Getting with the programs

AMY LUKE/FOR THE DAILY GAZETTE

A 60 Minute Orange Theory Workout class takes place at Orangetheory Fitness in Schenectady on December 30, 2016.AMY LUKE/FOR THE DAILY GAZETTE A 60 Minute Orange Theory Workout class takes place at Orangetheory Fitness in Schenectady on December 30, 2016.

BY INDIANA NASH

Gazette Reporter

NISKAYUNA- January is resolution month. People tend to look into the coming year with a sense of hopeful determination. The most common resolutions revolve around getting into or staying physically fit.

According to Nielsen, 37 percent of people make resolutions to stay fit and healthy and 32 percent of people make resolutions to eat healthier.

In Niskayuna, there are a few ways people are trying to make those resolutions more than temporary hopes for 2017.

For resident Kim Mousaw, her goal is to keep up with her previous year’s resolutions.

Three years ago, she struggled with her weight and finally decided to brave going to a gym.

After working out with a personal trainer at Vent Fitness in Niskayuna she lost 80 pounds within a year.

“I really want to maximize the changes I’ve made. I want to lose another 15 pounds and strengthen my muscles,” Mousaw said.  

Mousaw is not alone in her resolution or in her renewed sense of dedication to fitness.

According to Patricia Washington, who manages Vent, their class sizes doubled the day after Christmas.

“On Monday [December 26] we usually have about twenty people per spin class and we had 40,” said manager of Vent Fitness Pat Washington.

For the past five years, Vent’s Niskayuna branch has been seeing this increase shortly after the holidays.

“Members who have been slacking off come in more often and then we get a lot of new members,” Washington said.

The gym focuses on a variety of classes, from personal training to spin classes to group training.

“Luckily we have a pretty large facility,” Washington said. Depending on the increases in class size that they see in January, Vent may end up adding classes. Although, at this point, Vent already schedules upwards of 25 classes a day.

Orangetheory Fitness is also seeing a hyper focus on fitness surrounding the New Year.

True to its name, the gym is swathed in a dim orange glow, the walls are splashed with orange and the coaches sport the hue.

Mike Altieri, who manages the various branches of Orangetheory across the Capital Region, said that as the beginning of the year hits and the Niskayuna branch starts to see an influx of people coming into work out they may be adding classes to their schedule.

However, while they see an increase this time of year, they see their biggest increases in February.

“People go to other gyms and don’t get the results they’re looking for because they don’t know what to do,” Altieri said.

The theory behind the orange fitness brand is based upon heart rate tracked throughout interval training.   

“We hook everyone up to Bluetooth heart rate monitors . . . and they can track their progress on these screens as they’re working out,” Altieri said.

During every session (each session lasts an hour) the target is to maintain an 80% heart rate level for 12 minutes or more, which is displayed in the (you guessed it) orange bar.

The class is based on an interval training, with some people running/walking on treadmills, others on rowing machines, some doing weights or push-ups, etc.  

“Then as soon as you’re done we display the results of the session,” Altieri said.

Each member can see where their heart rate was at each point in the class and about how many calories they burned.

“Research has proven that it you can bring your heart rate up in that 80% range for at least 12 minutes a day then your body will burn more calories for the next 36 hours,” Altieri said.

As residents plan for vacations and for the short sleeves and shorts of warmer weather, burning calories becomes a priority.

It was that sort of thinking that made John DiGregorio join the Niskayuna branch last year.

“I ran into a friend of mine who looked great and I had a vacation to go on so I asked him where he went,” DiGregorio said.

He planned to join Orangetheory for a month or two, just to get in better shape for his vacation.

“But I ended up staying. You just get hooked. It enforces a healthy lifestyle and helps me to maintain it. They know everyone by name there and it’s like a family,” DiGregorio said.

He also appreciates the various challenges that Orangetheory does over the year.

“There’s a Hell week in January that I’ll be doing,” DiGregorio. While these aren’t required of members, the coaches hand out different challenges through the year in anticipation of the company’s weight loss competition and other competitions.

Right next to Orangetheory resides another fitness center, but this one has a different focus.

There’s an absence of an orange glow, although the lights aren’t necessarily bright. Although, with the sessions running around 90 to 95 degrees, no one would want them any brighter.

At Power Yoga New York, the focus of the workout is connecting the mind and the body using the Baptiste method of yoga.

“It’s a full body workout and it reaches people on all levels,” said instructor Michela Mosso.

Power Yoga is the only Baptiste Affiliate studio in the Capital Region and it’s one of the biggest reasons people are drawn to the studio.

“We go through the Journey into Power Sequence,” said Raquel Parisi, who runs the studio.

It’s a method that focuses on bringing the heart rate up through a series of poses.

While the studio does see an increase in clients this time of year, Parisi said that the studio’s 40 Days to Personal Revolution program is really what incentivizes people and draws them into the Baptiste method.

“It kick-starts a way of being. . .  We have had quite a few people that have tried this for the first time and have tried Baptiste for the first time through this. It has boosted some clients confidence. People have also toned and sculpted their bodies through it,” Parisi said.

The program focuses on abstaining from certain foods and on eating mindfully.

Beyond the yoga sessions, there is also a community of people who are going through it together who meet every week with a difference Baptiste focus to discuss.

“There’s a community support component as well that really helps people,” Parisi said.

Roxanne Speck, tried the 40 Day program in January 2015 as a way to get healthier. After the program, she stayed on with the studio and is now a certified teacher.

“It kick-started me into continuing with Baptiste Yoga.  I found it was good for both my body and mind. . . I wanted to challenge myself physically and mentally,” Speck said.

The studio usually starts the program in early January. But this year they’re waiting until January 24.

“I don’t want to bring politics into this, but this year [2016] has been a tough year. So we want to kinda let the dust of the year settle before we start,” Parisi said.  

AMY LUKE/FOR THE DAILY GAZETTE Class attendees hit the rowing machines during a 60 Minute Orange Theory Workout class at Orangetheory Fitness in Schenectady on December 30, 2016.

AMY LUKE/FOR THE DAILY GAZETTE
Class attendees hit the rowing machines during a 60 Minute Orange Theory Workout class at Orangetheory Fitness in Schenectady on December 30, 2016.