitness Riverport in Bethlehem.

No matter how you slice it, adults who don’t get enough physical activity are more likely to suffer from heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression, high cholesterol and other diseases that often shorten one’s life.

But how much is enough?

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, most adults should engage in at least 150 minutes per week of cardiorespiratory exercise in addition to resistance exercises for each of the muscle groups; weekly strength training; and exercises designed to improve balance, agility and coordination.

“The point is not to do just any one thing,” said Lynn Kreider, founder and president of LJ’s Fitness in Womelsdorf. “They set a high bar, but to have a full-blown impact on your fitness level, you have to make an effort to do more, rather than less.”

Kreider knows her stuff. After winning awards as a bodybuilder and powerlifter, she and her husband, Tim, opened LJ’s in 1989 and since then have seen “loads of changes” in the industry.

Besides an increase in the number of gyms and studios in the region, the variety of ways in which people can choose to stay fit has increased, as well.

“Fitness is cyclical,” Lynn Kreider said. “There may be an influx of powerlifting, then that falls by the wayside and bootcamp fitness or group fitness like jazzercise or Zumba, yoga, kickboxing or spinning becomes popular. Fitness is trendy.”

GETTING PERSONAL

Personal training may have started as a fad for the privileged, but has hung in, and one area business takes that personal attention to a new level.

GymGuyz Lehigh Valley has been in operation for two years. Owned by Aaron Behrens, the franchise has no membership fees and the first visit is free.

Behrens and his team of four other certified trainers travel to their clients in a special van with more than 360 pieces of equipment.

“We offer one-on-one workouts, group instruction or corporate fitness,” Behrens said. “No two workouts are ever the same. Maybe people are busy, have little kids or just don’t like going to a gym. The convenience of this type of workout is what they like most.

ADAPTABLE TO ALL

With her desire to bring physical fitness to all, regardless of fitness levels, Jenn Washburn, co-owner of CrossFit Adoration in Bethlehem is an enthusiastic advocate of cross-training..

“CrossFit works for anyone,” she said. “I have a 9-year-old and a 70-year-old who never did anything like this before. It really is adaptable to everyone, because it’s meant to train you to do the things you do in everyday life.

“You may not be the fastest runner, but if you have to run, you can run. You may not be the strongest, but you can lift and carry things. You are constantly training everything.”

JUST KEEP MOVING

Lose weight, have fun, push yourself to get stronger and be active longer throughout your life – CrossFit can meet all those goals, Washburn said.

Developed around the turn of the century, CrossFit workouts include elements from several exercise routines, including gymnastics, weightlifting, interval cardio training and calisthenics.

CrossFit Inc. is a branded franchise operation with more than 13,000 gyms across the country.

“It’s important to keep moving, and we vary the program every day,” said Washburn, who opened the center four years ago.

STICK WITH IT

Finding the type of workout that suits you and the center in which you feel comfortable will increase the likelihood of sticking with a routine.

That’s why Kreider chose to open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Clients get a key fob and have full use of the facility any time.

To make that feasible, she added fitness-on-demand, a web-based app that allows clients to do cardio or any available class on their own in one of the classrooms or weight room.

“People need encouragers, and they like to feel like they’re part of a community,” Kreider said. “That’s what we offer them here, and what our members say they love. We offer more than just a gym; we offer a way to make fitness a lifestyle.”

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