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spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer May 21, 2009
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Wellness regimen registers big weight-loss numbers for faculty, staff, students

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Twenty RIT students, faculty and staff members took the RIT Health/Fitness Challenge over the past 126 days. The group, including Christen Steinkamp, right, and Norma Fleck, left, focused on nutrition, fitness and wellness.

A. Sue Weisler

Twenty RIT students and staff have found the secret to getting results: group motivation. Together they have lost 138.5 pounds, 161 inches and 33.8 percent of their body fat.

Stephanie Rager, an industrial engineering graduate student, attributes the group success to camaraderie. “We motivate each other, we’re more than peers, more than friends, we’re a family,” Rager says. She has seen her bodyweight drop and lost inches from her waistline.

The women have experienced more than a physical change, it’s mental too–something that surprised Rager. “I’m more confident in all aspects of my life, personal and academic too.” She was so motivated by the class that she went through a TurboKick fitness certification training and will lead a course of her own in the fall at RIT.

The class is based on a five-day workout: three days of weight training and two days of cardio. The class is a mix of TurboKick for cardio, and ChaLean Extreme for weight training–a cocktail of two exercise programs merged together by Associate Director of Wellness Michelle Schrouder. It’s an intense program, and it’s paying off.

“We just finished our fourth month of the class, 126 days as a group, and every person has seen extreme results in their strength, muscle definition, and decrease in body fat,” Schrouder says.

The group did measurements, weighed in and measured body fat every 30 days–something that kept the group motivated.

The 126 days focused on fitness, nutrition and wellness. For nutrition, the group ate a combination of protein, vegetables and whole grains. The group never went on a diet. Instead, they changed the way they ate, eating six times a day every 2-3 hours. They increased their water intake and added protein to their snacks.

What started as another one of the 551 wellness classes offered at RIT ended up being the highlight for Schrouder. The wellness program at RIT holds classes for over 9,000 students every year, which is more than half of the student population at RIT. The courses offered range from massage to snowboarding, and new classes are constantly being added.

While the wellness program was originally designed for students, many faculty and staff members are taking part. Norma Fleck, a staff member in the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, is also taking Schrouder’s class. “I learned that I can do it. I’m 55-years-old, but I’ve become leaner and stronger and I know I can do more. I have more energy and feel good about my outlook on life, and myself. It really has changed how I feel about myself and life,” Fleck says.

While the women have seen great success, they’re not done. Fleck and other group members will be starting another 126 days next fall. As for this summer, all of the women are staying busy. Rager plans to train for a half-marathon, and both Fleck and Schrouder, along with 12 others, registered for four intense days of classes at RIT. All are enjoying their newfound lifestyle and confidence.

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Zach Myrow

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