Blog : Integrated Fitness Issues Health Challenge

By Katelyn | Dec 13, 2015 | in

By Kristyn Lak Miller

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 69% of Americans age 20 years or older are overweight or obese. Yet, despite a booming diet industry and annual New Year’s Resolutions to lose weight, that percentage is expected to reach 75% by 2020.

“It’s time for a different approach to weight loss,” said Jon Arnold, owner and CEO of Integrated Fitness of Dover LLC. “Instead of going it alone or trying yet another fad diet, we encourage people to improve their health by losing weight through building muscle and eating better. That can be easier said than done, of course. So, for the last six years, we’ve held a semiannual Integrated Fitness Weightloss Challenge; it’s a unique, team-based program that really works.”

The next 10-week program begins January 11, 2016 at both Integrated Fitness locations, on Dover Point Road in Dover, NH and at Epping Commons on Calef Highway in Epping, NH.

“All participants are grouped into teams to compete together and this approach, though uncommon, is very important to participant success,” said Susan Brisson, owner and CEO of Integrated Fitness of Epping.

“We intentionally keep participant levels low to encourage camaraderie between teams—they support each other during shared weekly workouts and recognize all the victories made along the way. Also, with fewer people, trainers gain a clearer understanding of each participant’s fitness level and how best to assist each to make progress.”

With its low-key competitive approach to weight loss, the program includes regular regimented workouts, strength-training, and nutritionist-reviewed eating. While the main objective is weight loss, other physical and fitness measurements are taken to assess participant progress.

At the end of the program, various awards are given to participants, including the “Team Award” to the team with the greatest percentage of change (as determined by weight, body fat, and inches lost) and the “Weightloss Challenge Award” to the one person who loses the most while making the greatest improvements to physical conditioning.

Since 2010, Integrated Fitness’ team of professional trainers have helped approximately 500 clients successfully compete the challenge, losing a combined 4,500 pounds. “Beyond losing weight, we’ve seen our clients gain a better quality of life,” said Arnold. “We’ve helped participants get off of diabetes medication, improve their cholesterol, lower their blood pressure, and have helped many participants improve their general mobility.”

After losing around 25 pounds on his own, Doug Clarke, 45, of Dover, NH participated in his first 10-week challenging in June 2012. “I was 419 pounds and was extremely out of shape,” said Clarke. “They helped me get moving with appropriate exercises and not only helped me to get healthier, but also helped me to gain a lot more confidence in myself and my capabilities.”

Part of that confidence grows outside the constraints of conventional gyms, with nutritionists that meet with all participants on a weekly basis to review healthy eating habits, lifestyle changes, and strategies for success. “As part of the program, I found the nutritional classes to be extremely helpful in helping me deal with everyday encounters and to strategize around how to deal with everyday stresses and little bumps that will always come up in life around healthy eating,” said Clarke. “They give you the tools you need to be as successful as you can be with tips, tricks, and ways to help through difficult eating times.”

Integrated Fitness’ nontraditional gyms in Dover and Epping both offer a private environment, no membership fees, and instructor-led programs overseen by experienced, full-time trainers. They’re also eco-conscious, using mats made of recycled materials, giving new life to working secondhand equipment, and cleaning with green products and washable cloth towels; they also provide instruction for sustainable living and encourage clients to bring reusable water bottles.

For Clarke, who has lost 150 pounds, Integrated Fitness’ private environment and supportive staff are major parts of his successful weight loss journey. “Towards the beginning of my journey, I felt I was too big, too awkward, and too self-conscious to work out in a traditional gym,” he said. “But since the very first class I took back in 2012, I've felt very comfortable with Jon and his staff.”

Clarke singles out Integrated Fitness trainer, Cindy, for being a main source of inspiration and insight. “Cindy has lost around 170 pounds naturally and has kept it off,” he said. “Being able to connect with someone who has experienced big weight loss naturally has really helped me. Being able ask a lot of questions, seeing how she conducts herself and her habits have been hugely helpful in my journey. Jon and his team are all very knowledgeable and caring, and all have a passion for not only fitness, but for helping others succeed as best they can.”

Integrated Fitness’ next 10-week Weightloss Challenge begins January 11, 2016 at its Dover and Epping locations. For more information, call 603-343-5920; to register, go to

Green Alliance members save 10% on the Integrated Fitness Weightloss Challenge.