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A group that sweats together
sees results together

The task wasn’t an easy one.

The women participating in an Adventure Fit Camp session at the Sanford Women’s Health Center lay flat on their backs and had to curl their left knees and right elbows toward each other all while holding weights in their right hands.

“One two three ”

The voice counting the repetitions and keeping everyone on pace didn’t belong to the trainer overseeing the workout. Instead, it reverberated from one of the participants—a fitting scene capturing the essence of Adventure Fit Camp.

In Adventure Fit Camp, rigorous six- to eight-week fitness and nutrition programs developed and coordinated by certified personal trainers at the Sanford Women’s Health Center, participants form camaraderie and a support system with one
  Emily Vasey, personal trainer and Twila Tharp during exercise
Emily Vasey, Sanford Women's Health Center certified personal trainer, assists Twila Tharp during an exercise.
another bonded with sweat and sore muscles. They hold one another accountable, and they keep one another going even when one thinks she no longer can. Results follow.“It’s a lot harder to push yourself training on your own,” said Karen Kreil, a two-time enrollee in Fit Camp. “I get a much better workout with the group and guidance from the personal trainer.”

Kreil isn’t the program’s only repeat participant. In this particular session, which met at 5:30 three mornings a week, four had completed a previous Fit Camp together. After starting as relative strangers, the women became perfectly comfortable correcting one another’s form during an exercise or offering suggestions.

All of them agree that, together, they—along with the trainers’ help—bring out more in one another than they ever could alone. To let up during the workout is to let down the entire group.

Emily Vasey
Emily Vasey
personal trainer

  “The group gives each other such motivation and support,” said Shawnda Ereth, a two-time Fit Camper. “If something is tough when I work out on my own, I sometimes don’t do it. With the group, I push through it because the other women are there going through it with me.”

Emily Vasey, Sanford Women’s Health Center program development coordinator and certified personal trainer, knows the power of working out in a group, which is one of the reasons she developed Adventure Fit Camp.

“For me, training is all about educating the clients,” Vasey said. “You can work your clients hard in the hour you have them, but it’s the healthy choices they make on their own that make the biggest difference.”

Those right decisions come easier with the support of the group. For example,
participants often meet on their own away from the scheduled sessions to complete the off-day workouts the trainers assign.

Fit Camp weaves in nutrition with the workouts. Each week of the session has a differentbasic nutrition focus such as fruits and vegetables, dairy, whole grains, water or protein. Participants track their meals and workouts in binders they hand in, which provides another level of accountability.

Frequently, the trainers will give the participants general tips and advice on recent sessions. Halfway though the Adventure Fit Camp, trainers meet one-on-one with each participant for a half hour to discuss progress and areas of concern. To ensure everyone receives individualized attention, trainers keep their Adventure Fit Camps small.

The trainers want the participants to reach their short-term fitness goals and aim to equip participants with a fitness toolkit to use going forward.

Vasey reports all of her campers have shown marked improvement in strength and cardiovascular fitness. One has shed 22 pounds and 5 percent of her body fat.

With the early success of the program, which started March 2011,Vasey and the other Sanford Women’s Health Center trainers plan to consistently offer Adventure Fit Camp. The next one will be a special four-week session Nov. 21—Dec. 16 for the holidays. Another full session will begin in early January. Also, the trainers have started opening up more of their schedules to group training rather than one-on-one sessions.

As the Fit Campers know, the buddy system works.

“Being in a group, I don’t want to miss a day,” said Twila Tharp, a two-time enrollee in Adventure Fit Camp. “You form friendships you normally wouldn’t, and it keeps you motivated.”

Click here for more information on Sanford Women's Health Center or call 701.323.6376. Also, follow the health center on Facebook by searching Sanford Women’s Health Center.


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