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Fighting for fitness
Weight program packs a punch against pounds
WEBhealth kick 2 jd
Debbie Fitzgerald sends the bag into a spin during her class. - photo by Jim Dean
Weight loss resolutions don’t have to wait for the new year.

Wendy Hood, owner of Cumming-based My H.E.A.L.T.H Kick, is encouraging people to work on their resolution before packing on holiday pounds.

The Big Loser Reset Challenge is Hood’s answer to holiday bulge prevention through a fun and competitive weight loss program at her fitness center, which stands for Helping Everyone Achieve Life Through Healthy Habits.

Teams of four encourage each other to lose more weight than competing teams over the six-week challenge.

Hood’s program incorporates healthy eating with both kickboxing and martial arts workouts. Each workout combines 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise with a focus on arms, legs or core muscle-building movements.

“Balancing muscle-building and cardio exercise gives you results,” Hood said.

“Some people just go to a gym and lift weights or do machines and some people just go to cardio classes. But when you combine them both and always do something different every single time you work out, you confuse your muscles so you’re able to lose weight.”

Members won’t use treadmills or weight lifting machines at My H.E.A.L.T.H Kick.

What they will do are lots of push-ups, sit-ups, squats, bag punching and kicking, rope jumping and free weights.
The focus is teaching people “things here that they can go home and do,” said Hood, a certified fitness trainer, martial arts and kickboxing instructor and health coach.

Teams meet up every Thursday to discuss their progress, work out together and make changes to maximize results. The advantage to the challenge, Hood said, is participants get one-on-one assistance.

Dianne Patterson met Hood through a business networking group. After struggling for two years to shed 50 pounds on her own, she decided to participate in the upcoming challenge, which begins Oct. 16.

“I like Wendy. I like her concept, I like her attitude and I feel inspired again to give it a try with her,” she said. “She attracts people that are go-getters and I want to be surrounded by go-getters because I think they’ll be supportive.”

Patterson said she is looking forward to encouragement and motivation from others with similar goals. On her own, it’s been difficult.

“When you go to a gym, you get one meeting with one trainer and that’s all you ever see of the trainer again, unless you pay massive amounts,” she said. “And even then I don’t think you get the quality.”

Natalie Worley didn’t wait for the challenge. In August 2007, after little success with various diet plans, she started with My H.E.A.L.T.H Kick.

“Working with Wendy was a real struggle,” she said. “There were times where I didn’t think I could do it. But she helped me with supplemental meal plans, as well as extra training that I could do on my own in addition to doing it with her. And she helped me get to a goal.”

Worley reached her mark in February. She said her body fat is substantially lower and her muscle mass is greater. She continues to attend kickboxing classes three days a week.

“It’s exhilarating, it’s constantly changing, it’s fun, fast-paced and just makes me feel great,” she said.

Since the challenge is more competitive, Hood is starting all participants on a five-day low-glycemic, high fiber cleanse.

The kit includes shakes, power bars and vitamins, which Hood said will help change taste buds to minimize unhealthy cravings. Teams then learn about healthy eating, recipes to follow and foods to avoid.

“We start off with a list of things that they should take out of their diet,” Hood said. “Once they take those 12 things out of their diet, they’re not going to crave the sweets they normally crave.

“The goal is to help them lose weight and continue to be healthy for life.”