Training begins at 40

Training begins at 40

Adults over 40 who hate gyms or are intimidated by young people training need not lose heart as there are alternatives for them.

Fourty-four-year-old Shirley Cefai got on a bike for the first time four months ago. This year, she is one of the cyclists in the HSBC LifeCycle challenge, currently taking a number of cyclists from Lourdes in France to Casablanca in Morocco to collect funds for Mater Dei's Renal Unit.

She believes her achievement has only been made possible by the impact personal trainer Alan Curry, who established LifeCycle Organisation, has made in her life.

Some months ago, Mr Curry opened a personal fitness studio in Pembroke, where three-fourths of his clients are over 40.

He said that throughout his experience as a personal trainer, he realised that older people who hated gyms but still wanted to train lacked a place they could go to where they would feel comfortable. So when the studio opportunity came in November, he grabbed it.

Mrs Cefai is one of his many "older" clients. Although she was not new to training - she formed part of the national badminton team about 15 years ago - it was only with Mr Curry's help that she managed to shed an unwanted 26 kilogrammes she had piled on after having children.

"I just obey Alan. He makes training interesting, he varies it, I started out going twice a week, I am now going three times a week... I am happy with my weight now, there are one or two kilos I can lose but the change is phenomenal," Mrs Cefai said.

Mr Curry said that people over 40 felt intimidated by younger people at gyms and preferred a more personal touch.

In fact, there can be no more than six people at any one time at Mr Curry's studio. And they have to be willing to be together. Some people prefer to be on their own, others want company for company's sake and to bring down the cost. Packages start from €7 an hour. Committing oneself for a length of time also brought down the price.

"The only downside is that I can only take a limited number of people and clients have to be punctual or they would miss part of their session... So far it's working."

Mr Curry is a UK-qualified NVQ3 personal trainer. This is the highest qualification a personal trainer in the UK can have. He sill goes for regular training in the UK and he is also a cycling and football coach.

His courses, which are all done by the NVQ manual, deal with training, nutrition and lifestyle.

"I do not aim to make people super fit but I try to lead them to a healthier lifestyle. The main philosophy behind the studio is the wellness concept."

This is promoted even by the location and atmosphere at the studio, which is in a dead quiet area surrounded by fresh air. The music is welcomingly soft and tables where one can relax with a cup of coffee after a workout are being set up.

"Fitness is not only about muscular strength but also about flexibility, lifestyle and endurance. I am trying to educate people on the benefits of training. My first question to prospective clients is to find out exactly what they want - 99 per cent want to lose weight. Once they decide to take on a programme, we set goals."

Clients get a fat and fitness test every six weeks and they get weighed every time they go for a session. When they are not at the studio, they can connect online through Skype and MSN links.

So far, Mr Curry has been getting excellent client feedback with people who hated gyms telling him they loved his place. His client base includes doctors, teachers and executives.

The studio, which is relatively small, is based on theTechnogym Kinesis - a machine on which one can do more than 250 different exercises. A whole workout can be done on this machine!

Members can also participate free of charge in the circuit classes Mr Curry holds at the Luxol Grounds on Saturdays.

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