Fitness in plush surroundings

HEALTH STUDIOS offer the opportunity to achieve physiical fitness in plush surroundings under expert guidance. Of course, the task of shedding those extra pounds and firming sagging muscles will still involve a certain amount of hard labour but with facilities like saunas, solariums and massage available on the premises; health gyms succeed to some extent in sugaring the pill.

Such pampering, ineviitably, costs money. On average, the membership of a health studio will cost beetween £75-£100 per annum. But if the money is no probblem (just think of it as £2 a week), and you Can spare the time \- roughly three one-hour sessions a week hthen there is no doubt the health studio will get you fit.

Quite apart from the plushness of the facilities, there are other good reasons to recommend these instituutions. The presence of a proofessional instructor who will diagnose your deficiencies and tailor a programme to fit your individual needs, will ensure your time and effort will be fruitfully spent. A good instructor will also provide the motivation, should your own determinaation wane. The problem of losing faith is also helped by the fact that health studios - only too well aware that the road to fitness is paved with good intentions - deemand their substantial fees in advance. Thus one is less likely to quit, having zealoussly handed over the memberrship fee.

The fitness training itself basically consists of exercises done with weights. This does not mean that you have to be a weight-lifter or an aspirring Mr World to participate (although the gym is bound to be inhabited by such types). In the case of the average non-athletic person, the weights used are light and their purpose is not to develop muscles, but rather to tone those you have.

Those who choose The Grafton Health Centre will work under the guidance of Joe Hoey , a fulltor. Although the Centre offers a wide range of extras - sauna, sunroom massage, etc - Joe's discipline is the single most important factor.

A good organiser whose no-nonsence approach creates a purposeful working atmossphere, Joe will diagnose, preescribe, drive or coax and provide the kind of external motivation lacking in more solitary pursuits of fitness.

'Provided their approach is right, I can help anybody', says Joe. 'Of course, once the initial enthusiasm wears off, some people are tempted to quit. But once they are here my job is to provide the right atmosphere and if necesssary, stiffen weakening reesolve'.

That resolve is most likely to need stiffening in the early stages of getting fit, when, as Joe explains, 'We are getting people fit enough to get fit. So for the first couple of weeks the exercises are relaatively gentle. After that we step the work up and really get down to business.'

If you stay the course for, say six months, you will achieve a significant degree of fitness. 'We can get excess weight off, improve your blood circulation and increase your lung capacity. If your body is fit and healthy, you are, of course, more efficient and less prone to suffer minor ailments', claims Joe.

In short, then, health studios offer much the same claims as other disciplines. But essentially what you are paying for is a physical guarrdian angel, like Joe, and some plush extras.

Finbarr Costello, Managing Director of Irish International Advertising and Marketing, agreed to test the Grafton Health Studio's facilities for

Magill by enrolling for a six months course.

Having started out six weeks ago with admirable deetermination, Finbarr is now delighted with the results. Allthough he had exercised reegularly, playing tennis and squash, he was a few pounds overweight. After the six week programme, he'd lost 10 lbs. 38-years-old, with an average alcohol intake of three pints or spirit equivaalent a day, Finbarr is at what, for a businessman, could be said to be a dangerous age. 'Of course, one's life is full of temptations. Business means a good deal of entertaining, and it is easy to indulge oneeself. It is also difficult to find the time to keep fit on a course such as this, but I have found it worth the effort', he said.

Finbarr has not felt the need for Joe Hoey's driving and, consequently, is left to get on with the programme Joe has prescribed for him. An integral part of the proogramme is a diet which is geared to suit the individual. This is fairly flexible and, in Finbarrs case, it was a matter for 'negotiation '.

Clearly then, the Grafton Health Studio can provide measurable results in a relaatively short period .•

Name   Opening Hours     Types of   Sauna   Massage   Sun   Solarium   Swimming   
  For Men     Membership     Room   Room     Pool   
Grafton Health Centre   Man: 1 pm - 10pm   £24.75 per annum             
(01 771405)   Wed: 10 am - 10 pm   plus 75p each visit   Yes   Yes   Yes   Yes   No   
-   Fri: 10 am - 10 pm   £75 per annum'     (£3.50 extra)     10 sessions     
              for £ 1 a     
Eurocentre   Man - Sun     Sauna             
(01 758424)   10 am - 10.30 pm   Membership   Yes   Yes   No   Yes   Yes   
      £35 per annum     (£1.75 extra)     £7.50     
Slender Health Club   Tues: 10 am   10 pm               
(01 886871)   Thurs: 10 am - 10 pm   £70 per annum   Yes   No   Yes   Yes   Plunge   
  Sat: lOam -10pm   £40 per quarter         (£8,50 for   Pool   
  Sun: 10 am - 1.30 pm           10 sessions)     
Olympic Figure & Fitness   Tues: 10 am -10 pm   £ 100 per annum             
(01 748442)   Thurs: 10 am - 10 pm   Exc. Membership   Yes   No   No   Yes   No   
  Sat: 10 am - 10 pm   £ 200 for four years             
  Sun: lOam - 3 pm               
I Grafton Health Studio, Cork         Yes   Yes   Yes   Yes   No   
(021 53766)           
I Me Shane Health Studio, Belfast   Man - Fri 10 am "- 9 pm               
(08435811)   Sat - Sun 9 am - 2 pm       Yes   Yes   Yes   Yes