Fit together

Monday, February 25, 2008 | 12:34 p.m. CST; updated 1:37 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008
From left, Dianne Filbert, Marilyn Hoecker and Leslie Utterback work out together at Wilson's Total Fitness.

Here's how four Columbia exercise groups have committed to staying in shape.


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Marilyn Hoecker, Dianne Filbert and Leslie Utterback

By Nichole Wade

Names: Marilyn Hoecker, 57 , Dianne Filbert, Leslie Utterback, 59

Workout: Personal trainer at Wilson’s Fitness in Columbia

Diet: The women focus on eating a healthy diet and getting enough protein.

Payoff: All of them say that working out in a group helps keep the cost of a personal trainer manageable.

Advice: Get a buddy. Make working out a priority. Put it in your calendar. Try to get the workout done early in the day. Take a class that sounds interesting.

The sun had barely risen and frost still covered car windows, yet the fire crackled inside Wilson’s Fitness.

Marilyn Hoecker, Leslie Utterback and Dianne Filbert, along with Audra Jones, their personal trainer, were already immersed in conversation and laughter.

The three women are known around the gym as Jones’ “Charlie’s Angels.” They motivate each other through cardio and weight lifting workouts.

Twice a week they meet with their trainer for a full-body workout.

“She is a master of knowing our individual needs,” Hoecker said.

Hoecker and Filbert knew one another and worked out together before the threesome formed.

“We actually met in the gym,” Hoecker said with a chuckle. “We started chatting about our lives and our families.”

With the help of a trainer, the three women have found a united support system, always available to one another.

“My monthly membership is cheaper than any prescription medication I could be taking,” Utterback said. “That’s my justification.”

The women provided advice for those wanting to start working out or to boost their workouts.

“Meet Audra,” Utterback said. “We have a hard time coming up with an excuse of why not to come.”

Eric and Kristy Maxwell

By Allison Bennett

Names: Eric Maxwell, 25, and Kristy Maxwell, 22

Workout: 30-40 minutes of cardio, core strength daily

Diet: Eat what you like but control portions

Started: Christmas Day 2007

Payoff: Eric has lost 15 pounds. Kristy and Eric have been able to find quality time to spend together within their conflicting schedules.

Advice: It’s not just exercise or diet; it’s about a whole lifestyle change. There is no quick fix. Include a nutritionist and personal trainer in your plans. Set small goals and reward yourself when you achieve them.

The Maxwells’ wake-up call came over the recent holiday season when Eric’s father underwent quadruple bypass surgery. While visiting his parents for Christmas, Eric tried on a pair of his dad’s pants, and they fit perfectly.

“It was a gut check, literally,” Eric said. “I am a smaller, better-looking version of my dad, and anything that happens to him is going to happen to me.”

As a nurse, his wife Kristy’s instincts kicked in, and she immediately set a weight-loss goal of 30 pounds for Eric.

“It started Christmas Day,” he said, “which sucked because I only got one piece of pecan pie.”

Now, their daily exercise routine at the MU Student Recreation Complex consists of 30-to-40 minutes of cardio. They also do sit-ups and other core exercises with physio and medicine balls.

Kristy wants to expand from a cardio focus to include weight lifting in their regime. Inspired by their high school athletic experiences ­— Kristy was a swimmer and Eric was a cross-country runner — they plan to mix in swimming and running outdoors when the weather gets warmer.

Exercise serves a dual purpose for the Maxwells. Besides health and weight loss, working out provides time to be together.

Kristy works nights at MU Health Care Children’s Hospital, while Eric, a facilities coordinator at the MU rec complex, works mostly days. Their daily exercise routine is their designated time to spend with each other.

They let very little get in the way of their workout schedule. Until the weekend of the Missouri Grand Prix, which consumed Eric’s work schedule, they had not missed a day. The Maxwells’ approach is set small goals with rewards in sight. After Eric lost the first 10 pounds, he earned a cheeseburger. When he loses 20 pounds, it will be fajita night at the Maxwell house.

He rejects the claim that Kristy has him on a diet, “It’s not a diet, it is more being conscious of what you’re eating,” he says.

