On a brisk November morning, a dozen sneaker-clad women
ranging in age from 26 to 64 are finishing their weekly "PUMP" class at Kathy Henkel Fitness.
As they cool down to the sound of Elton John singing "Blue Jean Baby," all the women look triumphant. They have worked hard
for an hour at Henkel's attractive studio on West Street in New Milford, but it's something they enjoy doing.
On the fitness studio's website, "PUMP" is described as "one
hour of pure weights -- working the entire body and all muscle groups."
Weight training is, in fact, central to Henkel's fitness philosophy.
"It's essential for every woman," said Henkel, who noted weight training helps build
lean muscle and increases bone strength.
of the women attend classes at the studio on a regular basis.
That's for two reasons.
first is that Henkel believes optimum results can only be achieved by working out at least four times a week.
The second is the women feel a sense of camaraderie and support from one
another; this aspect of "getting fit" is just as important as the workouts.
Brittany Gmuer, who lives in Southbury, has been a member since March and
has taken a variety of classes.
has been the most positive experience that has happened to my life," she said. "When I leave there I am always in
a great mood. It is completely uplifting."
opened her studio in 2010 after her employer, Positive Energy, went out of business.
That turn of events was, in a way, fortuitous, as she had always wanted to
run her own business.
closes and another one opens," Henkel said. "It was meant to be."
Prior to working at Positive Energy, Henkel worked at Gold's Gym and The Club in New Milford for many years.
All told, she has been in the fitness industry for more than 25 years, although she studied fashion
merchandising in college and worked in the cosmetics industry for a decade.
She said she has been athletic her whole life, however, and easily segued into a fitness career.
"It's my passion," Henkel said. "Once I started teaching,
I realized it was something I really enjoyed."
is particularly passionate about helping women achieve their fitness goals. While weight loss is important to many of her
members, Henkel encourages women not to focus on the scale.
"It's not about weight -- it's just a number."
By building lean muscle, women will lose inches which is, in the long run, more important than trying
to achieve a certain weight, Henkel said.
there are many ways to "get fit with Kathy."
Regularly scheduled classes include "Energy Sculpt," a combination of cardio and strength training;
"Hoop and Core," a ballet inspired class that lengthens, strengthens and stretches; and "Shred," 50 minutes
of challenging exercises with a kettle bell.
Barbara Roper, who has been taking classes with Henkel for years, travels
to the studio from New Fairfield almost every day.
go six to eight hours a week. Her classes are so phenomenal," Roper said. "There's no way to describe the energy."
Henkel, who is certified by thw Aerobic and Fitness Association of America in group fitness and personal training, offers her members
regular fitness challenges throughout the year, such as the Little Black Dress Challenge.
In January, members can participate in the Skinny Jean Challenge, a motivation
for the women to fit into their favorite (slightly tight) pair of jeans.
During the month of December, members can experience Holiday HIT, a high intensity training circuit,
which Henkel has dubbed the "Twelve Days of Fitness" with 12 different exercises incorporated into the circuit.
Although people are busy at this time of year, Henkel encourages her clients
to stick to their fitness schedule through the holiday season.
With both day and evening classes, it's easy to do that.
Women have the opportunity to try classes like "Muscle Mix," an hour of weights, mixing
up muscle groups week to week; "Rock Out," a total body conditioning class using drumsticks; or "Burn it Up","
power sets using pump bars.
Most of the
women who try a class usually decide to join, Henkel noted.
"You just want to come back -- I was hooked and joined after the first day," Gmuer said.
Henkel offers the first class for free, with no commitment to join.
For those who decide to join, there are a variety of options from which to
choose, including five-, 10- and 20-class passes, as well as monthly unlimited class passes.
In addition to the classes Henkel conducts at the studio, she also participates
with clients in events such as the Run, Santa, Run 5K Run/Walk, held recently in New Milford.
Earlier this year, she achieved a fitness milestone when she and several
friends completed Tough Mudder, the premier obstacle course series.
"I'm in the best shape I've ever been in," said Henkel, who admitted she's proud of her
Perhaps her greatest
triumph, however, is in the success stories of the women she trains.
Roper has lost five dress sizes as a result of working out at Kathy Henkel Fitness, and she gives
Henkel credit for helping her achieve this goal.
is such a motivator," she said. "Such an inspiration -- you want to do better."
Kathy Henkel Fitness is located at 143 West St., Unit Q in New Milford. For
more information, visit www.getfitwithkathyhenkel.com or call 203-947-0265.