Takes 2 Fitness: A team of trainers takes getting fit to a whole new level
Article from Nashville Tennessean, Lifestyle section
If you log onto the Takes 2 Fitness website, you will see incredibly sculpted arms with a slogan – we burn ‘em, you earn ‘em. While that that sounds a bit more like Gold’s Gym than science, their approach really does meet somewhere in the middle. It is hard-core exercise, but with a very specific and professional approach. That is likely why their client roster includes some of the most well-known people in the city. Takes 2 gets the maximum amount of results for their clients in the shortest amount of time. Since I was a former devotee, when I finally recognized I was out of shape (and afraid it might become a permanent state), the first call I made was to someone I trusted.
A bit of history:
Five years ago, I worked out religiously with Jeff Bergholtz (owner and founding partner of Takes 2). At that stage in my life, I was in what most would consider ‘good shape’ and could schedule appointments to meet with him for a bit of torture and toning mid day a couple days a week. Fast forward to December 2010. After a pesky spinal disorder put me on the operating table four times in a little over three years, I felt like a softer, weaker version of my former self. The loss of strength combined with turning 40 hit me hard. While my friends and coworkers seemed to be attending classes or running to stay in shape on a regular basis, I was falling behind—WAY behind. And, well, it was showing On MY BEHIND! It was as if I had been ignoring it in some way, thinking I would continue to be the same size and resilient body type I’d taken for granted for years. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case and things were getting worse. So, I decided it was time to do something about it. Three months later, I’m still trying, and thankfully slowly succeeding, although it is a long road.
Biting the bullet and making the call for help was the hardest part. Once I got through that hour, it was officially on. At Takes 2, they have a set program of sorts, although each workout and fitness regimen is based on individual goals and physical strengths/weaknesses. The one thing everyone starts with is a consultation with one of the case managers. While horrified to be in a tank top and leggings while having my measurements taken, I knew there was no other route toward making improvements. So I swallowed my pride and allowed Jeff to take notes about my fitness level, body fat and overall state of physical fitness. While he has yet to say, I’m fairly certain the assessment wasn’t all that positive. I could actually feel my arms jiggling during part of it, maybe that’s the reason he didn’t tell me just how bad it really went! The next step (upon his insistence) was contacting my neurosurgeon. He did this on his own after I called to give the doctor a head’s up. Since my neck, upper spine and lower back have incisions to prove that there may be serious issues, he took that into account before we got started. We also discussed my lifestyle and schedule: how it had changed and become more demanding. During our previous training stint years ago, I had a great deal of flexibility and freedom – that’s no longer the case. My days are full and often times my nights as well. With less staff support at my office and more responsibilities, it’s important that I work out even when I’d rather make an excuse and cancel. We mutually agreed that the only way I would make it to my workouts on time and without interruption was if I arrived before daybreak. For me, this was like committing to diving into ice-cold water upon waking in the middle of winter. I am not (nor have I ever been) a morning person. Knowing that if I didn’t at least strengthen my core, I would not only have a ‘mushy’ body but could risk incurring another surgery. So I signed up. It wasn’t exactly with a smile—more like with a vengeance.
At Takes 2, they have many trainers and three very private locations in office buildings on West End, Music Row and downtown. If I were in good shape with no issues and strong discipline, then a YMCA membership might have made sense. But that’s not the case, I need help and direction. I also don’t want to deal with parking in a crowded lot or lost time fighting for a machine that I might not even use correctly. Results are important, but time is a huge factor. This is what sets Takes 2 apart. Almost all of the trainers have college degrees relating to physical health and all of them going through certification, training and requirements necessary to be on the Takes 2 team. In a nutshell, these people know their business and are experts when it involves the human body. More importantly to me (and anyone else looking to shape up), they are extremely skilled in reshaping bodies and in providing an extremely effective workout in a set amount of time. While there are dozens of ‘personal trainers’ out there, as Jeff has pointed out to me, those certifications may have come from going through a short series of credits on the internet. To train at Takes 2, there’s a bit more to it. The specified program is just the beginning. There is an accountability factor here that isn’t found elsewhere. It is more like a support system comprised of extremely knowledgeable people who are all striving to help you reach your goals. If your regular trainer is out of town on vacation—the replacement is briefed on your skill level and objectives so you don’t skip a beat.
