Fit for Life

Gain to Lose: Increasing muscle is key to losing weight

SINKING SPRING >> I Am Fit Studios owner Ernie Groff specializes in transformations and helps clients to understand that strength training is an important part of the weight-loss equation. The fitness gym uses a system focused on before and after results.

“Our niche market is people who are overweight and obese. That’s 66 percent of Americans,” Groff said.

More than two in three adults are overweight or obese, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website.

The institute is under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Individuals that are overweight or obese have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other chronic conditions.

The institute stated it’s recommended adults do both aerobic and anaerobic activities. Aerobic activities are less intensive exercises that won’t cause people to run out of oxygen quickly like hiking and biking. Anaerobic is basically the opposite where you become out of breath in just a few minutes, for example, by lifting weights.

The I Am Fit Studio uses strength training, cardio exercises and nutrition to help individuals lose weight and gain muscle, Groff said. Fabienne Daniel started the fitness program last year and has lost about 60 pounds through it. In addition to dropping pounds, Daniel has gained muscle throughout her body. Daniel tried exercise programs before I Am Fit but said it felt “directionless.” Now she has a simple system to follow to get results.

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Fabienne Daniel has lost about 60 pounds by gaining lean muscle with the help of I Am Fit Studios. The fitness gym specializes in transformations.

Groff said it’s common for people to quit a new fitness program just after three months.

“That’s horrible because exercise is so conducive to quality of life,” he said.

He said I Am Fit is helping members not only to lose body fat but also to maintain a healthy weight with a personal trainer approach. Every time someone comes in for a session at the gym, they are working one-on-one with a trainer. Groff said the personal approach is what leads to transformations and keeps people motivated to continue exercising.

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Fabienne Daniel pulls herself up and down using arm strength at the I Am Fit Studio in Sinking Spring. The fitness gym teaches their clients that nutrition, cardio and strength training are the way to lose weight.

Groff has a long relationship with fitness and used to sneak in the gym as a child when he wasn’t allowed. He’s done boxing, power lifting, marathon running and more. He said fitness has helped him build confidence in himself during trying times in his life.

“It’s allowed me to go back to it almost spiritually no matter where I was at in life … No matter how beat up, no matter how isolated I was in life, I could always go back and start working out and work on me,” Groff said.

Groff is now sharing his passion for fitness with the I Am Fit Studios. He opened the first I Am Fit Studio last year in Temple. He opened a new location in Sinking Spring just a couple months ago. The studios offer free fitness assessment to anyone interested in becoming a member. First, the person fills out a questionnaire about themselves and their fitness goals. Then they find out their percentage of body fat using a hand-held monitor.

Groff said it’s important for people to know their body fat percentage especially as they get older when you start to lose muscle mass.

“Everyone’s body fat is increasing over time because as we age, we lose muscle,” he said.

Once the person knows their current weight and body fat then they sit down for a lesson in the science of weight loss. Groff said the I Am Fit system increases a person’s metabolism and replaced body fat with lean muscle. Metabolism is the process the body uses to convert calories into energy. Groff said an individual with a high basal metabolic rate will burn more calories while resting which includes activities such as sleeping, talking or standing.

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I Am Fit Studios employees work behind the counter at the Sinking Spring location. The fitness gym has a juice bar that sells nutritional items like protein bars and shakes.

Groff helps his clients to increase their metabolism by changing their nutrition and incorporating both strength training and cardio into the workouts. During the science lesson of the fitness assessment, people learn that the I Am Fit workout uses 30 minutes of strength training to break down carbohydrates. Different muscle groups are exercised on different days so not to lead to overtraining or overuse. After people work to increase their lean muscle then they enter the fat-burning zone with some cardio. Groff said clients really start to see a difference in their clothing because muscle takes up less space than fat.

Groff helps his clients go beyond just the exercise part of being fit but also provides nutritional meal plans. He said the right amount of nutrients can do great things for the body. The newest I Am Fit Studio in Sinking Spring has a juice bar where protein shakes and bars are sold. The meal plan for clients includes eating six times a day. Recommended meals are high in protein while limiting carbohydrates and fats.

Groff said he has clients from all over the area and those that don’t live locally can do their workouts through Face Time and videos.

“No matter where a person is, we eliminate all the excuses,” he said.

For more information about I Am Fit Studios, visit the website at www.iamfitonline.com or call 610-816-7753.

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