Fitness Madness: A Natural High
If you’re like most people you’re hitting that point in the year where you’re starting to wane on your resolutions, auto-pilot your way through your days, re-settle into bad habits…get by instead of getting happy.
But happy is the goal isn’t it?
Endorphins are natural stress and pain relievers; and perhaps the best incentive for you to get fit, get mad, get moving.
When certified fitness expert and MM founder Sumita Balooja started Fitness Madness at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium four years ago, she was mostly targeting the Carnival crowd. You know who you are, the folks hoping to get ripped and pumped up enough to brave the Mas marathon. But Sumita said, “Fitness is not an overnight thing.” Fitness is at least 20 minutes of daily movement designed to get the blood flowing, to sleep better, to feel more energized, to be happier. So the target is no longer those looking for seasonal fixes. In fact, those who have taken on the 10 week challenge find that when it runs its course, they don’t want to stop, and with the Mindful Movement - Mount St. John Medical Centre year-round programmes, they won’t have to.
“It’s really an investment in the community,” Salma Crump of MSJMC has said about Fitness Madness. “Like we’ve always said, the goal of the hospital is prevention and wellness… So when we say it takes a village to raise a child; well...
...it takes the effort of many individuals and groups working together to build a healthier community.”
The Fitness Madness has attracted over the years anything from 30-something to 80-something participants at a time. Some come with workout partners – mothers with daughters, couples, work colleagues, best girl friends – and that adds to the sense of community. There’s no posturing and time wasting, just moving under the sky, in the grass, in the fresh air, in a community of others who are, like you, similarly motivated. “There’s a certain amount of energy that comes when people are all exercising,” Sumita said.
You work in a community but at your own pace in a programme that is progressive-by-nature towards your own goals. You’re measured and weighed, and put through other standard checks by MSJMC before being released into the programme to jog or sprint toward your own horizon. “Everyone usually achieves some sort of accomplishment,” Sumita said, “whether weight loss, renewed energy level, or just feeling better.” Think of it not as a weight loss regimen but as a wellness challenge.
What do we mean when we say the programme is progressive? One, it consists of a series of classes that allow you to add to your routine as you build your stamina; it includes...
...a mix of disciplines – aerobic, stretching, strength building, zumba, kick boxing – so that neither you nor your muscles will become complacent.
It’s located in the grass which puts less stress on the joints; and pitched in such as way that it encourages you to push yourself without damaging yourself. “We pay strict attention to form,” Sumita said, noting that often it’s not about how many reps you do but how well you do them.
And while they’re putting you through your paces, they’ll also be educating you on how to adjust other areas of your life – how you eat and what you eat, for instance – to your more energized lifestyle. Fitness Madness is one of the rare opportunities, after all, to benefit from the know-how of varied experts in a single setting.
So who is this targeting?
In an Antigua and Barbuda plagued by preventable lifestyle diseases brought on by diet and inactivity, the target is you...
...any one of you, as Sumita said, who “willing to start being active”.
Are you willing? No excuses; with early and late morning classes (5:30 am, 7:30 am, 9:00 am), as well as three different evening classes in 30 minute increments every day of the week (beginning at 5:30 pm), you can find a way to fit this into your schedule; with the option of buying in for the entire 10 weeks or paying for classes as you go, you can find a way to fit it into your budget. Really, it’s about prioritizing your health and shaking off the stress, while embracing a natural high.
“I really do enjoy making people feel better on a whole,” Sumita said. “I like to see them working out together, I like to see the enthusiasm…I absolutely enjoy it; this is my baby.”