Local gyms encouraging sedentary kids, adults to get moving during March competition

Maple Valley’s Pinnacle Medical Wellness and Lacey’s Rock Fitness are very different exercise facilities that share the same approach to battling obesity.

Start moving. Keep moving.

There’s a bit more to it than that, of course, but when it comes to bucking a sedentary lifestyle it’s a pretty good, if not obvious, first step.

Pinnacle is a physical therapy business that has branched out to include fitness training and nutritional guidance. Rock Fitness is a gym that offers group exercise and personal training from a former Marine in a 16,000-square-foot converted warehouse.

Starting Monday, both organizations are taking part in a worldwide competition that aims to fight childhood obesity. Through March 22, almost every exercise in their gyms will be tracked in hopes their members (more than 300 at each facility) work out more than any other participating gym in the country.

The gym that wins the Let’s Move for a Better World challenge gets a collection of exercise equipment from event sponsor Technogym. They’ll pick a local school to which they’ll donate the equipment.

Both gyms use equipment manufactured by Technogym, an Italian company.

David London, owner of Rock Fitness, says his gym is set up around the equipment, making his place a functional fitness studio “nothing like a traditional gym.”

Joshua Lyons, owner of Pinnacle, says they added Technogym equipment and what amounts to a boutique workout studio to the physical therapy practice because it seemed like the best way to help people recover from and avoid injuries.

“We saw that most of the injuries people had were because of inactivity,” Lyons said.

So, Lyons said, Pinnacle physical therapists set about helping patients start moving. Every patient gets free access to the workout area during treatment and for three months after treatment. Then they can opt to continue for a fee.

One of the features Lyons likes most about the equipment is a key that stores information about the clients. The keys are loaded with a tailored workout program that set the treadmill, elliptical or other machines to the right settings.

The keys also collect information about the workouts to develop reports for physical therapists and personal trainers.

Beyond these reports, participants earn points for their workouts. These points then earn participants a spot in rankings at their gym and worldwide.

At London’s gym, a monitor displays the weekly leaderboard. It changes every time somebody uploads a new workout.

There are no prizes. Just bragging rights, London said. The rankings are meant to be a motivator.

An app called MyWellness allows participants to log activities outside the gym to earn more points. And not just for traditional exercise.

Points can be earned for any activity that requires movement. Even ironing your shirt earns points.

“One of the things that’s cool is that a 70-year-old person might not be able to work out with a younger person, but they are still getting credit for their movements,” London said. “But they get credit for the basic stuff they do in a day so they might see that if they do a little bit more maybe they’ll have the same number of (points) as a younger person.

“And therein lies the magic of the program.”

According to Technogym, less than 500 points in a day means you’re at a low activity level, while more than 1,000 points means you’re very active. A 45-minute walk with the dog and mowing the lawn for 30 minutes is enough to get you more than 1,000 points.

When the childhood obesity challenge competition starts Monday, only exercises performed on equipment in the gyms will count toward the competition. Both gyms are letting nonmembers participate.

It’s the second year for the Let’s Move competition. Last year, 12,404 people at more than 100 facilities worldwide participated, according to Technogym. A gym in Oklahoma won the United States competition and donated the equipment to a middle school.

Pinnacle had just started using the Technogym equipment when the 2014 competition started “so I’m sure we didn’t fare very well,” Lyons said.

And Rock Fitness got its equipment just a few days after last year’s competition ended. “So we’ve been waiting a year for this,” London said.

And while both hope they challenge for the title and get to pass along their prize to local youth, that’s not the only way to measure success.

“The most important thing to me is to get as many people involved as we can,” said Lyons, who’s hoping 90 percent of Pinnacle’s clients will participate. “We just want to get people moving.”