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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

What's Your Fit? Staying in Shape

Health and Fitness / What's Your Fit?
Story by Mary Ann Bullard 

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” This apropos quote from Jim Rohn, American author and motivational speaker, works out perfectly when applied to your overall well-being. 

There are scads of fitness and health clubs scattered over Southern Oregon. You might think they’re all about the same. Taking a closer look, you’ll find something unique about each and every one.

“Club Northwest in Grants Pass is all about serving the whole person in wellness,” says Scott Draper, general manager. “It’s just not physical fitness, it’s emotional, mental, social wellness. Things that are good for the soul.” Amenities that manifest from that philosophy include a full retail art gallery where proceeds go to Options (a program helping emotionally challenged children), Toastmaster’s Club, The Spa, a 60,000 cubic foot kid’s gym, travel agency and Green Team which supports responsible stewardship of the environment.

“Equipment drives our innovative and cutting edge facility, pushing that passion in serving the whole person in wellness,” Draper says. The GyroGym, found only at Club Northwest, is like a giant gyroscope that gives riders an intense isometric workout. “Seniors use GyroGym for spinal elongations and stretching and younger people can pull up to two G-forces on it. We plan on adding a smaller GyroGym so young children will be using that in the Kid’s Zone.” Draper continues, “Our climbing wall is different than most in that it’s self-belaying, meaning it can be used by one person. It’s safer and easier for one person to climb.”

For Marie Quinn, Verve Pilates owner and instructor, the two strengths that make Verve stand out are the Core Strength for Men program and Adaptive Pilates program for the special needs population. “You might think Pilates is just for women, but Joseph Pilates developed this exercise for men back in the day. It’s all about building the core, the powerhouse muscles. We have Pilates for men, taught by men. Using the traditional equipment, it’s the same for men and women. We have a lot of golfers and tennis players as clients, and it’s about efficient and balanced muscle use,” Quinn says from her sunny Medford studio.

Involved with Special Olympics for many years, Quinn, with the help of two coaches, created a program to serve the special needs population and the developmentally disabled. “In Pilates, that mind body connection is really important. It’s training your mind to work with your body, and eventually it becomes muscle retention memory. Research has shown that fitness aspect is related to life quality. These classes also work well for seniors,” she adds.

Family focus is what makes Rogue Valley Family YMCA unique, according to Brad Russell, CEO and executive director. “We do many things to nurture and encourage both kids and adults to live healthy. For example we provide P.E. for homeschool students while parents can work out.” Russell continues, “We offer special classes for those with limited mobility. We’ve dedicated time in the gym each week with volunteers helping to play wheelchair basketball.”

“It’s in our nature to share. For example, we were the first organization to bring Zumba to the valley, and now it’s offered in many places. Our Y was the first to have a UV pool filter. I’m most proud of the people: the 500 incredible volunteers, 200 part-time and very dedicated seasonal staff, delightful members, and the children are precious,” he says proudly.

The New Well manager Danielle Wirkkala emphasizes, “We are not a diet, we are a lifestyle program that teaches you real ways to live healthy. There are no gimmicks, no promises of anything magical and yes it will take real work. It’s all about real food. We are a counseling type of place where women come to us and we give them a plan that covers eating, workouts and relaxation, then sit with them three times a week for a short counseling session.” The program isn’t just for women; male members are welcome too. But the circuit is just for women and intended for women who have not stepped into a fitness facility. Besides this Grants Pass center you may visit a New Well at Blue Sky Plaza in Medford. 

Wirkkala is most proud of the lives she sees truly changed. “Our program allows entire families to eat healthy. So we aren’t just building a healthier person that’s in front of us, we’re building healthier families, and to me that’s wonderful—watching children grow up and have a healthy idea of what food is, what it’s meant to be, and pay attention to what they put in their mouths.”

Another fitting quote comes to mind.

“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.”

- John F. Kennedy.


Club Northwest

2160 NW Vine St., Grants Pass



Verve Pilates

880 Golf View Dr., Medford



Rogue Valley Family YMCA

522 West Sixth St., Medford



The New Well

2160 NW Vine St., Grants Pass


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