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Taking the slow path to fitness

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Super Slow Zone offers an alternative to getting fit

BANGOR When conjuring up visions of fitness and workouts, often you think of people moving fast. Running, jumping, blasting through workouts quickly and doing hundreds of repetitions as fast as possible are all fairly typical. But it's not the only way to get fit.

Super Slow Zone offers an alternative way to get a workout that doesn't involve going as fast as possible, but at the same time doesn't mean taking up a lot of precious time. Lyn Bragdon is the owner and a certified instructor at Super Slow Zone and notes that each session is by appointment only, which ensures you get one-on-one time with a certified instructor. You only have to attend one or two times a week, and even then it's only for 20 to 25 minutes per session. There are no TVs, no cell phones, no mirrors and no treadmills. Workouts can be done in any attire, including business clothes (just skip the high heels). They guarantee that you will get stronger and have tracking software to monitor progress.

And they are a professional service, not a gym. The process is accredited by IACET, which accredits physical therapists. Super Slow Zone accepts anyone from ages 12 to 99, including clients with medical issues and physical limitations she notes that they may not be able to do every machine, but they can modify workouts to accommodate almost anything. If you want a chance to see them in action, there will be an open house on April 2 from 2 to 4 p.m.

'To be honest, I joking[ly] tell me we're the anti-gym,'' said Bragdon in an email interview. 'We're a perfect fit for someone post-physical therapy that wants to continue to get stronger and might be intimidated by a gym.'

The open house is designed to take the mystery out of the business.

'It's a great opportunity to check out the studio and see first-hand that it's not a gym. It's also an opportunity to try the equipment and utilize the slow motion protocol and feel the difference between how we exercise vs. the typical fast-paced exercise,' said Bragdon. 'There are refreshments, but it rarely gets eaten. It's a chance to ask lots of questions about who we are and why we do what we do. Also a raffle for a free month of sessions.'

If you're busy that weekend, just set up an appointment to stop in often times the instructors are working with clients, so a pop-in visit isn't advised. All potential clients begin with a free consultation and sample work-out.

'We only ask that they fill out some medical paperwork, so we're sure not to make any condition they might have worse,' said Bragdon. 'It takes about an hour. SSZ wants to find out what their goals are and what results they are looking for. They get to learn more about why we do what we do and try out 3-4 machines. A try before you buy so to speak.'

So what is the importance of being slow especially in this fast-paced world?

'Our slow motion protocol means we help our clients take a full 20 seconds per repetition. Ten seconds from start to extension and 10 seconds back. Our mission is not the typical, let's see how many reps you can do at the highest weight you can handle. With SSZ, your muscle does all the work. There's no assistance from momentum. It's a slow, controlled, fluid motion,' she said. 'It challenges your muscles throughout the entire range of motion. The other key is the quality of the equipment, all medical grade Nautilus One designed to work the muscle through the entire range of motion. The other important note about slow is that it equates to safety. People tend to get hurt working out due to an improper movement - twisting, jerking or trying to heave through that last rep. Managing as much weight as possible in a slow controlled fashion with a certified instructor coaching you is about as safe a workout as you can get.'

And for Bragdon, this type of work initially was outside of her field of expertise, but it is something that is personally important so much so that she made it part of her career and her lifestyle.

'My background was in a completely different field 20+ years in the electrical wholesale industry! Due to various changes in the industry and an acquisition, I decided I needed a new career path. I have always understood the importance of exercise for our overall well-being, especially as we age,' she said. 'I haven't always been faithful about it. SSZ offers a service I would use, but there was nothing like it in our area. I really liked that everything was based on medical research conducted by a variety of research facilities. The other trigger for me being so passionate about it was watching my parents age. My dad had very minimal sight for the last several years of his life, which drastically altered his mobility. He could have used this service and had a much better quality of life the years before he passed.'

For more information or to schedule a trial session, call (207) 307-7063 or visithttp://superslowzone.com/bangor.

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