Julie Gleeson, a certified personal trainer at the YMCA of Central Maryland in Towson, believes in building strong muscles and combating fat. “Strong muscles burn calories more efficiently than fat. The more muscle mass a person has, the less fat and the quicker that person can metabolize calories taken in,” she says.

In a personal training session with Leslie Bradley, 47, she demonstrates the proper way to perform various exercises and avoid injury. “Many injuries are caused by using the wrong technique,” says Gleeson.

“Another thing people do is to do a lot of reps and use improper form. It is better to use proper form and do fewer reps than to do the exercise wrong,” says Gleeson.

Bradley was a dancer years ago and joined the YMCA about one month ago. She says her fitness routine includes running after her 7-year-old, but she has one goal in mind.

“I just want to feel comfortable in a bathing suit,” says Bradley.

Like many other people, Bradley sees things that no one else sees about her body that she says need work. She is long and lean and her years of dancing are apparent.

Julie Gleeson is the person to help her accomplish her goal. She works her clients hard, but with caution. With every move she urges, “If you feel pain, stop.” She does not mean that if you are feeling wimpy you can stop, that will never happen. Muscle fatigue is good she says and she will push past that discomfort.

Many people have not exercised in years and their muscles are not up to the task, but persistence will get you there.

When it comes to getting fit, sometimes creativity comes into play.  Everyone is not into the weights, medicine balls, treadmills, personal trainers and running.  Some people just like to dance.  Yes, I said dance, and I do not mean at the club, although that counts also.

Trish Womack teaches line dancing three days a week in Randallstown, Md. and the people really enjoy it.

In a room at the Maryland Center for Performing Arts, Womack gives the dancers a good workout.  From 7 p.m. until 8 p.m. she teaches the beginner to intermediate class and without missing a step she goes directly into the advanced class from 8 p.m. until 9 p.m.

Each dance has a name and a song that goes along with it.  Womack teaches the basic steps and after they go over the steps several times and put everything together, the music comes on and it all comes together.

Everyone goes along at their own pace and has a magnificent time.  It is funny to see the dancers looking at their feet during the class, but that is just to make sure every step is right.

Pat Crovill has been doing the urban soul line dance for about a year and before that she did the country line dancing.

“To me this is good for the body, the mind and the soul. It’s one of the few things that puts a smile on my face,” says Crovill.

Haywood Johnson and his wife, Claudia Johnson, a breast cancer survivor, have been dancing with Womack for about a year.

Haywood Johnson says he has been line dancing collectively for about seven years. “Doing this for the last six years, I probably lost about 70 pounds,” says Johnson.

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There seems to be something to accommodate everyone when it comes to exercise and fitness.   For you early-risers, Chizel-It Fitness Center offers a fitness class three days a week called the Rise & Shine Boot Camp.

Donna Harris, co-owner of Chizel-it Fitness Center in Owings Mills, Md. answered the call of her members and started this program for her early risers.

For six weeks you will go through an intensive fitness course which varies from day to day and week to week.  You hardly ever do the same routine during the six weeks.

“I hold the people accountable.  It comes with a meal plan, it comes with a fitness assessment that they have to complete on a biweekly basis and they weigh in and get their measurements done,” says Harris.

“The goal is to jump start people on a health regimen,” she adds.

If someone wants to repeat the boot camp, after a short break, another session begins.  The next Rise & Shine boot camp begins June 19, 2010.

This program, although short, is powerful and requires you to be serious about getting a jump start on fitness and health. You will learn enough to continue with the exercise once the session is over.

Each participant will come in for measurements and an assessment prior to the Monday the boot camp begins.

If you are interested in joining, do not hesitate to call Donna Harris at Chizel-It for more information.

If you have always wanted to begin running, this could possibly be the program for you.   Begin at your own pace and build on what you start with.  You can only improve with the method used at Chizel-It Fitness Center in Owings Mills, Md.

Donna Harris, co-owner of Chizel-It Fitness Center, leads the running club.  The great thing about this program is that you do not have to come to the center with a running background.  If you can only run for one block, give it a try and see how far you can run at the end of training period in September.

“I start my running club the 1st Saturday in May with the goal of  starting my group off  running at their own pace  for one mile, which is a single lap around the mall. They do the best that they can taking their time, doing it at their own pace and then we build from there,” says Harris.

Harris is looking to run another marathon because her group has run the Baltimore Marathon for years and she is looking for another venue and a change of scenery.

Many participants have run their first marathon after joining the running club at Chizel-It Fitness Center. Runners have option of running a full marathon or a half marathon which is in October.

“We start them off with baby steps and we gradually build on that,” says Harris.

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Protesters at City Hall in Baltimore

What does a beverage tax have to do with fitness?  Well, if you consider paying more for your soft drinks that  may have a lot to do with it.

If you are out and need a quick drink, you will likely end up paying more for that individual bottle of water, juice or soda.

On Monday, protesters from local beverage companies assembled in Baltimore at City Hall to protest the proposed hike in taxes to be levied on soft drinks for city residents if the mayor’s budget passes.

This may be a blessing for the city’s financial situation or a punishment for residents and businesses.  For Baltimore City residents you either pay up and indulge, or get your drinks elsewhere.

Maryland/ Delaware/ District of Columbia Soft Drink Association Executive Vice President Ellen Valentino  was at the protest organizing the participants.

This is not all about the soft drinks like soda, but it affects the bottled water also or drinks smaller than two liters. Milk is not included in the proposal.

So when you are out exercising in Baltimore City be sure to consider how this beverage tax may affect you at some time in the future.

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