North Shore Fitness Gurus
The Institute of Performance & Fitness
Photo by Sarah Jordan McCaffery
A jet-setting celebrity trainer. Innovative, star-making workouts. Is this Manhattan? Hollywood? Nope. It’s all happening right here on the North Shore.
WALTER NORTON, JR
INSTITUTE OF PERFORMANCE & FITNESS
Strength and conditioning coach Walter Norton, Jr., has trained celebrities like Ben Affleck and pro athletes on the Boston Celtics team, but it’s the people of the North Shore who show up at his gym at 5 a.m. to work out together that keep him excited to do his job every day.
These people range in age from 21 to 61. Some are former college athletes, while others never worked out before coming to Norton’s North Reading gym, Institute of Performance & Fitness (IPF). But they all have something in common: a dedication to themselves and each other.
“That’s the best team I’ve ever coached in my life...everybody brings something positive to the table,” Norton says of his early morning crew. “They take pride in being part of a community of people who want to succeed.”
Whether he’s training professional, college, and high school athletes, celebrities, or soccer moms, Norton’s methods have as much to do with a fitness philosophy as they do with physical exercise: Clients are expected to have a good attitude, be accountable, give their full effort during workouts, make healthy choices, and strive to always better themselves.
“We’re just asking them to improve on the basic footprint of who they are right now,” Norton says, whether it’s reducing body fat, becoming a better athlete, or work- ing to live a healthy life in the face of health or physical ailments.
IPF boasts 7,500 square feet of indoor space and 3,000 square feet outdoors, and clients train in a variety of settings, ranging from large and small groups to personal train- ing. Norton says people in the gym together might be doing a variety of different workouts depending on their abilities and personal goals, but they’re all training with each other, not just next to each other. And Norton and his fellow coaches are always paying attention, teaching, and coaching throughout.
“We’re preaching real behavioral change and success built on the process,” he says. “A good process almost always brings about a good result. ipfitness.com
KATHY G'S TREAD TABATA
“You can do anything for 20 seconds,” says Kathy Glabicky, and she should know. The Marblehead–based trainer is taking the fitness world by storm with Kathy G’s Tread Tabata, a calorie-torching program that riffs on Tabata training’s four-minute-long high-intensity interval training workouts by combining treadmill running with full-body floor exercises.
In Tabata training, participants go all out for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds, for four minutes at a time, which not only burns calories during the workouts but also afterward. Kathy G’s Tread Tabata includes four minutes of treadmill running using the Tabata method, plus Tabata-style upper body, lower body, and core workouts, with minute-long rests in between. The result is a strength and cardio program that works the entire body.
“But I’m not a runner,” people often protest. No matter, and not yet, is the answer. The beauty of Glabicky’s program is that it’s completely customizable.
“It’s really made for all levels. You can go at your own pace until you feel comfortable to really push yourself,” she says. For instance, people might walk for the first couple of treadmill rounds and then progress to a jog before slowly building speed and raising the treadmill’s incline. The exercises during the floor intervals are also customizable and always vary, challenging participants to use different muscles and keeping the workouts fresh, fast-paced, and exciting.
“Those baby steps create big steps, and that’s how you become successful,” Glabicky says. “I want people to know it’s for all ages and for all levels; you create what you want to do in this class.”
Classes at her Marblehead gym have a waiting list, but Glabicky is bringing her innovative training program to the masses by certifying instructors to teach Kathy G’s Tread Tabata classes at their own gyms (find a list of local gyms online). Download- able videos are available, too.
“My goal is to take this program nationwide,” she says. “I’m super excited to see what the future holds.” treadtabata.com
Kathy Garbick, fitness coach/wellness consultant at North Shore–based FitnessbyKathy.com, has not only been a personal trainer for 15 years but also has been a track star, a body builder, a web designer, and a high-end makeup artist.
“I have an eye for symmetry and creating that within people,” Garbick says. “I think of the body in those terms as well.”
Now, she applies all of those skills to her personal training clients, whether she’s working with them in their homes or their gyms. She starts with an assessment of their strengths, weaknesses, injuries, and long- and short-term goals, all while analyzing their form, how they move, and any postural issues they might have.
Although Garbick uses a variety of training methods, including weights, balance, flexibility, and Pilates, one of the key things she uses is the BioCored system. In fact, she’s one of the first trainers in the Greater Boston area to become a certified trainer for BioCored, which uses elastic suspension to allow the body to naturally correct and prop- erly align itself during exercises. “It’s almost like a system that awakens the body,” Garbick says.
Awakening the body, mindfulness, focusing on form, and encouraging clients to visualize what parts of the body they’re working are all part of Garbick’s philosophy. And clients appreciate the mindfulness that she gives back to them.
“I’m really hyper-focused on them, and they are very accountable to me,” she says. She’s also passionate about well- ness and working with the elderly on core strength and balance, which allows them to retain an independent, active lifestyle. She’s been called a “guardian angel.”
“Small little milestones for the elderly are so amazing and heart- warming for me,” Garbick says.
But whether her client is an older person who wants to move safely around her home, a woman who wants to lose weight and gain strength, or a man who suffers from chronic back pain, Garbick’s goals for them are the same: achieving good health and wellness.
“The body is a machine,” she says. “And you need to treat it well.”