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North Hills Monthly

Get a Healthy Start on Your New Life Together

Jan 27, 2020 02:10PM ● By Kathleen Ganster

Sangha Center for Yoga and Wellness

Your wedding is an exciting time, but it can also be stressful. And of course, you want to look your best for photos, which may mean losing weight and getting into better shape. Since exercising and taking care of yourself are great ways to deal with stress, incorporating a new exercise and wellness program before the big day makes sense for many couples.

Andrea Kirkham, owner and teacher at Sangha Center for Yoga and Wellness, suggests taking a look at yoga. 

“Most couples want to look and feel their best for their big day. Many pictures will be taken, and memories will be made—and the last thing the couple should think about is not feeling good in their own bodies. Yoga can help not only with the physical exercise, but also with calming the mind,” she said. 

Sangha hosts group and private yoga classes, Reiki sessions, workshops and trainings, and Ayurvedic health consultations and workshops. According to Kirkham, yoga is a great exercise for both the body and mind. 

“The practices we incorporate into a yoga class can help users build strength, gain flexibility, and build confidence by being happy in the body they have been born into, and being amazed by the things it CAN do, not by striving to look a certain way,” she said.  

Since couples are taking the marriage journey together, Kirkham said practicing yoga together is a good first step.

“The calming effects of the practice can also bring clarity into the couple’s relationship. They can focus on the important things and let go of the others; they can find respect and deep love for themselves and each other with a consistent practice,” she said.

Like most forms of exercise, the sooner one begins a practice, the better. 

“Yoga isn’t a quick fix. This practice can help you get in shape, but the mental and emotional benefits can take time,” said Kirkham, who recommends adding one or two classes of yoga to supplement other exercise, or more if it is the only form of exercise.

“If you are focusing only with a yoga practice, three to five times per week would be a good schedule to see the changes physically and mentally,” she said.

Working with a personal trainer can also be a bonding experience. Justin Shal, owner of Pure Edge Performance Training, often works with couples. “When you are healthier, you can live better every day,” he said.

Shal meets with couples together or individually to determine needs, goals and current fitness levels. He then designs a program to meet those goals. 

“We don’t focus on just losing weight, but on what you need to do to feel better and be healthier. We make subtle changes to incorporate methods to achieve those goals,” he said.

Some couples enjoy working out together, while others like working out on their own. “It isn’t always a good idea for all couples to work out together. We don’t want fireworks in the gym,” he joked.

Shal’s practice is located in Pure Athletex Sportsplex in Wexford, where clients can attend adult fitness classes and work out in small groups with either Shal or one of his trainers, all of whom have additional certification in exercise science and training.

“I’m a big believer in education; I think you need to know and understand the science behind the methods,” said Shal.

Since the training sessions are in small groups, averaging about three clients, Shal said it is affordable for most, which can be important for couples keeping to a budget.

“Working out in small groups allows the trainers to focus on each person and keeps the energy level high. They motivate each other as well and it is only $18 to $40 an hour, depending on the schedule and commitment,” he said. A bonus is that his clients also have access the other services at Pure Athletex Sportsplex located in Marshall Township.

Like Kirkham, Shal recommends starting an exercise regimen sooner rather than later.

“It takes time. We want to make it challenging, but we don’t want a program that annihilates people—it should be fun while being challenging,” he said.

Another advantage to Pure Edge Training is that Shal does not require long-term contracts.

“We work on a month-to-month membership so our clients can find what works best for them,” he said. 

Setting individual goals and personalized weight loss plans are the key focus behind Profile by Sanford.

Dave Kuczynski, manager of the McCandless Crossing location, works with those interested in achieving their ideal weight through three areas: nutrition, activity and lifestyle. Certified coaches meet with clients to determine goals and objectives, then design a program suited to each individual. Couples interested in achieving healthier weights can work together or individually to reach their goals.

“Our main focus is lifestyle. So often, people get on a diet, lose the weight and then gain it all back when they go back to their old habits,” he said. “I know it sounds like a cliché, but we help people lose the weight and then keep it off. To be successful requires a lifestyle change. If couples work together, they can help each other.”

Clients first start with a nutritional reboot using foods from Profile while learning how to increase their activities and eat healthier. During weekly one-on-one coaching sessions, they also learn how to adjust their shopping habits and how to make good choices when eating out.

Individuals (known as members) may join monthly or yearly, depending on their goals and needs. Profile does guarantee members will lose weight as long as they follow the individualized program.

“We want our members to succeed. That is what we are here for,” Kuczynski said.