Weight training can keep women strong and healthy

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Trainer offering free "Get Fit" program

By April Wright, Reporter



When women come to the iron gym at Elite Combat Marital Arts in Galax, many don’t seem to know how to work out correctly to get the most out their workout, said Heather Pyles, who owns the martial arts studio with her husband, Dean.
Pyles will teach a free “Women’s Get Fit Camp” on July 15 from 7-8 p.m. and July 16 from 10 a.m. to noon at the studio. The July 15 class will show the proper technique for lifting weights and different ways to use the weights. At the aerobics class on July 16, she will teach about cardio, kickboxing and diet.
“Anywhere that women go, usually they’re not taught how to weight lift correctly,” said Pyles. “They have to find the technique that is right for them.
“When they come in, I help them find a workout designed specifically for that person. For example, if they want to tone or build... [I teach] how to work out according to what their body is needing.”
Pyles said women in the area might be more inclined to work out if they knew how to do it correctly.
“I see women who would like to get in shape but haven’t taken the first step,” she said. “You just have to start off slow and work your way up. I would love to get a lot of interest, whether they decide to work out here or at home — just as long as they’re doing it safely, that’s my goal.”
Pyles, 40, grew up very active, participating in gymnastics and dance classes since the age of 3. She got her first weight set when she was 13 as a Christmas present from her dad.
Pyles also became heavily involved in martial arts when she met her husband, Dean, who taught the sport at a gym in Mount Airy, N.C.
“When I met Dean, I wanted to do way more martial arts than gymnastics,” said Pyles. “There’s a lot more respect and creativity, and everybody is there to help each other be better. Back then, anytime I had the opportunity, I wanted to learn something new from him.”
They now have three children — Whittany, 20; Alex, 14; and Hylea, 7 — all involved in martial arts. Dean and Heather opened Elite Combat Martial Arts studio in Galax in 2002.
Over the years, Pyles has participated in various weight training clinics in different cities.
“I just loved the way working out made me feel,” said Pyles. “The older you get, the more you feel like sitting down. I don’t want to sit down or use my age as a cop-out. I want to be able to keep up with my 7-year-old and, one day, my grandchildren."
Women can especially benefit from this type of training. “Only good comes from working out — it prevents osteoporosis, and lifting weights can protect joints by building muscles to cushion the joints,” she said. “It gives you more energy, provides confidence in sports and makes you healthier and happier.”
Pyles said she lifts weights every day and teaches aerobics Monday through Friday, along with martial arts and tumbling classes. She is also a personal trainer at the gym.
“It’s important that women become healthier,” said Pyles. “As women get older, the muscle goes away quicker than it is gained, and we lose muscle mass.”

Pre-register for the "Get Fit" classes by calling 233-4106 or 233-2622.
(Walk-ins are still welcome.)
For more information, visit elitecombatmartialarts.net.
The gym is located at 306 Grant St. in Galax and is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m.-9 p.m. and on Saturday until 6 p.m. Pyles teaches aerobics Monday through Friday at 5:15 p.m.  
Cost for the weight room is $20 a month, and aerobics class is $10 a month.
There is no contract to join.