Stars shine at fitness centre

May 16, 2002, vol. 24, no. 2
By Howard Fluxgold

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Star power has arrived at Pipers fitness centre. No, there aren't any celebrities buffing up their physiques, just a lot more fitness enthusiasts committed to working out regularly. And of course earning a star for their good work, like they did in grade school.

The idea was the brainchild of Yasha Rabbani (left), a third-year kinesiology student doing a co-op workterm at the fitness centre. “The whole point was to get people to come to the gym more regularly,” explains Rabbani. “So every time they came to the gym we gave them a star.”

There was a little more to it than that, notes Jessie Girard, fitness co-ordinator at the centre and Rabbani's supervisor. Rabbani created a poster to advertise the monthly program that includes fitness testing at the start and end of the month.

Each time participants showed up for their workout, they received a gold star to stick on their chart. “We know that there are lot of people who have difficulty maintaining a fitness program,” says Girard. “They'll get real enthusiastic and go one or two times then they're just not there any more.”
Adds Rabbani, “We tried to get people to be more consistent. You have to build yourself into a routine of coming back regularly. Once you are in a routine, you'll come back just because you want to work out,” and get a gold star.

At the beginning of April, the first month of the program, about eight people signed up, but by the end of the month there were about 40 names on the star chart.

Fitness Tests revealed that by the end of April, 90 per cent of those who signed up had improved.

“People approached Yasha at the end of April asking for the next star chart,” observes Girard. “There is another star chart for May and it's already full of names. I signed up too. I get a big charge out of putting a star beside my name. I get a feeling of accomplishment and pride when I see those stars because I know how hard I've worked for them.”

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