A decade ago, the space at the south end of the rear strip of the Avenue of the Flowers shopping center was a yacht brokerage. Then it was a real-estate office. Since January, it has been home to Your Fitness Instructor, and, from all appearances, the space has found its rightful occupant, and vice-versa.
Your Fitness Instructor is not a health club and it’s not a gym. There are no membership dues and no high-pressure sales pitches. It’s a personal-training studio with a business model that is apt for the needs of Longboaters: one-on-one personal-training sessions designed for the individual client’s specific needs, health history and goals.
Petar Sibinkic is the owner. Your Fitness Instructor is his vision, and his enthusiasm for the concept is genuine and contagious. Regular readers may remember him from the August 2009 column on kayaking and kayakers; Sibinkic is a veteran of two Olympics games: Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000. There are three personal trainers working with him at Your Fitness Instructor: Rich Bennett, Kathleen Friedmann and Steve Schewe. The team has a total of 90 years of combined experience, and they have all worked extensively with mature adults.
The studio is new from the ground up, built out to Sibinkic’s specifications with all-new equipment. For cardiovascular conditioning, there are free-motion treadmills, Precor elliptical trainers and an Octane seated elliptical — a new category of fitness equipment. Also known as a recumbent elliptical or elliptical bike, it combines the no-impact, natural motion of an elliptical cross-trainer with the seated comfort of a recumbent bike. Using the handlebars brings the upper body into play.
For strength training, Your Fitness Instructor has a circuit of Roc-it apparatus from a company called Hoist.
Its claim to fame is “the unrestricted joint movement and core-activating benefits of functional training coupled with the stabilizing benefits of machine-based equipment.” Instead of sitting in a fixed position, the user’s position dynamically adjusts with the rocking movement of the machine, which results in less pressure on joints and better isolation of muscles.
Yet another impressive new toy at Your Fitness Instructor is a free-motion, dual-cable cross, which can be adjusted to any angle for virtually any movement, from conventional squats and bicep curls to sports-specific work designed to improve your tennis, golf or other sports performance. Sibinkic’s favorite addition is something called the Power Plate, which he thinks is “the future of fitness.” A vibration plate transfers vibration to the user’s muscles, tricking the body’s gravity sensors. In effect, this increases gravitational pull to make you work harder. To oversimplify: a push-up on the Power Plate is worth two push-ups on the floor.
The vibration of muscle against bone also abets bone density.
The philosophy of Your Fitness Instructor is that staying physically and mentally active is the simple key to well-being in the later years. This team believes that clients should not have the same workout time after time; workouts need to constantly change to remain challenging for the exerciser and to avoid boredom.
Sibinkic stresses watching the client’s face to see how much they can push, whether when strength building or stretching.
There’s a certain joy to Your Fitness Instructor. Part of it is that the studio is so new, bright and clean. Part is that the trainers and clients are just plain pleased to be there. Part comes from a certain spirituality, evidence of which is a box full of inspirational thoughts and actions on tiny rolls of paper. Clients and visitors are encouraged to take one. Mine said, “‘We must rid ourselves of yesterday’s thoughts to receive today’s new and positive feelings,’ Sydney Banks. Take action: Be mindful of the positive activity occurring around and within you today.”
That sounds more than a little like Sibinkic’s credo: “I want clients to leave the building with the sense of having accomplished something,” he says. “That is the best possible feeling for both the client and the trainer.”
And one of his clients would certainly agree. Lois Fishman’s workouts have increased her bone density 4% and decreased her cholesterol and blood pressure. A 77-year-old size 2, she can bench press 100 pounds.
Your Fitness Instructor is open seven days a week by appointment. Sessions are $65 per hour or $40 per half-hour. Call 312-6126 for more information or to schedule a workout. Clients are encouraged to come early and/or stay late to extend their cardio or stretching work.
Molly Schechter is an ACE-certified personal trainer, with a specialty in older-adult fitness plus YogaFit Instructor Training, SCF Yoga Fundamentals and Power Pilates™ Mat Certifications. She teaches classes at the Bayfront Park Recreation Center and the Longboat Key Club. E-mail her at [email protected].