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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cloverdale - June 2011

Hometown Healthy, Hometown Fit!

Oh, dear. June. Already.

If you’re like me, and most other folks, you abandoned those well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions to “Get fit! Eat healthy! Yada! Yada!” well before Ground Hog Day.

Luckily, there is still time this summer to benefit from all the free or reasonably priced healthy eating and fitness programs offered around our county. We just have to get off the couch, go out, and look for them. (That does count as “exercise”, right?)  

Cloverdalians are especially lucky to have a variety of great resources right in our hometown, including:   

The Cloverdale Community Garden

Thanks to the efforts of our Senior Center’s staff plus its green-thumbed members and volunteers, a big vacant lot on the Boulevard has been transformed into a glorious “Garden Oasis” planted to bloom all summer long while its newly rediscovered fruit and nut trees yield figs, peaches, walnuts and more.

Since tending a small garden and strolling through the Oasis’s common areas guarantees us pleasant, low-impact exercise while a bountiful vegetable and herb harvest guarantees us healthy, low-cost eating, we leased one of the $40 public plots there in partnership with Planning Commissioner Mel Bagby who, like husband Jeff, is one of the Community Garden’s generous volunteers. 

Of course, getting truly fit and staying that way typically requires professional help.

However, before I came to Cloverdale, my own unhappy experiences with professional gyms spanned, or perhaps I should say Spandexed, the 1980s “Let’s Get Physical” era of leg warmers, head bands and gimmicky Specials masking a hard sell for Lifetime Membership.

I also endured rank gym smells and bored, poorly trained staffers who never seemed to know one member from the next or which machine was broken but, nonetheless, projected an “I’m totally conditioned and you’re not!” attitude.

As you can imagine, I was not enthusiastic about gyms or gym pros’. Not, that is, until I got to know the local owners of two top-notch franchises.  

Powerhouse Gym & Fitness Center

None of that ‘80s stuff here. Just a splendidly maintained and equipped, 10K+ sq. ft. facility complete with a tanning room.   

Meeting Powerhouse’s Owner/Operator Braulio Medina you know why, even in the last 6 months of ugly recession, its membership base increased 18% while its retention rate is impressive.

With a Sonoma State Physiology degree and decades of sports and bodybuilding achievements, including “Mr. California”, plus experience as the owner of 3 gyms, Braulio really works hard to provide everything it takes for men and women (for whom, BTW, there is a special workout room) to come into Powerhouse with widely differing knowledge, fitness and commitment levels yet still find and maintain a program that truly works for them as individuals.

Then, too, when I met Trainer Michele Johns I learned her many Certifications include Nutrition, Aerobics and Physical Training and that her preparation for professional dance won her a place in the prestigious New York City and Royal Ballet companies.

She also confirmed “there are no quick fixes” and she takes time to learn what each women member “wants most out of her exercise” in order to tailor a program that works best for her.


When you step inside one of its bright, unintimidating facilities and see women moving to familiar music (and occasionally chatting) as they work their way along a layout or “Circuit” of suitably sized exercise machines, the world’s largest fitness franchise doesn’t feel like the big business it really is.

Cloverdale Curves, for example, is owned and operated by the soft-spoken, ever-available Cheri Jimerson and family, so you’re sure to cared for by folks who care.

Known for their classic “30 Minute/Burn up to 500 calories” workout incorporating warm-up, cardio-vascular, strength training, cool down and stretch, all on easy-to-learn equipment that utilizes the imposingly named “hydraulic resistance”, Curves also offers a variety of personalized health and fitness programs.  
Typically described by members as friendly and comfortable, the Curves system works for a range of women of nearly every age including those who have never exercised, those who are returning to it and even devoted fitness fans as well as some of us with physical limitations.

For Hours, Prices, Etc. : Cloverdale Sr. Ctr., 311 N. Main St., 894-4826; Powerhouse, 110 Sandholm Ln., 894-0700; Curves, 115 E 2nd St., 894-4488