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Firm Resolve

Better than a billboard, St. Charles Avenue Athletic Club (1600 St. Charles Ave., 523-2582) owner Mario Gonzalez is the best kind of advertisement for the benefits of his gym. In 2007, he made the life-changing decision to get in shape, and over the next six and a half months of improving his diet and working out with personal trainer Erik Frank, he lost 95 pounds and dropped 14 sizes. Starting January 8, club members can take part in a new 14-week 'New Year/New You" program designed to deliver the same kind of transformational results.

While the recently renovated, 8,500-square foot facility offers an assortment of equipment (weight machines, free weights, cardio equipment, exercise balls and more) and 31 classes each week (including yoga, Pilates, step aerobics, spin, salsa and group weights), health club members don't always know how or have the discipline to take full advantage of everything that's available for head-to-toe conditioning.

The NY/NU program " open to 12 people and led by Frank, who's also a competitive power lifter " takes care of that for them. Sessions held on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for an hour and a half cover circuit training, resistance training, fitness boxing and core training.

'If you do the same exercise all the time, your body gets used to it, and you won't lose weight," says Gonzalez. 'You have to change things around." Participants will receive a physical assessment that includes body fat screening, weight, flexibility and endurance testing, as well as a reassessment in the middle of the program and again at the end to evaluate progress. The full package works out to be less expensive than the same number of individual personal training sessions.

If those incentives aren't enough to get you moving, here are a few more. St. Charles Avenue Athletic Club perks include free parking in the club's lot, locker room and shower facilities, free towels, a separate women's workout room, a 15 percent discount at the Planet Beach tanning salon and a 10 percent discount at the West Indies Café, both located in the same building as the club.

With a wealth of fitness equipment and a highly motivated staff, members can head into 2008 knowing that improved health and fitness can be theirs as long as they have a positive outlook and a real commitment.

'It's about attitude," says Gonzalez, speaking from experience. 'It's just a matter of wanting to do it. We need to help ourselves before we can move on and help others."

For classes, hours and fee information, visit www.scaac-nola.com.

click to enlarge St. Charles Avenue Athletic Club owner Mario Gonzalez - works out with the help of trainer Erik Frank.
  • St. Charles Avenue Athletic Club owner Mario Gonzalez works out with the help of trainer Erik Frank.
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