Don’t be one of the 3,000,000 in 2013

“What really motivates me is the feedback I get from my clients and seeing the way that they motivate each other.”
“What really motivates me is the feedback I get from my clients and seeing the way that they motivate each other.”

Donna Scott, owner of is celebrating a year of helping people shed those pounds and become healthier and fitter in the process. In 2012, her River Valley Slim down challenge has helped more than 50 people get in shape, and lose weight. In the process, they have improved their balance, flexibility, relieved stress, and have challenged and improved their fitness levels. winners received over $4,000 in prize money, donated over $1700 to local charities like the Shoreline Soup Kitchen, Tri-Town Food Bank, Community Dining Room and the Red Cross, Hurricane Sandy appeal.

But she is not stopping there and a recent report has motivated Donna and her clients to work even harder in 2013 in her New Year, New You River Valley Slimdown Challenge.

“For the first time, obesity related deaths now exceed those from lack of nutrition according to a report published last week in the British Medical Journal” said Scott.

In a wide-ranging report, which compared health data between 1990 and 2010, the Global Burden of Disease Report concluded that obesity is now a bigger global health crisis than malnutrition and it is the worldwide leading cause of disability.

1·3 million deaths were due to diabetes, twice as many as in 1990 and the report revealed that every country, with the exception of those in sub-Saharan Africa, faces alarming obesity rates — an increase of 82% globally in the past two decades and over 3 million deaths world-wide were related to obesity.

“What really motivates me is the feedback I get from my clients and seeing the way that they motivate each other.” One client recently wrote to Donna saying “Once again, THANK YOU! Without your slim-down and motivation, I'm sure [my friend] and I would still be sitting around the kitchen table talking about losing weight instead of doing it!”

The River Valley Slimdown is a “biggest loser-style” competition where the participants with the largest percentage of weight lost over the challenge period share prize monies and receive prizes from local businesses such as massages from of Old Lyme and make-overs from of Old Saybrook.

Participants pay a small registration fee and then participate in a minimum of two (but normally three) IFoundFitness classes such as yoga, spin, tabata bootcamp or Zumba. Donna is in her studio early with her first classes ideally timed at 5.30am for those wanting to workout before work, other classes are run during the day for moms of school-age children or in the evening.

My clients are loving the Tabata concept. While Tabata training is becoming increasingly popular it is not a new concept. It was based on exercise research of Dr. Izumi Tabata. Dr. Tabata used a very specific method of interval training for his 1996 study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. In the study, he had cyclists perform 20 seconds of all-out effort followed by 10 seconds of rest. The participants repeated seven to eight sets of the exertion-rest intervals, equaling just about 4 minutes of actual workout time. The results were so striking that this type of training was named after its creator, hence "Tabata" training.

Participants in his study who performed Tabata training five days a week for six weeks (a total of 120 minutes of exercise over the month and a half) improved both their aerobic and anaerobic endurance. Their anaerobic fitness increased by 28%. The control group exercised the same number of days, but for a full hour per session at a moderate intensity (for a total of 1,800 minutes over the study period). They only saw improvements in their aerobic fitness—and it took them much, much more time exercising to achieve those gains.

But Donna is certainly no advocate of “get fit quick” schemes. Tabata and the River Valley Slimdown are just two tools in her extensive suite of programs and classes which can help anyone achieve their fitness and health goals, “even if you think your exercise days are over” smiles Scott. “Another program near and dear to my heart is senior fitness and getting "deconditioned" individuals back into shape slowly. I have been teaching "Sitter-cise" at other local area senior centers for the past 2 years and they still want me back! We start the program with light aerobics , then 75% of the program is chair based resistance training, using light weights, bands, gliding disks, and medicine balls”. Donna is now offering this popular program in her downstairs studio in Deep River on Tuesday mornings at 11.00am.

In addition to the fitness piece, IFoundFitness is concerned about nutrition and has partnered with Penny Smyth, CHHC, AADP, certified health coach with New Beginnings, who is offering a complimentary 30 minute consultation with the first ten participants to register. Penny, will also be offering several mini-workshops about weight management and healthier eating to all participants on Saturday mornings.

Donna Scott is owner and founder of IFoundFitness, an AFAA (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America) Certified Trainer, Tabata Bootcamp® and Zumba® Trainer Licensed in Basic, Gold and Toning, a Mad Dogg Athletics Certified SPINNING® trainer (indoor cycling) and holds a CPR certification through the American Red Cross.

For more information on the New Year New You River Valley Slimdown go to their website