November 30, 2004
Men Working Out
Neighborhood gyms offer guys quick cardio and strength programs
Bob Siegrist has never had a weight problem. But when at age 47 he found he had gained a few pounds and couldn't go up a flight of steps without getting winded, he knew he needed to become active.
About two months ago, a men-only gym called Cuts Fitness for Men opened near his home in Albuquerque's Northeast Heights. Siegrist decided to give it a try.
Similar to the popular Curves for Women program, Cuts is one of several studio-type gyms that feature structured circuit workouts.
Cuts members make three circuits of a 16-station workout that alternates hydraulic weight machines with cardiovascular equipment.
The entire process takes about 30 minutes, plus a cool down and stretch.
Another circuit-based workout fairly new to Albuquerque is The Blitz.
Also in the Northeast Heights, The Blitz combines strength training with boxing and martial arts in a 20-minute workout.
After two months on his program, Siegrist says, it's "something I can stick with." He has lost some weight and he says he has noticed a difference in his strength and stamina.
Think corner pub
On a recent Monday night, a steady stream of men filed into the small but bright Cuts studio on Montgomery Boulevard NE.
All were greeted by name by franchise owner Heather Naro.
A petite Canadian native in her 30s, Naro says she and her husband, Mitch, were looking for a business opportunity in the States after spending 12 years overseas teaching.
Mitch Naro grew up in Albuquerque and the couple decided the weather was better in New Mexico than in Canada, so they settled here.
While researching options that would suit them -- Heather has a master's degree in physical education and Mitch's degree is in history -- they found Cuts and decided it was a match.
According to the company's Web site, Cuts is based on the principal that fitness promotes a healthy lifestyle and that exercise in a comfortable, safe and friendly environment is the key to success for many men typically uninspired by traditional gym settings.
Heather Naro says she views the gym as a "local pub" facility, where everyone knows each other and that is close enough to members' houses for them to drop in on the way home from work.
Just do it
Chuck Marple, 58, says he found out about the gym when he painted a sign for the business.
He says he has belonged to several gyms in the past, but the attractive part of the Cuts program is that there is no wasted time in the workout.
"You get in, do your 30 minutes and you're out."
The equipment adjusts automatically to the participant's fitness level and uses double positive resistance, Naro says, which not only works opposing muscle groups but also alleviates soreness.
Each new member is given an extensive orientation on the machines as well as an analysis of body fat, and measurements are taken. Re- testing is done every five weeks, Naro says.
While some of Naro's clients haven't been active before, many are looking for "something different" and something that doesn't take a lot of time.
"They are busy men who are trying to juggle a family and work and they're stressed," she says.
Donna Pedace, who with her husband, Bill, owns The Blitz on Juan Tabo NE, agrees.
"The biggest draw is that it is an effective and time-efficient workout."
Ready to get fit
Greg Valdez, 44, says he found his way to this new type of workout because of high triglycerides. "I had been a runner, but knee problems stopped me. I was looking for something that would give me some strength training as well as a cardio workout."
In the past two months, he has reduced his triglyceride number from 800 to 250 and says he feels much better.
According to the U.S. Census, 45- to 54-year-olds are the fastest- growing age group, and increased education and publicity are driving the aging population to focus on their physical fitness.
In fact, recent health club memberships grew 118 percent among people age 55 and older, the largest increase of any age group.
Cuts Fitness for Men is open 6:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3-8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays.
Memberships cost $29 monthly with a year's commitment; $39 month to month, plus an initiation fee.
The Blitz is open 6:30 a.m.- 1 p.m. and 4-8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 6:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and 4-6 p.m. Fridays; and 6:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays.
Membership is $30 a month with a year's commitment; $40 month to month, plus an initiation fee.
For information, call Cuts Fitness for Men at 275-2887 and The Blitz at 292-7540.