​In her mid-50s, Debbie Herring woke up each day feeling much older and worn out. 

For decades, she had suffered from chronic knee pain, and successful treatment for breast cancer had left her so weak, “I couldn’t even pick up a case of water.”   

Doctors urged her to exercise, but she struggled to stick with it until a friend made a helpful suggestion. Now 59, Debbie has more strength and endurance than ever. “I’m in better shape now than I was in my 30s or 40s.”   

The game-changer? Small group training. Two or three times a week, Debbie joins up to six people for the small group sessions. They are guided by a specially trained coach through challenging, safe and effective workouts adjusted for each individual’s needs.   

“I can’t say enough about small group training,” says Debbie, third from left above. “I won’t say it saved my life, but it saved my way of life. I do this so I can have the lifestyle that I want.”   

Group Support and Accountability   

Some people over 50 are confident working out alone. Others prefer to hire a personal trainer for one-on-one coaching, which generally costs more money.   

Small group training offers something in between, plus a lot more. Among the benefits are camaraderie, group accountability and encouragement, and the individualized attention small group trainers make for each participant.   

“I still get almost one-on-one training,” says Pam Shepherd, 69. “You form relationships with the small group. We laugh a lot. And the trainers put us through our paces. We are tired when we’re through with it.”    

That’s important for people like Pam. She doesn’t enjoy exercise for its own sake – she just knows she has to do it to maintain her independence and quality of life.    

“It’s not my favorite thing,” she says. “But if you don’t move it, you’re gonna lose it.”   

More than 18 million people participate in small group training a year, according to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA). Participation is high among mature adults. And the numbers are growing.   

“The reason is simple: club members love SGT (small group training),” IHRSA says. “It’s social, high energy, and, when done effectively, works wonders for helping them reach their fitness goals.” 

Modifications and More   

By our 50s, 60s and 70s, most people have gone through a physical challenge that can limit our ability to perform a certain exercise, or at least limit our ability to enjoy it. Maybe we’ve had a hip replacement, some other surgery, or a serious illness.   

Small group trainers apply their expertise to each member. If someone has trouble with a certain exercise, then a small group trainer can guide him or her through a modification or different movement.   That was essential for Debbie, who had grown weak, particularly with her chronic knee pain and cancer treatment.    

On her friend’s recommendation, she tried small group training and hasn’t looked back. Her knee pain went away, since exercise relieves joint inflammation and arthritis pain; and she has regained her strength. Debbie credits her small group trainer’s ability to cater to her individual needs while also providing effective training sessions – and the friendships she’s formed in the group.   

“I can do things that I never thought I’d be able to do again,” she says. 

  • Let us help you find the right training set-up to meet your goals – whether that’s with a small group, private personal training or in a Tai Chi or Ageless Grace class. It’s all up to you! We’re here to make it fun, effective and safe.

Healthy Recipe, Pumpkin Cupcakes

These seasonal treats are made with wholesome ingredients and are less sugar than usually found in these kinds of yummies. Make up a batch for family, friends or community gatherings.   

Serves: 12 / Active time: 45 minutes / Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes


  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tbsp wheat germ
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp 1% low-fat milk
  • 1 cup canned 100% pure pumpkin
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup expeller pressed canola oil
  • ¼ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup light cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¼ cup pumpkin 0%-fat Greek yogurt
  • ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup confectioners sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners and set aside. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, wheat germ, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined. 
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk until combined. Whisk in the pumpkin, sugar, and canola oil until well combined. Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared muffin cups, filling almost to the top. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. Remove the cupcakes and cool completely before frosting. 
  5. To make the frosting, place the cream cheese, yogurt, and vanilla extract in a bowl and beat at low speed until blended. Add the sugar and continue to beat at low to medium speed until incorporated and the mixture is creamy. Place in the fridge to keep cool until ready to frost.

NUTRITIONAL INFO 210 calories, 29g carbs, 4g protein, 10g fat, 230mg sodium, 2g fiber From Parade

​Whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you get healthier and happier:

1) Come in for a Custom Fitness Consultation

We’ll sit down together and discuss your health history, your goals, and simple steps you can take to achieve them and see if there is a way to work together to give you the coaching and support you need to get the results you want.

 If you’d like to discuss meeting for a Consultation, just reply and put ‘Consult’ in the subject line and I’ll follow up with you.

2)  I have FREE Open Office Hours during the week where you can call in and speak to me about your goals.

 The call is just 15 minutes out of your week, but the insights you’ll discover could impact you for a lifetime! To schedule your FREE consultation, reply and put ‘Call’ in the subject line. We’ll set up a time that works for both of us.

3) Be my guest for a free training session.

 If you’d like to come in to attend a Beginner small group training session as my guest…just reply and put “Guest” in the subject line, and I’ll get you all the details.

 Shelley Turk