Having a pre-teen daughter of my own, I’m always interested in programs and activities that meet her specific needs. I want her to grow up healthy inside and out, and I want to help her deal with peer issues and other emotional situations that are likely to arise.
Did I ever hit the jackpot when I learned about Girls Achieving Balance, or GAB!
The brainchild of Stella Chan Marinaro, this fairly recent program is tailored for young girls as they enter the pre-teen phase (9-12). Marinaro is a nutritionist and exercise physiologist with a pre-teen daughter of her own, so she took her own personal love of overall health and applied it to what girls these days actually crave to learn.
“Pre-teen girls are at the perfect age to start creating their own life-long healthy eating and exercise routines that will see both immediate and lasting health benefits,” says Marinaro.
The group spends time learning about nutrition and physiology so that they understand what happens both inside and outside of their bodies, especially when eating something nutritious versus something less healthy. Some classes even include cooking workshops! Many motivating and inspiring personal trainers at the Human in Motion Fitness Studio help the girls with their physical routines, including everything from spin classes, yoga and cheerleading, to kickboxing, boot camp and more. These workouts are designed to be fun, and they show the girls how exercise releases stress and prevents depression.
Several portions of the classes cover self-respect, self-esteem, how to deal with bullying, how to be more assertive, and proper etiquette – all topics and skills that will empower girls as they grow into healthy, confident adults.
Cost is RMB 2,000 for a 10-class package, or RMB 250 per class. The program is set up on a rotating basis, so that if you miss certain topics, you can pick them up again during the next round. The continuity of the program allows members to bond, yet it is inclusive so that new girls are welcome to join at any time. Classes are held on Friday afternoons from 5-6:30pm at either the Human in Motion Fitness Studio or Marinaro’s home, depending on the week’s topic.
GAB was a program that evolved from Marinaro’s already busy and successful health-improvement schedule. The original Achieving Balance classes began for adults with a variety of programs. There is a five-week session targeting weight loss, beginning and intermediate runner training courses (great for Great Wall Marathon prep!), and a nutrition counseling program designed for individual needs. Word-of-mouth recommendations got the ball rolling, and positive feedback from students/clients has now connected Marinaro with area schools as well as more individual requests for targeted needs. She’ll even work with your ayi on what ingredients your family wants to have used, and – sometimes more importantly – what your family does not want used in meals.
I knew that my daughter would enjoy joining a unique program allowing her to learn new things and meet new people. I didn’t realize she’d enjoy the classes as much as she does, and I quickly saw the tremendous benefit something like this provides for girls of this age. It can be a difficult time, both physically and emotionally, but it doesn’t have to be. GAB provides girls the ability to enjoy all of the changes in their lives while having fun and learning that they are really spectacular people just growing up. What better way to help them realize this than by providing weekly fitness, empowerment, confidence-building programs made just for them.
Marinaro can be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, via mobile at 186 0127 4767, or by going to the Human in Motion Fitness Studio location in Riviera Plaza (across the street from WAB, in the Jenny Lou’s/Annie’s Restaurant shopping center, 2nd floor).