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Make the Time, Trainer Advises Working Women

By Sarah Moran

Suzanne Jackson of East Goshen is married and has three children, a busy career as a CPA (especially during Tax Time, which has begun in earnest), an active social and church life and - truth be told - no more than five consecutive moments during any given day to devote to exercise and healthful eating.

At least that's what she thought, until she began working out in January 2007 with West Grove-based athletic trainer Linda Jassmond Lanfear.

The result, besides Jackson sloughing off 20 pounds and inches from waistline, stomach hips and legs, is "Journey to Fitness: Chronicles of a Working Woman," Lanfear's journal-style book about client Jackson's successful attempt to incorporate work-outs, better fitness and more healthful nutrition into her life.

The paperback is published by Alexemi Publishing, West Whiteland, and is sold by dot-com booksellers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Lanfear spent about $10,000 on the project.

"My goal, originally, was to simply feel better in my own skin," says the 45-year-old Jackson, who has three sons with husband Kris, a senior IT director with Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. "This is about so much more than weight loss. I now have confidence, and that helped me get a new job with a pay raise. I also handle a lot of things in a more positive way than I once did."

Jackson has worked for Stephano Slack, a Chester County accounting firm, since October.

Comments Lanfear, 48, "Suzanne thought she didn't have the time to work out. This is a really common reaction among working women. They're usually so exhausted that they don't think they have time to fit in exercise."

Lanfear set about convincing Jackson otherwise. "If a woman doesn't have time to go to the gym, then she has to adapt her house and her lifestyle to make the time," she said during a recent interview.

She worked out a program for Jackson that incorporates step aerobics, done to music at her home, as well as on the elliptical cross-trainer and treadmill at the new West Chester YMCA. Jackson also does floor exercises and uses free weights, and plays lacrosse and basketball with her sons.

"Suzanne was an ideal client because she did everything I asked her to do, and then some," said Lanfear.

Responds Jackson, "Linda makes anything seem possible. She isn't in your face and she doesn't ask you to 'Drop and give me 20' like some gung-ho athletic trainers. But she's tactfully encouraging, and urged me to set my own goals."

Almost two years after working out with Lanfear for six months, Jackson still exercises at least four times a week, 45 minutes at a crack. She's kept off the weight and is working hard at portion control, her admitted bugbear. "I am an absolute foodie," she says. "I love to cook and I love to eat, and I love to eat what I cook."

Reflecting on changes in the fitness field since she began personal training 25 years ago, Lanfear notes that classes are now very specific. "Aerobics used to be step; now it's 'Step and Sculpt.'

Classes are very specific. There are other aerobic styles as well as varieties of yoga styles, Pilates, etc."

She teaches step aerobics at the Southern Chester County Y and at Kirkwood Fitness on Route 3, and also works out with 10 to 12 private clients at either their homes or, when the weather is fine, at parks. (Most fitness clubs don't allow outside trainers to train clients there, mostly for insurance reasons.)

Lanfear, who has a torn cartilage in her knee, no longer plays competitive volleyball. But she still works out regularly on her own and manages a mean game of tennis.


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