New Year, New You 9

Maryland Farms YMCA Offers Something for Everyone

Losing weight and getting fit usually tops the list when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. Every January, those who work in gyms and workout facilities know to expect an influx of people hoping to make good on their promise to improve their health. And, while people kick off the New Year with the best of intentions, as time goes on many have a hard time sticking with the plan to exercise regularly.


Fitness experts say you have a better chance of success if you pick something you enjoy and will look forward to doing. So, why not try a group exercise class? Perhaps one of the newer, trendy classes like Barre.

Jenna Abdelhadi with the Maryland Farms YMCA says Barre has become so popular there that they’ve added quite a few new classes. Barre classes are ballet-inspired and use music and a ballet barre, but also incorporate dance, yoga and Pilates.

“It’s a form of strength training, so you’re getting stronger without having to enter the wellness floor,” she explains. “You’re also using small muscle groups that don’t typically get worked on a daily basis. And I think people enjoy that they’re sampling a lot of techniques in one class.”

She says instructors come from many different backgrounds, so classes may vary. Find one that’s a good fit for you.


If you want to try something a bit more intense, check out a Pound class, also offered at the Maryland Farms Y. Pound classes are full-body cardio workouts that turn drumming into a fun, high-energy way to exercise.

“Pound is a great format for people from all walks of life,” Kari Ann Bonner says. “We use two Ripstix to power through some moves that are Pilates-based. You can do a class with shoes or barefoot.”

As noted on the official Pound website,, benefits from drumming include boosting the immune system, lowering blood pressure, decreasing chronic pain, anxiety, fatigue and much more. And the best part is just about anyone at any exercise level can do it.


Many people just starting exercise programs at the gym seek out cardio first.

“If people are deconditioned at all they’ll say, ‘I’m going to start with a 20-minute walk, I’m going to start with 20 minutes on the bike.’ It seems to be the thing people are most comfortable getting started with,” the Y’s Jackie Hauser says. “And it’s a great way to burn calories, start your weight-loss regimen and start your weight-loss journey.”

She says the best way to make sure you’re going to keep at it is to do whatever it takes to get you through the door, then build on that. If you push yourself too hard in the early stages, it can cause injury or leave you so debilitatingly sore that you don’t come back. Remember that while cardio is important, strength training is also critical for long-term weight management because muscle is what burns calories.

She points to one woman who, more than a year ago, came in and started walking the track. As she progressed, she moved to exercising on the bike, then later began taking Jackie’s dance aerobic class.

“She has since added some strength training and muscle building because her body needs new challenges to continue to see the weight come off,” Jackie says. “I think it’s amazing that she did what a lot of people don’t do—she made it very doable for herself. She really eased her body into it.”  

Maryland Farms YMCA is located at 5101 Maryland Way in Brentwood. For more information, call 615.373.2900.