Shaping Up at the start of a new year

A new year gives people the chance to start things off right and Shape Up Fitness is there to help.

The new year has begun, and with it comes the inevitable resolution to get healthy and get active.

This year Shape Up Fitness has added some new classes, and a New Year, New You Fitness Challenge.

“In the gyms everywhere, January is this crazy month when you have to fight for the cardio machine, and wait your turn pretty much everywhere,” said Nicki McIntosh, group exercise instructor and owner of Shape Up Fitness.

“So it’s a great opportunity to offer something like the fitness challenge, when people are just looking for a way to be motivated and get back into it.”

Shape Up Fitness, a group exercise business operating out of several locations, celebrated its first anniversary on Jan. 1. And McIntosh has decided to bring in another instructor and expand her schedule.

“I want to offer something for everyone… for the group classes, one hour of work takes a full day’s energy,” said McIntosh. “So if you teach more than two group exercise classes in a day, you’re completely bagged by the end. And by the end of the week you’re completely exhausted. You get burnt out really easily that way.”

Jenn Tataryn, formerly with ATP Fitness, is now teaching with Shape Up Fitness, and is helping McIntosh expand her schedule to accommodate more people.

“With Jenn coming on board with me, I can offer that many more classes, and not wear myself out,” said McIntosh.

Shape Up is also offering a brand new class two days a week, starting Jan. 16. Mama Fit allows mothers with young children to bring the kids along to the fitness class.

“I know a whole bunch of people who have had babies, and lots of people with little kids, where their limitation is that they always have their kids. So with this class they can bring their babies or children under five to the class,” said McIntosh.

“It will be a casual atmosphere, and it will be in circuit format where if they need to stop what they’re doing they can.”

McIntosh is thrilled to be offering the new class, as there were several mothers who were attending her classes when they were pregnant, but were unable to consistently come out once the kids were born.

Staying healthy and physically fit is a long-term commitment, and McIntosh wants to make sure she is doing what she can to keep people motivated to stay in it for the long haul.

“One really good thing about the challenge, I’ve found that people who have signed up in partners, and have to be accountable to someone, they are more inclined to be there.”

People often make arrangements to pick each other up to go to class and extra incentive to come.

“You’re not going to leave your buddy hanging because you slept in, so it’s an additional motivator. When you’re already committed and have already paid, and then it becomes a social thing when you’re used to seeing a group of people on a regular basis,” said McIntosh.

The Fitness Challenge allows people to sign up for a three month term (there’s also a six-week option available), and attend as many classes as they can fit into their schedule.

People of all different fitness levels with varying fitness goals, such as weight loss, or increase in muscle or flexibility, can sign up for the challenge. McIntosh will pick a winner at the end based on individual goals.

“I didn’t want to make it a weight loss challenge, because there are so many different goals that people have,” said McIntosh. She hasn’t decided on an incentive prize yet, but a spa package or a Lululemon gift certificate are just a couple possibilities she is considering.

One of the major pitfalls of starting to get back into an exercise routine, is shooting too high, getting discouraged, and giving up says McIntosh.

“Take small baby steps. Set a timeline for one realistic goal, and get there before you worry about your ultimate goal. It’s good to have your ultimate goal somewhere on the horizon, but take baby steps towards it,” she said.

McIntosh likes to use the acronym SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.

For more information on the class schedule, rates, and the fitness challenge, go to