Squad gets the exercise bug

MEET the Spring Into Summer 2006 squad, who have signed up for 12 weeks of fitness fun with The Evening Star! Features editor TRACEY SPARLING reports.HEARTS were racing and the blood was pumping, after the stars of the Spring Into Summer squad met up for the launch of the Star's fun fitness programme.

By Tracey Sparling

MEET the Spring Into Summer 2006 squad, who have signed up for 12 weeks of fitness fun with The Evening Star! Features editor TRACEY SPARLING reports.

HEARTS were racing and the blood was pumping, after the stars of the Spring Into Summer squad met up for the launch of the Star's fun fitness programme.

First the 20 readers and four Star staff were directed to the scales, then the tape measure, then subjected to an exercise session to test our fitness - and see if we can improve it by the end of the course.

The programme which runs until June, is being run in association with Ipswich Borough Council and Swallow Belstead Brook Hotel, with support from Kathryn Sutton and Angela Street dietitians from Ipswich Hospital.

Star readers have joined the course for different reasons - be it weight loss, to get the motivation to lead a healthier life, meet new people or to achieve a boost of confidence. There will be an event every week, plus nutrition advice, all designed to act as a kickstart to a healthier lifestyle.

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Monday evening saw the first event at the hotel, which aimed to measure what level of fitness we were all at, to see if we could improve by the end of the 12 weeks.

Star editor Nigel Pickover welcomed everybody, and observed there were a few worried faces as people don't yet know what events they have let themselves for! Over the weeks to come we will take part in a series of sports activities, which will only be revealed when an envelope is opened on the day.

The dietitians had analysed and scored the food diaries everybody had completed, so the results were handed out, along with special t-shirts for the squad to wear.

After taking everyone's weight, blood pressure, and waist measurement, the hotel leisure club's fitness instructors led a circuit training session, which saw us doing exercises including star jumps, sit ups, press ups and a shuttle run. The calf raises and step-ups, were simple, while others, like tricep kickbacks, involved a bit more technique. For many participants it was the first time in years that they had picked up a pair of dumbbells or a skipping rope.

Joanne Barry was delighted to win her place, as she re-applied after missing out last year.

A special mention must also go to Ashley Miller, who arrived on his bike and vowed to cycle to all the Ipswich events from his home in Bentley Road near Asda. Let's hope he doesn't get too worn out to pedal home afterwards!

Provides a one-stop exercise session, combining cardiovascular activity, toning and resistance training in an efficient workout.

Is done in a group, which helps motivation.

Tends to concentrate on "compound exercises" which use more than one muscle group at a time. These exercises are generally more effective than spending time on one piece of gym equipment that focuses on one set of muscles only.

Success lies in the variety of exercises, which are done in rotation.

You can work at a pace that is comfortable for you, or push yourself and set your own goals.

The fast pace is an excellent fat burner.

Carolyn Macartney

Lives at: Henniker Road, Ipswich

Age: 39

Occupation: Housewife

Carolyn said: “I hit the big 4-0 this year and want to shape up.”

Robert Willows

Lives at: Pinmill Close, Ipswich

Occupation: n/a

Age: 36

Robert said: “I want to get fit because I am organising a sponsored cycle ride for research in to an illness my son suffers from.”

Jennifer Hodges

Lives at: Fountains Road, Ipswich

Age: 57

Occupation: Paediatric nurse

Jennifer said: “I regularly pace up and down the wards, and I want to improve my health and appearance.”

Graham Day

Lives at: Ridgeway, Stowmarket

Age: 55

Occupation: Trainer on a construction site.

Graham said: “I'd like to get fit for a charity walk in aid of cancer research.”

Sheila Cattermole

Lives at: Downing Close, Ipswich

Occupation: Finance collector

Age: 44

Sheila said: “After years of being put down, I now have a new life and want a new me to match!”

Peter Chenery

Lives at: Renfrew Road, Ipswich

Occupation: Lorry driver

Age: 48

Peter said: “I want to lose weight to lower my blood pressure and cholesterol.”

Ezenna Hoy

Lives at: Sidegate Lane, Ipswich

Age: 34

Occupation: Office worker

Ezenna said: “I walk my dog every day, but I can't fit in to my clothes, and want to get fit for my son.”

Ashley Miller

Lives at: Bentley Road, Ipswich

Occupation: Software analyst

Age: 36

Ashley said: “I want to shape up - so I can see my feet!”

Carol Szyszlyk

Lives at: Maybury Road, Ipswich

Occupation: Behaviour support assistant with children

Age: 39

Carol said: “I'm 40 in September and it's time to sort myself out. I'm under tall for my height!”

Simon Smith

Lives at: Squires Lane, Martlesham Heath

Occupation: Civil servant

Age: 37

Simon said: “At nearly 40, I feel I need to shape up.”

Sue Casselden

Lives at: Tuddenham Avenue, Ipswich

Occupation: Administrator

Age: 32

Sue said: “I want to feel my age, and not 20 years older.”

Lynne Walker

Lives at: Dales Road, Ipswich

Occupation: Hairdresser

Age: 42

Lynne said: “I want to lose weight and get fit, to start living.”

Sharon Wright

Lives at: Simons Cross, Wickham Market

Occupation: Mum to six children

Age: 36

Sharon said: “I want to take part to do something for me, and it's my wedding in September.”

Ruth Longhurst

Lives at: New Lane, Holbrook

Occupation: Teaching assistant

Age: 44

Ruth said: “I'd like to improve my self esteem, feel fitter and lose weight.”

Joanne Barry

Lives at: Euston Avenue, Rushmere St Andrew

Occupation: Pensions administrator

Age: 36

Joanne, who also applied last year, said: “I want to improve self esteem, to have fun and to look better.”

Sue Beeston

Lives at: Blyth Close, Ipswich

Occupation: Housekeeper at Ipswich Hospital

Age: 51

Sue said: “I want to look better and feel good.”

Sally Gaffer and her daughter-in-law-to-be Faye Kent signed up together.

Sally lives at: Leggatt Drive, Ipswich

Age: 49

Occupation: Administrator

Sally said: “I can't remember when I last exercised, and I'm not getting any younger!”

Faye lives at: Foresters Walk, Barham

Age: 24

Occupation: Administrator

Faye said: “I want to be healthy, get motivated and confident.”

Dawn Cullimore and Brian Blacksell are both 'old hands' from last year's programme, who loved it so much they want to join the new recruits this year.

Dawn lives at: Roxburgh Road, Ipswich

Occupation: Teaching assistant

Age: 39

Dawn said: “I enjoyed the team spirit, and motivation and support I received, as well as giving it back to others.”

Brian lives at: Dorchester Road, Ipswich

Occupation: Credit controller

Age: 59

Brian said: “I took part last year and want to improve my fitness level even more.”

The Star team:

Features editor Tracey Sparling

Crime reporter Kate Boxell

Reporter Rebecca Lefort

Design editor Jonathan Elsey