SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - When it comes to shaping the lives and bodies of today's military community, no one does it quite like Kristy Osborn and her crew of personal fitness trainers.

Currently based out of the Martinez Physical Fitness Center, here, with outreach services extending to Helemano Military Reservation (HMR), as well, Osborn and staff usually get the call whenever Soldiers, civilians or military family members need assistance in toning up their bodies, dropping weight or training for a particular sporting event.

Those who come calling are usually women, although some of the Army's male representatives will often seek out help when trying to boost their Physical Training scores, she said.

"I'd say that one out of every six of my clients are men, and they usually come to me if they have to pass their PT test," said Osborn, head trainer of the Oahu North Community's fitness centers. "Other than that, it's usually women we're working with."

For clients, the benefits of having a personal trainer are tremendous. Aside from increased muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance, most patrons notice almost immediate results in improved body composition and flexibility.

For example, Dana Ryherd has felt increased vigor since beginning a training regiment with one of Osborn's personal trainers, Vicki Rieger, nearly five months ago. In that time, she's maintained her schedule of meeting with Rieger for hour-long workout sessions, twice each week. In addition, she finds time away from the gym to log about six miles of roadwork weekly.

"I've got a lot more energy nowadays," noted Ryherd, the daughter of retired 1st Sgt. Penny L. Johnson. "You could say I'm much more enthusiastic when it comes to exercising."

Most customers would agree that personal fitness trainers are needed as much for their knowledge as they are for their encouragement.

"People are less likely to skip a workout knowing they have an appointment with us," said another personal trainer, Katie Knight, who's personally responsible for about a dozen clients. "It's also motivating to have somebody there watching them and coaching them. They tend to push a little harder than if they're on their own."

All new clients must first meet with Osborn, who then puts them through a total body assessment, in which body fat and circumference measurements, and cardio fit, endurance and muscle strength tests are conducted. Based on those results, fitness goals are discussed. Additionally, recommendations on a training program are made, and workout times are agreed upon.

"We try to get a feel of why they're here and what their goals are," Knight explained, "but there's one thing we are not, and that is nutritionists. We can tell you a lot of things about what you're eating, but we won't prescribe a diet for you."

And while Osborn receives the lion's share of clients, other trainers get their assignments based on their specialty and clients' schedules.

"For example, I'm a triathlete, and that's my specialty. Since I strongly believe in cardio and weight training, I may get those type of clients," Rieger said, who currently has more than 20 clients.

"But Kristy will make the assignments based on several things," she continued, "like personality, schedules and what her trainers do and fully believe in as well."

Here's another perk to the program: low cost.

While personal fitness trainers around Hawaii generally charge about $65 an hour, Osborn's staff helps keep money in their clients' pockets by slicing that rate in half. One-on-one sessions cost $35, while the charge for group training sessions drops to $25 per person.

"I used to train over (in Mililani)" said Karen Woodward, an Osborn client for the past three years, "but the trainers here are just as good. And it's much cheaper."

Ultimately, determining whether to hire a personal fitness trainer is a personal decision, Osborn noted. Regardless, she has one bit of advice to those who find themselves living a sedentary life.

"Just move," she said. "That's the most important thing."

<b>'Biggest Loser' makes it ways to the islands at Fort Shafter gym</b>

The local version of "The Biggest Loser" is back, getting an earlier start in its second go-around as potential contestants attempt to shed those pounds gained over the holidays.

In 2008, the inaugural contest kicked off in April, culminating over the Fourth of July weekend as the eventual winner shed 45 pounds, or 10 percent of his body weight.

This year, the three-month weight-loss program, based on the hit TV series, runs from Jan. 4 to April 1.

"We're trying to catch all those people making New Year's resolutions," said Kalei Scoggins, recreation assistant, Fort Shafter Physical Fitness Center.

Contestants will again be weighed, here, once each month, as well as have their blood pressure, body mass index and pulse rate checked. But the goal of the contest, Scoggins said, is much more than simply dropping weight.

"We're hoping to improve the person's whole health in general," she explained. "We'll continue to provide as much help as possible for them. We'll have outdoor conditioning and circuit training activities for those who sign up, and we'll even have a registered dietician on hand to provide advice.

"Beyond that," she continued, "everything is optional, so they'll get as much out of it as they put into it."

Due to the popularity of last year's contest, Scoggins is expecting more than just a slight bump in the overall number of contestants.

"Last year, we had 75 people sign up for the contest," she said. "This year, we're expecting between 100 and 150 people."

The contest is open to all active duty Soldiers, retired Soldiers, National Guardsmen, Army Reservists and their adult family members, as well as Department of Defense and Army & Air Force Exchange Service civilians.

The registration fee is $5. All monies collected will go directly into program incentives, Scoggins said.

To enter the competition or for more information, call the Fort Shafter Physical Fitness Center staff at 808-438-1152.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16