Shark Fitness is twenty years old! I started developing the program in 1999 with the goal of creating a group fitness class that was inexpensive, informative, would accommodate a very wide range of fitness levels and most of all, produce excellent results for all who signed up. At that time, the primary group training option was classes that asked clients to pace an instructor who took the class along with them. For only a few in the class, the intensity was spot-on with most over or underwhelmed…and that doesn’t produce the best results. Then, the prevailing theory was that to be successful at anything, you had to be honest and direct about where you are now and want to be down the road. Common sense dictated that if losing weight and being healthy was your goal, eating doughnuts and drinking margaritas wasn’t a bright plan. Statements like that would be met with, “That sucks…but he’s right.” Fast forward twenty years… A statement like that today is more likely to earn a reply like, “Why are you shaming me into being skinny? My body is perfect! I deserve to eat and drink what I want…so stop telling me what to do!” Clearly, we’ve made great strides toward being a healthy society where today, more than 2 out of 3 Americans are overweight or obese. I chose the “boot camp” format because the name implied the classic military style of being tough, simple in design and brutally honest. Shark Fitness took off and in a short time had a large and loyal following throughout the city.
Today, the fitness industry is broken. Society is looking for the easy, fun, feel good class that focuses more on their ego than making their body lean and healthy. What’s wrong with fun and feel-good? Nothing except it doesn’t work when it comes to exercise programs. Today’s so-called “boot camp” programs are nothing like I described above…nothing. The biggest offender is a program that trains inside a shoebox sized studio and a small parking lot doing what we consider warm-up level movements for 40 minutes. The exercises are grossly random, largely ineffective, technique is unsupervised and in order to fulfill their promise of “each class is different”…often ridiculous (ex: two people tapping 5lb dumbbells with each other while two more “twerking” in the background). There’s no shortage of high-fives and an endless number of post class selfies and videos to solicit “You’re awesome/amazing/incredible!” comments from fellow “empowered” clients. It’s embarrassing and awkward to watch for serious instructors. A trainee of theirs admitted that she didn’t see progress but went for the social aspect of the program. She added, “They are there to make a dollar…you’re here to make a difference.” That sums up the difference perfectly. Note: It’s no surprise that the program I mentioned is coming under fire for deceptive pricing and business practices.
Shark Fitness is a classic, no nonsense, honest, teaching approach to training. Effective exercise is tough and likely not considered to be fun. We ask our clients to make tough choices when it comes to their nutrition choices and lifestyle because everything is NOT okay in moderation when your weight isn’t healthy. The real strength of our program are the clients…who average about nine years in the program. They stick around so long because it works. They show up in all conditions to work hard, to listen and to prove to THEMSELVES what they can achieve. Social media is flooded with the “look at me” crowd and I realized this year that I can’t recall a single post-class selfie from a Shark Fitness client. Not one pouty lipped, ass projecting, camera-in-the-mirror shot motivated by the need to be told how great they are…their strength comes from within. If you really want to be around “empowered” people, try the guy who is battling a terrible disease yet shows up unless treatments force him to rest, a mom of seven who performs at the top of her class, a young woman who recently made history by completing Special Operations Selection in the Air Force, a 75 year-old guy who is excited about being an 80 year-old Shark, a woman who balances being a successful physician with her Ironman competitions, Moms and Dads who raise high achieving kids while leading by example, a woman who has a very painful autoimmune disease yet comes to class and gives her all despite a long list of limitations, a girl on a national championship field hockey team, selfless current and future military leaders, community volunteers, business leaders, difference makers…just to name a few. No matter what condition they are in now, their first few classes were an eye opener. A few weeks after starting, they are the first to pair up with a rookie and assure them that “it’s never easy…but you will get stronger.” Those are the Sharks and they beat the hell out of the look-at-me selfie crowd. They are the ones people in other programs aspire to be…they are genuinely good, dedicated, hard-working people. How serious are you about being genuinely strong…physically and mentally? You can play games and socialize or train with Sharks who get the job done. It’s time to get real. If you’ve been gone for a while…it’s time to come home.
JANUARY/FEBRUARY INDOOR PROGRAMS
M/W/F 5:45am-STL Community College-Meramec/Kirkwood
M/W/F 6:00am-Center of Clayton
M/W/F 6:00am-St. Gabriel-St. Louis Hills
M/W 5:30pm-STL Community College-Meramec/Kirkwood
T/Th 5:45am-STL Community College-Meramec/Kirkwood
T/Th 10:00am-STL Community College-Meramec/Kirkwood
UPCOMING PROGRAMS (in order of start date)
CENTER OF CLAYTON-MON/WED/FRI MORNING (6:00-7:00am)-Class begins Friday, 3 January 2020. Class runs from 6:00-7:00am and costs $169 members/residents/$182 nonresidents (Code 31235) for the five-week program. You must register with the Center of Clayton in person, call 314-290-8500 or online at: https://www.claytonmo.gov/government/parks-recreation/recreation-programs to pay with credit card. Participants may use the locker and shower facilities. Class meets in the Center of Clayton gymnasium. Instructors: Keath Hausher, President/Brigit Johnson.
FRANCIS PARK -ST. GABRIELS CHURCH-STL HILLS -MON/WED/FRI MORNING (6:00-7:00am)-Class begins Monday, 6 January 2020. Class runs from 6:00-7:00am and costs $130 for the 10-class (off 27 & 29 Jan) program. Please register with firstname.lastname@example.org before to the start of the program. The class meets inside St. Gabriel’s gym when the weather is extreme. Outdoor classes start on Donovan near the playground. This program CAN BE JOINED MIDSESSION. Instructor: Dale Bauer, CFT.
REGISTRATION FOR SLCC CLASSES BEGINS 6 JANUARY
ST. LOUIS COM. COLLEGE-MERAMEC-MON/WED/FRI MORNING (5:45-6:45am)-Session begins Monday, 13 January 2020. Register by calling the Continuing Education Dept. at 314-984-7777 (PEDU 755 P01). Class fee is $195 for the 15-class program. Participants may use the locker and shower facilities. Please park in lots “P” and “O” off Geyer Rd., the gym entrance faces those lots. Instructor: Sarah Jaskiewicz, CFT. Note: The class may train outside if weather permits.
ST. LOUIS COM. COLLEGE-MERAMEC-MON/WED EVENING (5:30-6:30pm)-Session began Monday, 13 January 2020. Register by calling the Continuing Education Dept. at 314-984-7777 (PEDU 755 P02). Class fee is $195 for the 15-class program. Participants may use the locker and shower facilities. Please park in lots “P” and “O” off Geyer Rd., the gym entrance faces those lots. Instructor: Keath Hausher, CMFT. Note: The class may train outside if weather permits.
ST. LOUIS COM. COLLEGE-MERAMEC-TUE/THU MORNING (5:45-6:45am)-Session begins Tuesday, 14 January 2020. Register by calling the Continuing Education Dept. at 314-984-7777(PEDU 755 P04). Class fee is $159 for the 12-class program. Participants may use the locker and shower facilities. Please park in lots “P” and “O” off Geyer Rd. Instructor: Keath Hausher, CMFT. Note: The class may train outside if weather permits.
ST. LOUIS COM. COLLEGE-MERAMEC-TUE/THU MID-MORNING (10:00-11:00am)-Session begins Tuesday, 14 January 2020. Register by calling the Continuing Education Dept. at 314-984-7777(PEDU 755 P05). Class fee is $159 for the 12-class program. Participants may use the locker and shower facilities. Please park in lots “P” and “O” off Geyer Rd. Instructor: Keath Hausher, CMFT. Note: The class may train outside if weather permits.