New Fitness Biz Is A Sister Act.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sisters Toni Parr and Jody Chaffee have just opened a personal training studio in Westboro, Get in Shape for Women, focusing on a balance of cardio workouts, strength training, nutrition and accountability.

Ever since her days growing up on a dairy farm in North Brookfield, Jody A. Chaffee has been interested in physical fitness.

Now, Ms. Chaffee and her sister, Toni M. Parr, are passing their healthy lifestyles on to other women at Get in Shape for Women, a personal training studio franchise they have opened at 45 East Main St.

The training studio gives the two women "the ability to help people physically, mentally and spiritually," Ms. Chaffee said. "We're helping people live longer." It wasn't just for the benefit of others that the sisters opened their own business.

Ms. Chaffee, 32, of Shrewsbury received two degrees in science: an associate's, with a concentration in physical educat ion, from Becker College and a bachelor's with a concentration in health education, from Worcester State College. While in school she was a triple threat in sports, playing field hockey, basketball and softball. After graduation, she said, she tried teaching everything from kindergarten to sixth grade coaching and being a personal trainer.

It was while working as a personal trainer that she decided to open her own business.

While working at Evolve Fitness in Framingham, Ms. Chaffee said, she was in such high demand that she began to work with her clients in small groups rather than one-on-one. The women loved it, and their enthusiasm influenced her to look for a business model that would support this type of workout plan, she said.

"I was making a lot of money for that company and not for Jody," she said. "When you work for someone else, you don't control your own destiny." Mrs. Parr 37, of Oxford had her own reasons for getting into the personal training business. After having two children, she had difficulty losing the weight she had gained during her pregnancies. She said she tried all the commercial diets and exercise programs, from Weight Watchers to Curves, but none gave her the results she desired.

Before Get in Shape, she worked nine years at Allmerica Financial Corp.

"I fell in love with the place," Mrs. Parr said, referring to Get in Shape. After just three months of training thro ugh Get in Shape, she lost 32 pounds. "I want to help people lose weight. It's a lot of hard work." The sisters said losing weight and getting in shape takes commitment and time.

"There's no quick fix to losing weight," Ms. Chaffee said. They suggest eating three small meals a day with small snacks in between, and nothing up to three hours before going to bed.

But diet alone won't work, they added. Exercise is equally important.

"Sometimes people don't think they can afford a personal trainer, but you really can't put a price on your health," Ms. Chaffee said. By cutting out fast food and eating out, and by getting rid of other unhealthful practices, the money saved could be used for a personal trainer, she said.

Women who don't want to go to a gym or fitness center should find a way to work out at home, Mrs. Parr said.

"You have to keep active any way you can," Mrs. Parr said.

"We finally have control over our lives," Ms. Chaffee said.

"I get to work out three to four times a week, lose weight and help people lose weight," Mrs. Parr said. "I never thought I'd own my own business. Women need to know that anything is possible." "Get In Shape For Women is the World's Largest "Small Group Training" franchise model for women, where one personal trainer works with a maximum of 2-4 women at a time, 30 minutes of weight training, 30 minutes of cardio, and supportive nutrition all for as little as $19 per session. There are 27 franchises located in the Northeast"

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