At first, lifting 5lb weights with certain exercises was a challenge. I noticed instantly that Jeff watched and paid close attention to my every move. If I were faking it, he would have known. There’s no real ‘pushing’, but instead steady positive encouragement that drives you to want to do more. When I began, I could barely get through eight walking lunges per set with no weight. Two weeks in, he added five pounds, then eight. Now I am up to fifteen pounds, and that is enough (please say that is enough!). There is also gain in repetition. Starting with eight reps of a given exercise, such as standard dead-lifts or bench presses with zero weight was fine for the first 2-3 weeks. Ten weeks in, I am up to 20 reps of each exercise and getting them done in the same amount of time, as the resting isn’t needed as I grow stronger and more determined. In fact, a big part of building my core is supporting myself in a plank position. I could barely manage 20 seconds at first, and now I can outlast the minute ‘call time’ to add another 20 seconds to the count. There are usually groups of three exercises with ‘breaks’ of cardiovascular activity between each tri-set. At first, that break was briskly walking on the treadmill or elliptical machine. Now it’s running up 7-8 flights of stairs. The steps are actually a big part of what they build into client workouts. For me, the idea of running uphill on concrete is a little scary for my back. We improvised and I speedily walk up, skipping steps and hitting every other one, sort of like an uphill lunge done in a rush. Is it fun? Absolutely not! But I do this about eight times a week and can say that my leg muscles feel stronger every time I make it up. I may be out of breath, but I make it in the same amount of time as the joggers, hitting each stair.
The entire time we work out I am getting tips on how to improve my form for better results. As I grit my teeth to complete a few extra squats, Jeff (or one of the other trainers) is telling me about what muscles I am working and how/where I should feel it burn. There is laughter about the soreness the next day, but also a concentration on the ‘why’ of each exercise. I am much more motivated knowing that each step up onto a bench with the kettlebell is improving my posture and toning my backside faster and more effectively than if I were attempting to tackle some machine at a typical gym or health club. I need the encouragement and appreciate the factual insights they give me no matter how many times I’ve completed an exercise.
It might seem like what you do outside of your training time is your business, but that isn’t true here. If I’ve traveled, I know there will be questions about my nutrition or physical activity. There is something about knowing I will see Jeff and his crew on Monday morning that influences my decisions on Sunday afternoon. Most of the time, that relates to eating better. Takes 2 has a pretty strict program for dieters if you want to go that route which I didn’t at first, but the more I work out, the more I consider what and how much I put into my mouth. If I am working this hard and getting up before the chickens three days a week, I really don’t want to blow it by indulging in a birthday cupcake at the office. The other factor for me (and I am guessing for many professionals) is being accountable to another person. Not a buddy or a class instructor with 30 other attendees, but to one person who expects you to show up. I keep my appointments just like I would with those I am seeing on business. For those who need a kick in the pants in the fitness department, there is nothing like signing up for a set time, making a contract with yourself and another person and showing up and do the work. I don’t think I would have done this week after week if I didn’t feel responsible for getting someone else out of bed as well.
This is still a work in progress. For me, it is going to be a 16-week program before I am measured again. I don’t think I’ve lost any real weight, but that will begin once I really listen to Jeff and follow his eating advice. What I do notice is that I am firm in places I wasn’t before I started. I’ve also added hours to my day by rising earlier, I sleep more soundly and I have a better sense of pride. If for no other reason than that dragging my overworked and getting-older-by-the minute body out of bed three days a week. Doing this has also put things in perspective on other levels. I am more aware of my health and making this time a priority. Sticking with the training is something I consider to be an investment in myself, and at Takes 2, they guarantee that it is well worth it!Posted 04/04/2011