No session is ever the same at Tracy Adams' Blenheim boot camps.
The personal trainer believes an element of surprise keeps participants turning up to the 6am workouts. Those start on Tuesday and will be held twice a week at different parks around Blenheim for the next 10 weeks.
"I make sure there's always a surprise factor . . . they like that. And it's possible they might not turn up if they knew what they were going to do," Tracy laughs.
She became a personal trainer after shelving plans to become an early childhood teacher.
"I was thinking that would be a perfect career choice while having children," she says.
But marriage and having four children was a dream, she confides, and that came true when she met her husband-to-be, Brendon Adams.
"When [our] first baby was born I decided I didn't want to go back to work. I wanted to be a stay-at-home mum."
Three more children were born, Brendon bought an electrical business and Tracy worked part-time in the office.
Then one day she read a career tip: "What's the one thing, when you wake up in the morning, you don't have to MAKE yourself do?"
The answer was easy for Tracy: exercise.
"I have always made it a priority that I exercise myself.
It makes me a better mum and definitely a better wife."
She enrolled in an extramural course through Otago University which let her do nearly all of her studies at home.
"Brendon is a supportive husband who helped me through that. And sometimes I would be breast-feeding while typing and sending off assignments in the middle of the night."
After getting her diploma of sports science, Tracy started her business, get2itfitness.
Her first clients attended a cycle session she started in her mother's garage, riding on four stationary "spin bikes". Another two people employed her as their personal trainer.
Ten years later, Tracy provides one-on-one training for 20-plus clients and has 15 spin bikes in a dedicated room at the back of Laser Electrical on Pitchill St. People with their names on a waiting list, wanting to start the cycle class, could join a 10-week boot camp or Tracy's 12-week "mind body weight loss challenge". They are separate but complementary programmes.
"It's not about being the skinniest, it's about being the healthiest," Tracy says.
"You can't lose weight with exercise alone … [and] the 12-week challenge teaches [people] skills so they can go forward with it.
"It's not for 12 weeks, it's for life."
Long-lasting friendships form in Tracy's boot camps and she says research shows people who exercise with others extend themselves further.
"There's greater ‘stickability' because you are held accountable; you're more likely to push yourself harder," she says.
Going for a 30-minute walk on your own is better than doing nothing, she says, but friends walking together are likely to go a little further, faster and tackle the hill someone walking alone might leave for another day.
She runs her 6am boot camps because exercise is best done at the start of the day, she believes. "You've got, at the end of the day, too many things that come in your mind to put you off doing it. In the morning there's no excuse.
"Get to it . . . and it will give you a little burst of endorphins for the day."
- The Marlborough Express