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In November 2008, Woodmen Hills Parks and Recreation began managing both of its facilities following the departure of the YMCA. With the start of 2009, the parks and recreation department is offering new services, hoping to capture residents and nonresidents ready to try new fitness programs.”We are really looking for people who want to be committed to losing weight,” said Eddie Avedikian, Woodmen Hills facility manager. Woodmen Hills East Recreation Center already offers a variety of fitness classes in the morning and evening, including kickboxing, step aerobics, water aerobics and muscle fitness. Avedikian said the center is adding athletic conditioning Wednesday evenings and a Thursday morning Pilates class.Classes also are available at the west recreation center, which houses cardio equipment and a large weight room. Avedikian said the district hired Jill Ahlschwede, a National Physique Championship award-winning body builder to hold weight training classes.Ahlschwede said she will offer three different classes: “Muscles and More,” a cardio/weight combination class to burn fat and build muscles; “Women and Weights,” specifically designed for women who want to tone their muscles and learn weight training techniques; and “Body Building Basics,” which Ahlschwede said is for more serious weight lifters. Classes are available five days a week in the morning and evening.In addition to her competition experience, Ahlschwede said she has worked as a personal trainer and fitness instructor for 18 years. “I am really passionate about working with women,” she said. “It is so important as we get older and (weight lifting) helps fight osteoporosis by building bone density.” She also said women respond better to weight training as they age. But don’t worry about bulking up. “You can’t do that without testosterone,” Ahlschwede said.Woodmen Hills now offers a karate program at the east center. Britt Baugh, karate instructor for 35 years, teaches the classes Monday and Thursday evenings for all ages and levels.The class is a Japanese style of karate called Shotokan, a traditional form similar to Taekwondo. “I teach a noncontact style, where we work on power and speed but stop short of hitting. We also focus on discipline and respect,” he said.Baugh said he hopes his classes will give students a good workout and build camaraderie. He encourages adults to try karate, even if they are beginners. Adults shouldn’t hesitate to begin karate lessons because they think they can’t do it or they will get hurt. “We will work with you step by step and follow a noncontact method,” Baugh said. “Each student has the option to spar or not.”Classes are already in progress, Baugh said. However, enrollment is ongoing and students can join any time. For more information about fitness programs through Woodmen Hills Parks and Recreation, visit the district Web site at or call 495-7475.

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