Teens on a fitness mission

Increase in youths joining gyms

NATASHA THYNE
Last updated 07:36 20/06/2014
yuriy fedorovych
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/ Fairfax NZ
JUNIOR GYM-GOERS: Yuriy Fedorovych is one of many teenagersin Timaru going to the gym.

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Most people see winter as a time to hibernate, but teens are hitting the gym.

Gyms around Timaru are seeing an increase in the number of teenagers becoming members.

More than 11 per cent of the members at CBay Fitness are aged between 16 and 20. Of that group, female members outnumber the males, but only just, said council group manager community services Sharon Matson.

Sandra Poland, a personal trainer at Snap Fitness Timaru, said the gym has a good base of high school pupils, including some exchange students, coming in for workouts.

Although some are there for sporting reasons, others are more aware of fitness and want to be in good shape.

Many students come in with buddies, she said.

Brendon Latimer, 18, joined the gym as a way to keep fit. He said going for workouts with friends gives him more motivation.

RokFitness owner Arapeta Fenwick opened the gym in December and is noticing a "massive increase" in teenagers at the gym from the last time he worked as a trainer in Timaru nine years ago.

Back then, most of the young people went to a gym for sporting reasons, but now teens are more focused on the aesthetic side of working out, Fenwick said.

Mountainview High School student Yuriy Fedorovych first joined the gym two years ago as he said he was quite skinny and low in confidence.

"I used to work out at home but started joining the gym to step my game up."

For him, going to the gym is 75 per cent for himself and 25 per cent for appearance, and has turned into a lifestyle.

Everyone goes to the gym for different reasons, Performance Gym manager Trudy Gilchrist said. The first step is walking in the door.

When working with teenagers, Gilchrist said it depends on the age and goals of the person what they do for a workout.

"If they are very new, they mostly use body weights because their bones are still forming. You have to judge each kid as they come in ... see where their goals want to be and getting to know them."

Nutrition and diet are also important factors in teenagers' lives.

At the recent Teenagers' Toolkit Evening held at Timaru Girls' High School, dietitian Liz Cutler gave parents tips to help with the nutritional needs of teenagers.

Trying to eat meals at the dinner table had been proven to have increased health benefits.

She said not eating with the television on or cellphone in hand makes people engage more and can help build self-esteem, although she acknowledged it was not always easy with the extra- curricular sport and activities high school students take part in.

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Another way to help with healthy eating is to get teenagers into the kitchen preparing food, as it keeps them on the right track in making better food choices, Cutler said.

It also shows them that snacks don't always have to come from a packet.

- The Timaru Herald

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