Three programs to get fit in 2013

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Rigorous ropes: Those taking part in the Ripped by Ropes class in 2013 at the H-F Racquet & Fitness Club in Homewood undulate the ropes in various patterns, such as doing squats while whipping the ropes up and down or doing jumping jacks with the ropes in hand. | Supplied photo

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A new year is a great time to work on becoming healthier and more fit. As it prepares to celebrate its 40th anniversary, the H-F Racquet & Fitness Club is unveiling some exciting ways to help members become lean in 2013.

The anniversary celebration will be the second week in January with special events each day. Members old and new, or even those who are just thinking of joining, will find something they enjoy, fitness operations supervisor Sandra Bingham said.

The club just began its fifth annual Fit Body Challenge. The 12-week program, which got underway Jan. 10, includes weekly weigh-ins, recipe and exercise tips and special workouts just for participants. There are prizes along the way for total weight loss, percentage of weight lost and percentage of body-fat loss, which gives everyone a chance to win, whether they want to lose five pounds or 50, Bingham said.

The program not only gives participants a way to lose weight but helps them kick start a healthier lifestyle by making them accountable to each other, she said. Participants also develop camaraderie, which keeps them going.

“We wanted to bring a bunch of people together who had a goal of losing some weight and getting fit,” she said. “We have seen dramatic results.”

Bingham said the program is currently accepting enrollment but cautioned that it has limited space.

Roping them in

For those just looking for a new way to get fit in the new year, the club will be offering the Ripped by Ropes class. Used for years by boxers and mixed martial arts competitors, ropes are quickly becoming popular for everyone.

The anchored ropes are 30, 40 or 50 feet long and an inch and a half thick. People undulate the ropes in various patterns, such as doing squats while whipping the ropes up and down or doing jumping jacks with the ropes in hand. “It’s a lot of fun,” Bingham said.

It sounds deceptively easy, but Bingham said it’s a difficult workout. The lightest ropes weigh 20 pounds, but the longer the rope, the heavier it gets. In the class, students will alternate between using the ropes for an exercise, then doing something different. Using the ropes for an entire class would be very difficult, and mixing it up keeps it interesting, she said.

“When you have those short bits like that, the time goes faster,” she said.

Another upcoming competition is the fourth annual indoor triathlon. Participants swim in the pool for 10 minutes, ride the stationary bike for 20 minutes and run on the treadmill for 15 minutes. Whoever goes the farthest distance in that time wins, Bingham said.

While the event is competitive, it’s also inclusive, she added. People who aren’t confident swimmers can run laps in the pool. And groups and families often sign up to participate together. The club also offers training for the event.

To sign up for the Fit Body Challenge, or just to learn more about all the programs the H-F Racquet & Fitness Club, 2920 183rd St., Homewood, offers, visit or call (708) 799-1323.