Lithia woman shows others what it takes to get fit
LITHIA - It's the time of year when many people contemplate a more healthful way of living – joining a gym, walking the neighborhood, cutting back on fats and carbs. In many cases, though, those New Year's resolutions die come February. Maria Malec, a Lithia resident, years ago chose to follow through, giving up a somewhat sedentary lifestyle to get back into a physical fitness groove. These days she's offering her services to others looking for a push — that extra motivation — by working with two local gyms to set up seminars on various topics.The 47-year-old mother of five not only has gotten herself back in shape, she recently competed in a grueling Tough Mudder competition, mostly to prove to herself that she could do it. "I had heard something about this race and I wanted to get in shape," Malec said. "I had exercised on and off but this was a new beginning." Malec began out by working out with Get Fit FishHawk, which offered an outdoor boot camp. While working with Gail Kryanack of Get Fit, she attended a field trip at Phase 5 Fitness in Brandon and eventually began working out there at a more intense level. "Get Fit was a great way to get me started and it worked," Malec said. Phase 5, a cross fit gym, took her to the next level, she said. "Cross fit is like interval training to work the entire body through explosive, precise moves," she said. Some of the workouts are only 15 minutes, but leave the body fatigued "in a good way," Malec said. She worked out for close to a year to prepare for the Tough Mudder competition, a 12-mile obstacle course through mud, over walls, inside tunnels and more. She joined with a group from Phase 5 to compete. "Everybody pushed everybody else." Having someone to work out with can be key, Malec said. "When you think about it, most people say they want to make changes but continue to plod along…," she said. "Overcoming the fear of change and engaging others in the process is the first step towards any transformation." Malec, who now considers herself a wellness coach, will be working with Get Fit FishHawk and Phase 5 to pass along her knowledge to others. She'll start the year with a running clinic Jan. 7 at Phase 5, which is at 202 S. Moon Ave. in Brandon. The clinic will focus partially on how to care for yourself if you are injured while running, she said. "We've already gotten very, very busy," Phase 5 owner Eric Auciello said recently. "This is kind of the time of year we go crazy. It kind of runs the gamut from people who are uber fit to those who need help. It's all pretty customizable." "We program everyone according to their fitness level," Auciello said. "If we get an individual who is not in good condition, we would put them on a 30-day program to meet with a personal trainer once a week and the remainder of the week they do individualized programming, then we re-evaluate them." The 30-day program is $300 with the personal trainer. The goal is to make it a short process and then work clients into regular classes, Auciello said. The gym will host workshops each month such as Olympic weightlifting, a methodology workshop covering strength and conditioning concepts, one on wellness and workshops on mobility and flexibility. Workshops are included with monthly gym membership. Non-members can attend the workshops for $20 per session. Kryanack, at Get Fit FishHawk, offers group and one-on-one training. "It's kind of like a boot camp, but we have both outdoor and indoor classes." Her classes specifically are geared for people who live in FishHawk Ranch and its member communities. "The two things I swear by are consistency and progression," Kryanack said. "It takes a lot to create a habit. You have to make time for it. I tell my clients when they come in that they have to have regularly scheduled sessions at the same time pretty much every day." Malec agrees. "You have to take care of yourself," she said. When she made the decision, she said, she was determined to follow through. "And it was great." Malec said she'd like to help others take the first steps toward healthier living. She can be reached at (813) 957-0865. To learn more about Phase 5, call (813) 658-5603. Or to get more information on Kryanack's program, email her at email@example.com.
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