Finding time to stay in shape not that hard

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The alarm rings and you jump out of bed. Racing to get showered and dressed, you eat a quick breakfast if you’re luck, run out the door and head off for work.

Returning home that evening you are exhausted. “Maybe tonight will be just a quiet night in so I can relax,” you tell yourself. After dinner the kids get ready for bed, you make sure that goes smoothly, the kids are tucked away and you plop down in front of the television. A few hours later you head to bed, wake up in the morning when the alarm clock goes off and start your day all over again.

Well, not everyone has kids, but for most Americans, there is an excuse we make every day. “I get home from work too late,” “I leave for work too early,” “With my commute, I just don’t have any time,” and “But I just need some time for myself,” are some of the most common reasons people give for not doing something to stay in shape.

As a nation, we are so focused on time that to give up any of it for just about anything is a near impossibility.

But staying in shape doesn’t mean giving up hours of free time. Just ask Richard Berle, owner of Body By Berle in Fresh Meadows.

“For someone who feels that they don’t have enough time to work out, this is the perfect thing for them,” he said of his fitness center’s Nautilus circuit training system.

“Just working out two or three times a week for half an hour each time is all that you need to get in shape and to stay in shape,” Berle said.

The philosophy is very simple: The more muscle you have, and the firmer that they are, the more your body burns calories. Even at rest, every body burns calories from just breathing. The more muscle you have, the more calories that get burned. Factor that into a healthy lifestyle, and the muscles you have can burn the calories — and the fat — for you.

At Body By Berle, there are a series of 10 machines, each specifically designed to work muscle groups in the most ergonomic and healthy way possible. Also, you work with a personal trainer for each session. The trainer adjusts the weights for you and has one machine ready to go as soon as you are done on the previous one.

“We elevate your heart rate on the first machine, and you go straight to the second without having to wait,” Berle said. “At a health club, you usually have to wait for a machine, and your heart rate drops down during that time. With us it’s never crowded.”

The 10 machines Berle uses are designed to improve muscle strength and by bringing weight resistance through the full range of the movement. For example, if a person lifts weights on a barbell, the hardest point in the curl is when the arm is sticking out straight and the elbow is bent at 90 degrees. The points in the swing of the barbell after that and before it do not have the same resistance. In the Nautilus setup, there is an equal amount of resistance through the full range of the motion.

Essentially, it is harder.

“The good news is that since it is more efficient, you only need to do one set,” Berle said.

According to U.S. Department of Health, 92 percent of Americans do not exercise regularly, year-round. The number one reason given for stopping an exercise program or not starting one in the first place is not having enough time.

“With just two half-hour sessions a week, you can get in great shape,” Berle said.

Berle’s credentials as a fitness expert are initially evident by his own physique, and become more apparent with his history. About 16 years ago he was the owner of a restaurant business who wanted to keep fit but didn’t have the time.

“And then I heard about the Nautilus system, and the time it took is what attracted me,” Berle said.

He started going to a gym that had the equipment, and learning how it works. “The problem I kept running into was that I would go one day, and the seat for one machine would be set at one height, then the next time I went I was told it should be at a different height,” he said. “I figured that whoever designed these machines did it with a purpose. They had to have a real concept of how they should be used.”

Berle started attending seminars on the machines, and grew to realize that the only reasonable way to use them, and for the workout to be most effective, is to have somebody who knows your machine adjustments work with you to help you use them right. “I was amazed that there were these great machines, but nobody knew how to use them,” he said.

It was shortly after then that he decided to open his own Nautilus system in Great Neck, accepting clients by appointment only so they could get that one-on-one training that is vital to the system’s success. He was the only person on Long Island doing it at that time, and now has expanded and moved his office to a more central location for his customers.

And as for the time it takes, Berle said his system give those excuses not to work out a run for their money. “Everything that is done in our society, that is important, you need an appointment,” he said. “Keeping your body in shape is at least as important as seeing a doctor, or your accountant or getting a haircut. People should elevate keeping fit to the important status it should have.”

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