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Body Evolution in the Press - May 8, 1997
Personal training no sweat for those shy about exerciseBy Allison Kaplan
Daily Herald Posted on Thursday, May 8, 1997
The desire to lose weight is obviously not enough to motivate our increasingly sluggish society to exercise. Paying monthly dues at a health club doesn't automatically get people in shape either.
Ken Hedrich, a National Collegiate Powerlifting Champion, says the answer sure to inspire the most reluctant and least active, is privacy.
"A lot of women don't want to sweat in front of others," said Hedrich, who runs a personal training service called Body Construction out of his South Elgin home.
Hedrich finds that people are willing to drive in from Addison, Roselle and Barrington Hills for the opportunity to train with a professional - totally out of sight of others.
Personal training is becoming big business, as research indicates weight training may be one of the best ways to lose fat, and people admit they need constant, individual attention to stick with a program.
Personal training is now as standard as aerobics classes at most health clubs. In Elgin last year, Wolff Health & Fitness Club opened a separate Personal Training Studio devoted entirely to personal weight training. Co-owner Mike Wolff said the studio is up to 80 clients, and could easily sign up 20 more if he had the staff time to accommodate them.
But while large clubs can offer access to amenities Hedrich's studio lacks - like a pool, sauna and full range of aerobic exercise equipment - total privacy of his basement gym seems to be selling a lot of sessions. Even the Wolff training studio has three separate lessons going at once, Wolff said.
"At regular clubs, other people are around and the trainers seem distracted," said Regina LuBecky of Barrington, who has been training with Hedrich once or twice a week for two months. She belongs to two health clubs, but couldn't get into a regular routine at either one, she said.
LuBecky heard about Body Construction from a friend, which is the way most of his 22 clients have found Hedrich - considering the only advertising he does is passing fliers around new subdivisions.
Most of his clients are women, who Hedrich said are in their mid-40s, looking for body-fat loss.
Training is his full-time job and while Hedrich might not be rich just yet, he said the low overhead of operating out of his home makes the business feasible.
Hedrich has been weight lifting since he was 10, and studied nutrition and education in college. He still competes with the American Drug Free Powerlifting Association and is currently working on a master's degree in exercise physiology at Northern Illinois University.
That expertise in total body health is also a big selling point, said Hedrich, who is certified in training with the National Academy of Sports Medicine.
Two years ago, he started offering lessons out of his South Elgin townhouse. Hedrich moved into a new home just a few months ago, primarily to accommodate his burgeoning gym, which includes$30,000 worth of the most up-to-date machines and free weights.
His program involves nutrition advice, body fat counts and an individually tailored program of weight lifting that he says provides strength training and cardiovascular conditioning.
Sessions cost $30 to $47, depending on how many a person purchases. That rate is comparable to most health clubs in the area, which charge between $35 and $60 for an hour of personal training.
From a business perspective, there is the concern for Hedrich that once his clients master an effective program, they won't need his help to practice it. But Hedrich said the privacy and attention seem to be more critical than the exercises.
"A majority of people seem to stay with it long term," Hedrichsaid.
The 27-year-old said he is not against the idea of opening his own gym one day, but home is keeping him busy enough for now.
"I don't desire to be rich," Hedrich said. "I just want to enjoy what I'm doing."
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