Unique Fitness Program at Magee Offers More Than Just Exercise

By Rick Pietzak

Quitting smoking, losing weight and getting in shape are popular New Year’s resolutions but they are difficult to keep. A new fitness program at Magee-Women’s Hospitalof UPMC is designed to help you keep that resolution by offering physical and mental health support. 

Jeffrey Gusenoff, M.D., co- director, UPMC Life After Weight Loss Program and associate professor of Plastic Surgery, Department of Plastic Surgery, and Vicki March, M.D., medical director of the Lifestyle Program in the Minimally Invasive Bariatric and General Surgery Divisioncreated BodyChangers to help people get healthier without feeling self-conscious when they get started.

“It’s a very comfortable environment. It is not like going to the gym and you have people looking at you and making you feel uncomfortable. Some people make the effort to go to the gym but don’t actually go inside. They don’t feel comfortable walking in so they turn around and go home,” Dr. Gusenoff said.

Cooking classes are available to help participants create healthy and tasty meals.  Dr. March emphasizes there is more to the program than just the physical. “One of the biggest challenges for people who lose weight is the constant battle to keep the weight off.  The Mind Over Body group sessions offer support and develop strategies for permanent control over your weight,” she said. 

Memberships are not restricted to patients. Anyone can participate. There are three memberships available: a basic free membership that includes an e-newsletter and admission to the educational seminars; and two monthly memberships with additional services like cooking classes, nutrition and exercise programs for either $25 or $50 per month.

Dr. Gusenoff and Dr. March enjoy the Friday night workout. Called Happy Hour Redefined, the workout class is conducted by a personal trainer. Both attend regularly and especially enjoy the social setting. 

“People see us getting beat up by a good workout and they know we are not  there as doctors, but  as their friends,” Dr. Gusenoff said.

BodyChangers will hold their official kickoff event on Jan. 24 at Magee-Women’s Hospital of UPMC.  For more information, please call 855-body-CHG or visit UPMC.com/BodyChangers.