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East County Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021 9 months ago

Sweat It Out

Exercise: We know it’s good for us. We know we need to do more of it. But choosing activities that are fun and engaging boosts your chances of success. Here are four ways to spice up your gym routine.
by: Emily Leinfuss

Whether it’s taking the stairs instead of the elevator, dancing in the living room (like no one’s watching), attending a group exercise class or completing a fitness circuit, our bodies need to move.

Experts all agree that regular physical activity “is one of the most important things you can do for your health” (Centers for Disease Control) and is “good for just about everyone” (National Institute on Aging).

Then why is it so difficult to get off one’s derrière and get going? We have good excuses reasons. Not enough time. Exercise is boring. We’re too tired, we don’t think we can rock workout fashion, and so on. But if the hitch is not knowing what to do or where to go, then consider one of these four local choices.


F45 Training client Holly Hulsman with coach Sam Curry

Aussie Inspired

As a freelance software developer, Lamar Miller could work anywhere in the world, so in 2016 he decided to travel down under. Once situated in Sydney, he discovered F45 Training.

“I’ve always been active and athletic but never was consistent at the gym,” Miller says. That changed at F45: “I’d show up, and everything was planned out for me. It was a quick 45 minutes in and out, and it was social and friendly.”

Miller particularly liked that every day was different. “You never do the same class twice.

“They (F45 training professionals, athlete and exercise scientists) have developed a database of more than 5,000 different exercises and are always inventing more,” he says.

Also, F45 classes, anywhere in the world, are coordinated by day of the week to ensure that members can access the right blend of today’s on-trend fitness cocktail of high-intensity interval training-style cardio (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) and resistance training (Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday). Saturday classes have a mix of both and might also feature a DJ or other fun elements.

Miller fell in love with his F45 workouts, and because he was already of a mind to start a “second-act” business, he visited its Sydney headquarters to learn about franchise possibilities. Once back in the States, Miller became a full-fledged franchise owner in February 2017. But it wasn’t until January 2018 that he launched his first F45 Training in downtown Sarasota. By August 2019, he’d opened F45 Training Sarasota UTC on Honore Avenue.

If you’re wondering about the name, Miller explains that the F stands for functional and that all classes last a consistent 45 minutes. “Functional exercises are designed to use body weight in a way that mimics everyday life. They strengthen muscles you need for playing with your kids, unloading groceries from your car or getting up from the floor,” he says.

F45 Training Sarasota UTC

8405 Honore Ave. 941-900-4599


Strength coach Michael Salerno works and trains at Whatmore Performance Training in Lakewood Ranch.

Game on Golf

You don’t need to be a golfer — and you certainly don’t have to be a pro — to benefit from the specific kind of training offered at Whatmore Performance Training. All you need is a desire to improve your game, no matter your rotational sport or level of playing.

“Our program design includes a systematic approach that combines optimal movement, mobility, stability, strength, power and recovery to enhance overall performance,” Owner James Whatmore says.

Originally from the U.K., Whatmore was a professional European golfer when, in 2008, he recognized that he preferred, and had an affinity for, helping other athletes meet their full potential. “Even when I was pro, my competitors came to me with questions about how to improve a certain movement,” Whatmore says. “I’d been through (this kind of) training process myself, and I understood the science behind it.”

Before he left the U.K. for Florida, where he first worked at The Concession and then opened WPT in 2010, Whatmore boosted his training credentials, earning certifications from Titus Human Performance Institute, the National Academy of Sports Medicine and more.

WPT is open to all ages, with clients that range from 8 to 90 years old. They are professional athletes, high-level amateurs and recreational players of golf, baseball and even soccer.

“Some come because they are getting hurt or injured when playing, some because they are not as powerful as they would like, and some come for technical reasons like they can’t quite do a certain technique,” Whatmore says. Whatever the goal, every athlete goes through a fully comprehensive assessment process before training.

“We build a conditioning program based on the assessment and what the player wants to achieve,” he says. Clients also have access to a nutritionist and physical therapist. “We have the complete package.”

Whatmore Performance Training

8916 77th Terrace E., Suite 101. 941-536-1070.


Karima Habity gave up hot yoga for fitness rowing two months ago.

Part of the Crew

It had been 20 years since the launch of Sarasota Crew and four years since the World Rowing Championships were held at Nathan Benderson Park when, in May 2020, Roberta and Ruben Baker opened The Row House UTC. “Yes, we are those crazy people who opened up a fitness business during the pandemic,” Ruben jokes.

In fact, the Bakers traded out one of their original franchise licenses, which were for Tampa and St. Petersburg, so that they could open here. “The Lakewood Ranch area is so attractive, and we wanted to be part of the area’s rowing community,” Roberta says.

A few years earlier, when the couple was about five years away from retiring, they decided to invest in a business that would be fun to run. Once they discovered The Row House, the Bakers were all in. “We loved everything about rowing, and the way The Row House was set up,” Roberta says.

Ruben explained that, depending on which one of the six class types (some are more cardio-focused, others emphasize strength and stretching), participants will spend a portion of class time on a state-of-the-art rowing machine and the rest on the floor doing strength training exercises. Proper rowing technique is also a priority, which is the focus of the “stroke” class.

“Rowing is an extremely high energy-burning and muscle-building but low-impact exercise. It can (build) posture and strengthen your body from head to toe,” Ruben says.

“Beyond that, classes are a fun and friendly 45 minutes. There’s great music and lighting, so they go by really fast.” And yes, there is reciprocity with the professional rowing community that includes taking groups out on the Nathan Benderson Park lake.

The Row House

315 N. Cattlemen Road. 941-444-2010.


Gentle Hatha is one of The Yoga Barre’s best-attended classes.

Move and Be Still

Janette Brown opened The Yoga Barre on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard in the beginning of April, but she is no newcomer to the fitness trade. She’s certified in spin, HIIT, barre, boom, chisel, Pilates and more and has taught at Crunch, Burn Bootcamp and Around the Clock Fitness.

But it was only after completing yoga teacher training that she knew what she wanted the focus of her own studio to be. “I think everyone should try yoga, so I set out to offer as many classes — as well as different instructors and class times — as I could in hopes that someone finds one that they love,” Brown says.

Classes at The Yoga Barre include gentle hatha, vinyasa, power, mobility flow, barrelates, restorative, aerial restorative and kids’ yoga, with more on the way. Buti yoga is once a month, and belly dancing and Zumba are offered as special events.

Although all Yoga Barre classes are open to teens and up, except for kids yoga (4– to 12-year-olds), Brown explained that some — hatha yoga, for example — are more appropriate for beginners. Others, such as power yoga, require a certain level of athleticism from participants, regardless of yoga experience, she explains.

Brown is quick to add that she is always willing to chat. “People will usually contact me if they are wondering where they should start according to their fitness level, injuries and need,” she said.

The benefits of practicing yoga go beyond physical fitness, Brown noted. “I set out to create a comfortable place that offers a sense of community and a respite from the noise of day-to-day living.”  Because, she adds, “it is so important to move but also to be still.”

The Yoga Barre

4124 Lakewood Ranch Blvd. 941-867-0812.

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