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 August 1, 1999

Combat Fitness encourages full circle of life’

WESTMINSTER — In a market full of fading fads, the latest fitness craze has a refreshing “back to basics” philosophy. Combat Fitness, created by Westminster resident Tracey Nazarenus, is now being taught at recreation centers throughout the Denver-Boulder area.

“We’re all looking for a quick fix, but we all know there isn’t one,” says Nazarenus. “(With Combat Fitness) we say there isn’t a whole lot of tricks, but there is a fun way.”

Nazarenus stresses the “full circle of life” in her classes, motivating clients to balance work stress, family pressures and a healthy diet. The one-hour workouts focus on eight target areas of the body: biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest, back, abdominals, legs and the cardiovascular system.

“I loved my first class; I couldn’t wait to sign up,” says Kim Bechard, who has been attending class for 10 months. “I couldn’t walk for two days, but I came back for more,” adds the 43-year-old human resource manager and mother of three.

Combat Fitness originated from the routines Nazarenus created for herself on her 52-pound weight-loss journey from being an overweight stay-at-home mother to a svelte entrepreneur. “I just started winging it,” says the certified personal trainer. “I do the weirdest ab exercises you’ve ever seen in your life, but I have washboard abs.”

The name Combat was suggested by a friend who witnessed one of her workouts and compared it to military combat training. But for some class members, combat means building mental and physical toughness.

“It’s always about fighting your own limitations,” says Chris Sauser, a 34-year-old financial consultant who has been attending class in Westminster for eight months. While his weight has remained constant, Sauser says he has lost fat and gained muscle definition.

Sauser’s initial experience made him feel humbled but not intimidated. “The class is primarily women — mothers — and they pretty much kicked my butt,” he explains. “That was good for me; I felt challenged and kept coming back.”

While the routines often incorporate free weights and machines, Nazarenus points out she can — and has — conducted class in an empty field with no props at all. Running, calisthenics and ball sports are often mixed in. With more than 400 combat routines, each class session is refreshingly different.

Rather than play music, instructors play games with their classes, involving questions about nutrition and fitness, or make them count along with the exercises. While a wrong answer might invoke an instructor’s order to do 10 push-ups, Nazarenus points out, the classes are fun.

There are seven Combat Fitness instructors, including Nazarenus and her business partner Tina Rose, that teach classes in Arvada, Louisville, Westminster, Lafayette, Broomfield, Wheatridge, Englewood, Littleton and Lakewood.

“They do really well with people of all ages and abilities,” Bechard says. “They’re really careful about making sure people don’t hurt themselves.” If a certain exercise is too difficult or uncomfortable, class members can raise their hand to receive an alternative. Trainers work to ensure a supportive environment where class members not only encourage one another, but become good friends.

Bechard is a member of the Combat Team along with other women and men between the ages of 25 and 55. All diehard Combat veterans, they participate in fund raisers and other fitness events. “They do things that would make football players cringe,” claims Nazarenus, who has invited three police departments to do an exercise challenge against the team for charity.

“One team dares the other to do an exercise, and they have to do it until someone cries ‘Uncle’,” she explains. “None of (the police departments) could find enough men to go against the team,” she says.

Classes are usually three times per week with one-hour sessions, but there are one-and-a-half hour sessions two times per week as well. Prices run from $75 to $125 per month, depending on the location. Because the classes are held at public recreation centers (with the exception of the Broomfield Stars Training Centers), no special membership fees are required.

Since starting the company three years ago, Nazarenus estimates they have invested about $20,000. “We’re trying to find an investor to take it national,” she adds.

Combat Fitness already has a large following on the Front Range, growing to 500 clients in three years. If Nazarenus and Rose have their way, classes will be taught across the country.

WESTMINSTER — In a market full of fading fads, the latest fitness craze has a refreshing “back to basics” philosophy. Combat Fitness, created by Westminster resident Tracey Nazarenus, is now being taught at recreation centers throughout the Denver-Boulder area.

“We’re all looking for a quick fix, but we all know there isn’t one,” says Nazarenus. “(With Combat Fitness) we say there isn’t a whole lot of tricks, but there is a fun way.”

Nazarenus stresses the “full circle of life” in her classes, motivating clients to balance work stress, family pressures and…

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