Health checks: Manager of Court House gym Sue Pell, left, and fitness trainer Sandra Ricciuto at the new Sessions Wellness Solutions studio at Victoria Place, Hamilton. As part of the new weight loss programme guests are given a full body health assessment. *Photo by Sarah Lagan
Health checks: Manager of Court House gym Sue Pell, left, and fitness trainer Sandra Ricciuto at the new Sessions Wellness Solutions studio at Victoria Place, Hamilton. As part of the new weight loss programme guests are given a full body health assessment. *Photo by Sarah Lagan
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WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 16: According to the recently published National Health Plan 2011, the most pressing health issue in Bermuda is obesity.

Some 67 per cent of the population are classed as either overweight or obese which is largely linked to inactivity and poor nutrition.

A new six-week weight loss programme introduced at The Court House Gym’s new Sessions Wellness Solutions studio at Victoria Place, Hamilton aims to go some way to combating the problem.

The intimate twice-weekly group exercise sessions and full-time lifestyle coaching are aimed at men and women who need to lose about 30lbs or more.

Sessions studio provides a private environment away from main Court House gym and offers full-time support and feedback from experienced personal trainer Sandra Ricciuto. Session members are given two full body assessments and are given a personal profile with certain goals to reach by the end of the 12 exercise sessions.

Homework

Members are asked to do their own “homework” by emailing their instructor with details of what they have been eating and what exercise they do each night.

The programme was originally launched in September and the next group of sessions begin in January — just in time to burn off those Christmas season calories (that is if you intend to put on any Christmas calories at all).

Ricciuto has been motivating and educating clients about health for more than fifteen years. She has a diverse background in yoga, pilates, cycling, running, pre- and post-natal core strength and resistance as well as nutritional counselling.

She previously worked at a hospital in Canada doing weight loss programmes with the nurse clinician.

She said of the Sessions course: “We have three main goals and we break them down into small increments — we have a food goal, a lifestyle goal and a weight loss goal.

“Some current clients are aiming to do a 5k in January so that gives us something to work towards for instance.

“We break down what they need to do to achieve their goals and they get daily homework with a journal of their food and exercise. They have a plan every week — it doesn’t always go perfectly — but as long as they are about 80 per cent following it then it is manageable.

“Some people are uncomfortable with their weight but this is a private room and they are with a small group of other people struggling with the same problems.

“We had six people in  the first session — two lost 15lbs, three lost 10lbs and one stayed the same.”

One of Sandra’s clients lost 30lbs though he was getting one-to-one training outside of the regular group sessions.

Sessions provides specialised equipment for its group classes — it includes yoga and pilates, circuit training, TRX – suspension training, core strength classes and Swiss ball classes.

Real food

Gym manager Sue Pell said she and Ricciuto are proud to say that the weight loss programme involves “real food and real results”.

Pell explained: “This programme was something we were really passionate about. We felt that a lot of the weight loss programmes popping up around the island included buying powders and shakes and bars.

“That can be very expensive — one of our clients said she was spending $500 a month and staying on that for as long as she lost 80 per cent of her target weight. Then she came off of it and put most of it back on.

“When she started eating real food again, she hasn’t really changed education wise. We wanted to design a plan that was about real food and real exercise because we believe that if you lose the weight and learn the importance of exercise, you become passionate about having that in your life. You can eat real food and maintain your weight with exercise.”

Ricciuto added: “I encourage natural foods — I would call it clean eating. We have sample plates from the hospital to help them with their meal planning. One half of the plate is full of green, orange, all-coloured vegetables, one quarter of the plate is lean protein and then one quarter some kind of carbohydrate — that’s whole grains. We try to eliminate all white stuff — white flour, sugar… We eliminate sodas — the World Health Organization says that the number one factor for obesity and diabetes in children is excessive drinking of pops as well as processed foods and sugars. It’s two meals and two snacks a day. They are not getting hungry and trying to binge and the exercise is incorporated into it.”

You do not need to be a member of the Court House gym to sign up for the Weight Loss Programme though you will not be able to use its shower facilities.

The two private sessions plus 12 one-hour training sessions costs is $690 which equates to just under $50 per session.

Anyone interested in joining the weight loss programme should call Sandra Ricciuto on 292-8357 or email her on sricciuto@courthouse.bm.