When the winter holiday season begins, people traditionally spend time with friends and family, often gathered ’round the table. With so many opportunities to celebrate with feasts, Woodstock wellness coach Joyce Lande is challenging people to begin a new tradition – jump-starting their New Year’s fitness resolution with the Holly Jolly Healthy Holiday Challenge.

Lande’s six-week challenge combines wellness presentations with exercise routines over six sessions beginning Saturday, Nov. 22, through Saturday, Jan. 3, at Young Masters Fitness for Life in the Woodstock Square Mall. Participants have a chance to win a grand prize of $200 or a second-place purse of $100 for maintaining or improving their body mass index throughout the challenge. The cost of the program is $60, with a portion of each registration donated to the Woodstock Food Pantry. 

“The Holiday Health Challenge was created to help people maintain through the holidays,” Lande said. “The holidays really start at Halloween. Then there’s Thanksgiving, and, then, there’s Christmas. It’s a great place to start, and you’re among people who want the same thing for you.”

Partnered with Robert Knuth of Young Masters, Lande’s holiday challenge will bring in several local presenters for the health, wellness and nutrition talks and area personal trainers to engage participants in exercises like tai chi, stretching, strengthening and bootcamp basics. 

Knuth, owner of Young Masters, said he invited Lande to use one of his four fitness studio spaces to conduct nutrition and wellness programs, since she had been holding credible courses at the Woodstock Public Library.

“Joyce is a good fit for what we do here because she’s involved in teaching nutrition and good, healthy eating,” Knuth said. “For the fitness centers, good health, good nutrition, good fitness, it all goes together. We thought it would be a great partnership to work with her on the holiday challenge.”

A certified wellness coach, Lande said she continues educating herself and conducts a lot of research at the library. In her classes at the library, she presents topics like: how to pack a better lunch, snack tips for summer road trips and wellness tips for healthy kicks – what to eat before and after workouts.

Lande began her wellness journey with a health sciences company called Usana about a year and a half ago. Through Usana and her wellness education, Lande said she shed at least 15 pounds in a 32-day period and has been able to keep the weight off. Lande said she learned the importance of having a balanced blood-sugar level through eating low-glycemic index foods. She sells shakes and bars through the company, but she said she only advertises it to friends and clients when it is appropriate.

“You can spend hours at the gym, but if you’re not making good food choices, you might still be in a bad place,” she said. “Your foods that have high glycemic index cause your sugar levels to spike. I would eat a bowl of sugary cereal, for example, and an hour later, I was hungry. My appetite was because of the sugar spike. The Usana support classes began to help me understand how to make better food choices.” 

Lande started her own Happy and Healthy Family brand to share with others what she has learned. She and her daughter, Erica, enjoy time together in the kitchen experimenting with new healthy meal options and cooking dinners for the family. 

Lande said she invites the public to come check out the class Nov. 22 to get a leg up on fitness goal-setting for 2015.

“Start to make the commitment now so you don’t have to worry about that Jan. 1 or Jan. 6 and start doing a little bit. Take baby steps. One little change can start to come out to overall better health.” 

For information, visit www.youngmastersfitness.com or email Lande at landemom2@comcast.net.

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