Getting lean and mean at the YMCA

Andrew Wagstaff
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Annual fitness challenge back for fifth year

AMHERST – Deciding to live a healthier lifestyle is easy. Committing to that decision is the challenge. But the Cumberland YMCA is here to help.
The local facility is once again offering its annual fitness challenge, this year titled Lean and Mean, to help get Cumberland County citizens healthier in 2014.

Cumberland YMCA fitness instructor Laura Coleman is looking forward to this year’s Lean and Mean fitness challenge, a 12-week program open to everyone wishing to live a healthier lifestyle, kicking off with an orientation night on Jan. 6, 2014.

“The main focus and the biggest goal is to try and get people to stick to it, because that’s something in itself,” said fitness instructor Laura Coleman. “Sticking to something for three months is a long time, especially when it’s something different from what you normally do.

“The goal is just to encourage people to get into the habit of living a healthy lifestyle,” she added.

The 12-week program will include access to the YMCA weight rooms and cardio rooms, swimming pool, and a variety of fitness classes available throughout the week.

The challenge is open to members and non-members, people of all ages and fitness levels, and to both teams and individuals. Families can register as teams, as can businesses.

“Last year we had about 60 people sign up, but typically, by the end, we have fewer,” said Coleman. “Our goal is always to try and get people to stick to it, which is always hard to do.”

Each participant has the program specifically designed for them, with different goals and specifics for each person.

A new feature this year will be weekly meetings that will be held throughout the program, providing another level of accountability that Coleman expects to benefit the participants. Periodic check-ins will also be available for weigh-ins and measurements, for those who want to measure their progress.

“The goal is to see how many people we can affect positively with their lifestyle,” she explained. “We want to help them, encourage them, and be there to support them so they can do it on their own.”

Orientation night for the challenge will be held at the YMCA on Monday, Jan. 6, for anyone who wants to sign up or just to come for more information. In the following week, appointments will be set up between the participants and the fitness instructors to go over their goals. The program will officially begin on Monday, Jan. 13.

Sign-up sheets are also available at the YMCA front desk. For more information, such as rates, come to the orientation night, or contact the YMCA at 667-9112, or by email at

Twitter: @ADNandrew

Organizations: YMCA

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