Beauty & Wellness
Fitness From The Field: Lenox Fit
The Rural Intelligence region offers a plethora of fitness and healing modalities, but it can be hard to know which is the one that fits your needs, your body type and your schedule. Enter Paula Boyajian, a yoga instructor certified in Interdisciplinary Yoga and Yoga for the Special Child, who has taken on the role of RI’s fitness contributor to sleuth out the details of the many health and wellness options in our area.
As the saying goes, life is full of surprises. With Zumba in mind because — speaking of surprises — I’ve never Zumba-ed, I arrived at Lenox Fit (formerly Lenox Fitness) and learned that there would not only be a substitute teacher, but a different class. I ended up having a great time with instructor Holly Wroldson, who led a frolicking class that provided a sampling of what her other classes are like.
What It Is
Officially. Holly teaches Step, Hi-Lo Aerobics, On the Move and Latin Sculpt, but as new owner Suzanne Merritt says, Holly uses “dancey stuff” in her classes. The class I took started with belly dancing and ended with line dancing. While you may think the two go together like tabouli and barbecue sauce, they both yielded exceptionally sweaty workouts, required acute attention to keep up with the choreography and were just whole lot of fun. Before we began Holly offered exotic belly dancing skirts — complete with jangly coins — and when we were line dancing I couldn’t help thinking that I can finally do the Electric Slide at weddings — yee-haw!
Moderate: The class moved swiftly but with optional hops, there was very little impact, leaving it open to almost anyone with a regular fitness practice. Keep in mind that the dance routine rotated us in such a way that at times the student is the leader. Even though you’d never confuse me with Bob Fosse, I didn’t mind this. However, if you’re shy or prefer seeing the teacher at all times, you may be a bit put off.
Embracing change rewarded us with a super cardio workout. Additionally, as Holly said, “Throughout the class you are working specific muscles” — which was apparent starting with the warmup that included isolation exercises and the dance segments incorporating concentrated ab pulses and sexy leg lifts that worked thighs and buttocks. When arm movements came into play, we held vibrantly colored scarves that acted like fashionable resistance straps and added grace and beauty to our routine. I spied one gal who previously wore a very intent expression now glowing with an open smile. I also noticed that my mind-body connection was awakened; I learned to do a hip shimmy by just moving my heels, not my hips as I assumed. The musical coins on your skirt do help you control the correct speed and range you’re moving.
And did I mention it’s fun? While line dancing, I heard another student, Myrna Estes, singing. She says she loves “anything with music. You don’t realize how much exercise you’re getting in and it’s a social thing — it keeps me young.”
Holly, a certified group fitness instructor, has been teaching for 20 years. Eight years ago, her work brought her to Virginia. Now retired, she’s back in the Berkshires. She shared that her “only problem is that when the music starts I forget where I am. It never gets old!” Owner Suzanne doesn’t see any problem with Holly though. “She’s great, very reliable and fun and remarkably fit!”
Rolling into Lenox Fit’s parking lot feels like going to a friend’s home who’s having a big party. The building itself is an inviting house with a superbly landscaped walkway. As I opened the door, the aroma of coffee kissed my nose. I poured a steaming cup and took in the inspiring view of strength and cardio equipment along side the sleek check-in desk. It includes the latest treadmills, ellipticals, rowers and bikes. Within moments, front desk attendant Ethan raced over and directed me upstairs for class. This room has two large windows: one overlooking the workout area and the other granting views of the Berkshires tress and flora. With soft-gray walls and subdued violet doors, the room is attractive and contemporary, as are the locker rooms that have plenty of lockers, changing space, spotless showers and a comforting sauna.
Walk-in class is $12. Lenox Fit offers many membership options from one-month ($99) to yearly plans ($545). Student and senior discounts and six-month punch cards (which can be shared among family members or friends) are available.
Lenox Fit, Inc.
90 Pittsfield Road. Lenox, MA