As a nurse and a wife, Kristy knows the healthy snacks that will keep Eric going, and she lets him eat most of the food he loves but with controlled portions.

“I’m a huge chocoholic,” Eric acknowledged. He keeps a stash of recently discovered Hershey’s 60-calorie chocolate sticks in his office. The couple also grocery shops together.

“There is no quick fix,” he said. “Working out with Kristy, she has been incredibly rewarding.”

The Calhoun Family

By Brooke Fletcher

Names: Mom Karen Calhoun, Dad Jason Calhoun and daughter Zoey

Workout: On Mondays, Karen works out in a class. On Saturdays, she and Zoey workout together. Thursdays are family workout nights. Karen and Jason have memberships to the MU Student Recreation Complex. The family has a workout room in their home with an elliptical machine and weights.

Diet: Lots of protein, fruits, vegetables and vitamins

Started: Karen’s friend started taking Pilates, and it sounded like a good idea, so she started as well.

Payoff: Functionality, balance, movement and a touchstone for family activities

Advice: Invest in fitness; it is worth it.

The family practices fitness and a healthy diet in a number of ways.

“We eat a lot of protein, lots of fruits and vegetables and we get our vitamins,” Jason said.

“But we eat more carefully now,” Karen continued. “When you know it’s going to take half an hour to work off that brownie, you’re just more careful.”

Their first steps toward Pilates were taken about a year and a half ago.

“One of my friends was telling me it was such fun, and I thought ‘I’d do that,’” Karen said.

Soon she and daughter Zoey were in the introductory class at Pilates for Everybody and Jason followed six months later. “I’ve been here for two football seasons,” he said.

Pilates is one element of their workout routine they do as a group.

“We do cardio and weights separately, but we do this together,” Jason said.

They say Pilates produces quite a few payoffs.

“When we first started working out, I noticed the little things,” Karen said, ”but now I even move differently.”

In addition to Pilates, Karen and Jason have a membership to the MU rec center and an exercise room at home.

The group agrees that working out is a good idea.

“The hardest thing is to make it happen, to make the commitment,” Jason said, but argues that it’s worth it.

“Investing time in fitness is like putting money in a retirement savings account,” he said.

Cindi Heese and Linda LaFountaine

By Megan McCalla

Names: Linda LaFontaine, 56, and Cindi Heese, 43

Workout: Running five miles a day (Cindi usually does a few more) on trails and roads around their Rock Bridge homes

Diet: Eating healthy, although desserts are not totally banned

Started: 10 years ago, after Cindi came back from Arizona

Payoff: Staying healthy “so we can eat the desserts,” Cindi says

Advice: “It’s a good thing to have a running partner. Find someone compatible. It keeps you motivated and consistent so you stay with it,” Linda says

For the past 10 years, Linda LaFontaine and Cindi Heese have started almost each day with a 45-minute run.

Waking up by 5 a.m. and running five or more miles a day is all part of their daily routine.

“We usually skip one day a week, Sundays usually,” Linda said.

Yet they don’t seem to mind waking up that early for a daily workout.

“It’s a jump-start to the day,” Cindi said.

The running partners met when Linda was director of the day care center where Cindi took her children.

They began running together and training for road races. Now they stick to running for exercise.

Although the weather can get nasty in Columbia during winter, they brave the elements.

“We won’t go if I can’t get out of my driveway, Linda said. “But that’s the only time we don’t run together.”

Cindi added: “Rain, snow, whatever.”

They run on treadmills only as a last resort, preferring to run outside.

“We belonged to the same gym for a while, but my membership expired, and I didn’t feel the need to renew it,” Linda said.

The two have become close as running partners and friends over the past decade.

“No one knows more about my life than Cindi,” Linda said. “We do talk while we run. We cover kids, job stuff, family, politics, movies, medical things, aging parents. You name it, we’ve discussed (it) while we run.”

Both cite benefits from running with each other, especially the motivation to get up and moving.

“Having a running partner definitely keeps me going. It keeps me accountable. I try harder,” Linda said.

“And I do depend on her. When she’s out of town, I don’t get up and run. That’s the proof.”

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Brooke Fletcher August 11, 2009 | 8:37 p.m.


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