Woman turns to new fitness program
Correction (Feb. 25, 2013: 10:16 a.m.):
Knopp was misspelled in a previous version of this story|
Our corrections policy
CHRISTIANSBURG — Shining the public spotlight on personal weight-loss goals is likely at the bottom of many people’s to-do lists and possibly closer to the top of their list of nightmares.
But Rhonda Hall isn’t most people.
This spring, the 45-year-old single mother of two will take on the role of guinea pig for the Christiansburg Aquatic Center’s new Swim Gym fitness program, and she’s invited The Burgs readers along for the journey.
The program, which kicks off Monday, aims to help adults with little or no swimming experience use exercises based on body weight and coached swimming activities to achieve individual fitness goals.
Hall’s goal is to lose at least 50 pounds.
“I’ve got to drop some weight. … I’m heavier now than I’ve ever been in my entire life, and it’s terrible,” she said.
On top of the regular insecurities of being overweight, Hall said the extra pounds are affecting her bad right knee, in which she previously tore the meniscus.
At 5 feet 5 1⁄2 inches tall, Hall estimated her current weight at about 250 pounds and said her goal was to see that number lowered by 8 to 10 pounds within the first month of the program.
That goal was set after Hall met with the program’s organizer, Susan Bricken, and then underwent a variety of physical tests and measurements, meant to gauge her current fitness level, conducted by program coach Julie Knopp.
Both Knopp and Bricken were quick to point out that aside from her weight, Hall is a healthy woman who is very strong and maintains low blood pressure.
Not only will Hall be guided through exercises during the three-day-a-week course, Knopp will help her track her diet using www.myfitnesspal.com and make healthier food choices. Similar guidance is available to anyone participating in the $35 monthlong program.
Hall said she believes having such support, along with the camaraderie of the other program members, makes this program different from others she has tried in the past.
“When you’re trying to lose weight, support is key. … When you’re accountable to someone, you’re more likely to stick with it,” Hall said.
One of those fellow group members will be Hall’s daughter, Yvette Martin, who has also served as part of Hall’s inspiration after the 17-year-old lost 85 pounds.
Martin said she hoped joining her mother would help the inspiration continue.
“I felt like if I did it with her, it would motivate her a little more,” she said.
Hall said she has also been motivated by her 19-year-old son, Robert Martin, for whom she would like to provide a good example.
“I need to show my son it can be done,” Hall said.
Robert Martin will be joining his mother and sister in the program and said he believed that having them along would help him take some much-needed steps toward healthier living.
“I’m 330 pounds, and for a 19-year-old, that’s not healthy at all,” he said.
Hall believes the Swim Gym program will provide a solid foundation for her fitness plan, but she expects to face challenges along the way.
Her top two?
“Time probably, that and bread,” she said.
When she’s not working toward her weight-loss goal, one might easily spot Hall out and about in the community.
She works full time for the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office as a lieutenant in the corrections facility and in the dairy department of the Christiansburg Kroger, and she volunteers for the Christiansburg Rescue Squad.
Her level of commitment to public service is something that has impressed Bricken, who served alongside Hall as a rescue squad member.
“Rhonda probably gives more to this community and cares more about this community than anyone I’ve ever met,” Bricken said.
With such commitment comes a hectic schedule, and Hall realizes a work conflict could likely cause her to miss one of the 6:30 a.m. workout sessions. She said she is just as committed, however, to making up any and all classes missed.
The aspect of Hall’s commitment that will likely set her apart from her classmates is the fact that she will be tested under the eye of the public.
Hall has agreed to a follow-up report each month on her progress — positive or negative — in order to send a message about body size and fitness.
“I want people to realize that even though I’m big, you can still be healthy at being big,” Hall said. “You can still be strong at being big, and if you really set your mind to it, you can do it.”
The Roanoke Times | 381-1643