A strong healthy dose of reality

People who have signed up for extra fitness classes at the Minot Family YMCA will not only participate in a wide variety of activities during the class, but also receive a total body workout.

The class, known as Personal Reality Training, has been in existence since December 2011. It is offered to members of the YMCA for an additional fee.

Personal Reality Training is a program where participants do a different workout each time, focusing on total body movements instead of just one muscle group, explained Leo Krajewski, exercise physiologist and one of the instructors of the class. It can involve kettlebells or weights, he added, and a wide variety of exercises. “You create the intensity,” he said.

The class is offered every day except Sunday. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, the class is at 5:30 a.m., noon and 6 p.m. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the class is at 6 p.m. and on Saturdays at 10 a.m.

Krajewski said the class can last anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes or an hour, depending on the speed of the individual and some workouts are timed or are strength workouts. “It’s a different workout each time,” he said. “You’ll definitely get a variety.”

Monday is usually conditioning day, Wednesday focuses on strength, Friday is challenge day, Tuesday and Thursday are recovery workouts, and Saturday is spent in the weight room to expose people to different weights and holds.

As many as 15 people have attended Personal Reality Training, or as few as two or three, Krajewski said. It depends on the day and the time, he added.

At the sunrise class, there are usually three to six people in attendance, the noon class averages five to eight, and the evening class spans anywhere from three to 15 people, Krajewski explained. “I’ve never had to turn someone away, even though the space in the area is small. You’ll be able to do your workout, space won’t be a problem.”

Also interesting to note is that more women than men participate in Personal Reality Training and most of them are in their 30s and 40s, Krajewski said. He said some people in the military have participated in the class and others who are college-age. A few high school-age students have been in the class as well. Those who are not adults must have a parent sign to okay the student’s participation.

People interested in the class have to be Y members and the cost is $45 each month. But people can attend as many Personal Reality Training classes as they want, which is a little different than most classes, Krajewski said.

Explaining how the class started, he said, he wanted to do a different sort of class where the workouts were always changing and people in the class never knew what was coming. “One problem is that people just focus on one area,” Krajewski said. “And I wanted to make people better athletes. Why not train yourself to be a better athlete overall and at the same time help your well-being in general?”

The design of Personal Reality Training is to personalize it to each person’s level, Krajewski said. “I wanted to appeal to everyone. I want everyone to feel like they can do it and not feel intimidated. A general individual could come in off the street and work out and feel like a putz, but I wanted to appeal to everyone and make (exercising) accessible,” he said.

The number one goal of participants in the class, Krajewski said, is weight loss for the women and toning or getting in shape for the men. What participants tend to have the most difficult with, however, is flexibility, he noted.

Women find difficulty with their overall upper body strength, Krajewski added, while men have trouble with the overall conditioning because they’re not used to the constant activity. He said some of the men come from their workouts of doing a set of lifts and then socializing for 20 minutes, which is an adjustment when they join Personal Reality Training.

The feedback Krajewski has heard from participants in the class has been positive and along the lines of going down in pants size, feeling better overall and doing better on the physical tests.

Tracy Sys, a member of the class, has been participating in Personal Reality Training for a year and said she has noticed more results from this class than from other fitness classes she has tried. “I work much harder and am pushed in this class,” she said. “I’m definitely stronger, my cardio is much better and I’m buying smaller pants.” Sys said she likes the group and that Krajewski knows her capabilities and knows when to push. “I just wanted a new challenge.”

Another class member, Dianne Hankla, has participated in Personal Reality Training off and on for a year because she wanted to try something different, she said. She has also noticed more results from the class. Hankla said she is a long-distance runner and the class has made her run faster, as well as helped her have more stamina and become more toned. “Leo is an inspiration for us,” she added.

As encouragement to someone thinking of trying Personal Reality Training, Krajewski said the best advice he could offer is similar to the motto of courage for one of the branches of the military: “Courage is when you’re scared, but even though you are scared, you go forward and get it done.”

That advice is similar to participating in the class, he noted. “It’s hard and you’re going to sweat, but if you stick with it and hang in there, it will benefit you and how you feel about yourself.”

He said people look at the day’s workout written on the whiteboard and think they can’t do it, but they go forward and do it.

He said people should try Personal Reality Training to become better athletes and improve their overall health. “You have to feel good about yourself and that part is often overlooked. (Personal Reality Training) will improve overall strength, balance and coordination,” he said.