Surprise result for Spring squad

VIDEO Spring Into Summer produced some real stars in this, its third year, as readers threw themselves into the challenges. Features editor TRACEY SPARLING reports on how the squad found the ten-week fun fitness programme.

By Tracey Sparling

SPRING Into Summer produced some real stars in this, its third year, as readers threw themselves into the challenges. Features editor TRACEY SPARLING reports on how the squad found the ten-week fun fitness programme.

WHAT a result!

Every single member of the Spring Into Summer squad beat their previous attempt at a 'bleep test' - a timed run to test fitness endurance - when they ended the ten-week programme.

Personal trainer Matt Goldrick put them through their paces at the final event on Thursday night, at Next Generation in Ipswich.

Organisers watched in amazement, as the squad walked, then ran, past the levels they achieved when they first met back in March. Many had changed their eating habits and embarked on extra exercise alongside the programme's weekly activities.

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Matt said: “The difference really showed, and I saw a real change of attitude too - not that they had a bad attitude to start with! But from the initial trepidation we saw on their first night, when they didn't quite know what they'd let themselves in for, they quickly became keen to give the challenges a go.

“I think the weekly activities also motivated people to do a bit more in their own time, and I hope they keep up the momentum, to keep exercising in future.”

From orienteering to hip hop dancing, karate to squash, and football coaching at Portman Road, the squad had tried a range of indoor and outdoor activities throughout the ten weeks.

Ipswich Borough Council hosted many of the events at sports centres across Ipswich, and head of sport Steve Kemp presented the certificates.

He said a new survey has revealed that less than 50 per cent of people do 20 minutes of exercise three times a week, and added that he hoped the programme had helped dispel the myth that gyms are intimidating places, full of glamorous people!

Every squad member had lost weight over the ten weeks, with the average weight loss being three kilograms.

Teresa Buckland, 46, from Rushmere St Andrew dropped a jeans size. She said: I thought Spring into Summer would be about weight loss. It wasn't, it was fitness with lots of fun - it was brilliant! It exceeded my expectations.”

Nick Anthony, 46, from Grundisburgh said: “Being in a group really helped my motivation to do more exercise. I've really enjoyed it.”

The programme ended with members planning to meet up for a weekly exercise session, and discussing which fitness classes they wanted to do again.

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If you didn't get a place on Spring into Summer this year, please try again next year. Application forms will be printed in the Evening Star in February/March. We will be looking for people who have a good reason to get fit, and are up a challenge.

SWALLOW Belstead Brook Hotel in Ipswich donated a special prize worth hundreds of pounds, as a surprise for the squad.

A year's membership to the hotel's leisure club was presented to Anne Lewis, after she was voted the 'best sport' for her enthusiasm and dedication.

Comments from other squad members were: “She was game to it all a go,” and “She was one of the oldest in the squad, she never missed an event and always had a story to tell - a lovely lady!”

Anne, 56, of Girton Way, Ipswich had a tear in her eye as she won. The former pub landlady said: “For once I'm lost for words!”

Anne will be taught how to use the gym equipment and will have a fitness programme designed, to help her continue her fitness quest now that Spring Into Summer has finished.

As a full-time carer for her husband, she doesn't get much time to pamper herself so she's also looking forward to the luxury of the leisure club. She said: “I was looking at a picture of a luxury spa the other day and they had a flotation tank - I said 'wouldn't it be lovely to try such luxury.' Now I will be able to enjoy the jacuzzi, sauna and steam room at Belstead Brook.”

Name: Sharon Calthorpe

Age: 35

From: Beechcroft Road, Ipswich

What did you hope to achieve with Spring Into Summer?

To get fit and lose weight, and tone up because I'm getting married in November.

What sports have you tried before, and what stopped you continuing them?

I'd been to the gym. I liked netball at school and I do go horseriding sometimes, when I don't feel sorry for the horse!

How are you getting on with the group?

They are a good laugh. We all get on really well and nobody has a gripe against anyone, even though we are a complete mixture of abilities and ages.

Is weight loss part of your aim?

Yes

Which Spring Into Summer activities have you liked/disliked and why?

I didn't like squash because I couldn't get the grasp of it. I did like gymnastics - that was my favourite, and hip hop dancing.

Q&A

Name: Kerri Whiting

Age: 28

From: High Road, Trimley St Mary

What did you hope to achieve with Spring Into Summer?

Mainly trying new things, and finding some more activities to do and to do something different. I do stay quite fit, so for me this wasn't about getting fit.

What sports have you tried before, and what stopped you continuing them?

I do yoga and fitball classes. Fitball is a workout class with a big stability ball.

I've never really done any team games and I do a lot bike riding.

How are you getting on with the group?

Everybody's been really friendly. I think I prefer more individual exercise but it was good to try new things with other people. It's been nice to have a group because when we try new thing it can be intimidating.

Is weight loss part of your aim?

It would be brilliant if I had lost anything but it wasn't the aim.

Which Spring Into Summer activities have you liked/disliked and why?

I loved gymnastics. It was something I always thought I might like to give a go. I would love to take it up but it is on the same night as my other classes.

I didn't like orienteering as much. My sense of direction is appalling, even with a map and compass I'm just bad. And it was quite slow.

Q&A

Name: Chris Gordon

Age: 47

From: Claverton Way, Ipswich

What did you hope to achieve with Spring Into Summer?

To improve my fitness.

What sports have you tried before, and what stopped you continuing them?

All the marital arts you can think of. I took them on when I was seven.

I also do football, nearly anything you can think of I've had a go at - apart from cricket!

So even though I'm sitting down all day driving a car (as a driving instructor) I stay quite fit.

How are you getting on with the group?

They're a good bunch. It always helps if you're training with someone else because you can be pushed.

Is weight loss part of your aim?

I'm always fighting my weight. As you get older your metabolism goes down. And I eat badly at the weekends.

Which Spring Into Summer activities have you liked/disliked and why?

I liked the aerobics. I hadn't done it before because I thought it was a girly sport, but I was surprised. And I liked the orienteering.

The hip hop didn't do anything for me as it didn't get me sweating.

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