By Emily J. Weitz
When Ryan Borowsky’s fellow rugby player, Connor Miller, approached him about participating in Slimpossible, a 12-week program at the Hampton Gym Corp Sag Harbor Gym, he figured the only thing he had to lose was a few extra pounds. Miller and his sister, Tahlia, run the personal training program at the gym and had recently launched a new motivational program with free personal training services.
“They were offering their training services for free,” says Borowsky. “I figured ‘Why not?’”
In just three weeks time, through Slimpossible, Borowsky has already lost 25 pounds. And the weight just keeps coming off, he says.
Three weeks ago Borowsky, along with about 40 other local participants, enrolled in Slimpossible. They were weighed, stats were taken and they were evaluated for body health.
“They do a whole body readout in the beginning,” explains Borowsky. “Oxygen intake, body measurements, body mass index. They test you at the gym and give you possible health risks. You do a questionnaire with your medical history, and it gives you a readout of your body age.”
Borowsky is in his early 30s, but his body age was 13 years older, according to the evaluation.
“The idea is to decrease that body age and be healthier,” says Borowsky.
Participants meet three or four times a week with their personal trainers either individually or in groups of two or three. There are 13 trainers and they are all volunteering their services in this first round of the Slim program in an effort to get the word out to the community about the effectiveness of the program.
“The trainers are doing this because they want to help the population,” says Miller. “We want to get more information to the public about obesity.”
In addition to working with their personal trainers, participants enroll in a nutritional program called Pure Proactive. For this first round, this is the only service students need to pay for. Pure Proactive is an online portal that provides nutritional support and counseling as well as a diet to follow and recommendations on nutritional supplements.
“We knew we needed to add the hard work and dedication of the diet at home to pair with the work at the gym,” says Tahlia. “So they are working with virtual coaches for the diet, and the trainers in the gym.”
The first three weeks of the diet is the most restrictive, and participants cut out all carbs and eat mostly lean proteins and fruits and vegetables.
“I’m just finishing up with Level One of three,” says Borowsky. “So we stripped my diet down. Soon I’ll start to reintroduce other foods.”
Still, Borowsky hasn’t felt like there was any starvation going on.
“You still eat four times a day,” he says. “Lunch, dinner, and two snacks. It’s not a shake diet or a cleanse diet. They want you to eat four times a day to help your metabolism.”
And the results are obvious in the 25 pounds Borowsky has already shed.
“I feel good,” he says. “I have a little more energy in the morning, and I don’t feel so sluggish. I’m sleeping well, which is good. I don’t feel like I need to sleep as much. Losing the weight makes you feel better.”
Each night, Borowsky goes online to his Pure Proactive account and journals how he’s been feeling. Once a week, he gets advice from a nutritional consultant who looks at how he’s been doing.
“I see my trainer, Connor, three or four times a week,” says Borowsky. “Then Pure Proactive is sending emails with nutrition tips and advice about foods, and cooking with different oils. I’ve learned that there are some things I thought I was doing healthfully that actually weren’t healthy at all.”
He recalls, as an athlete, the ritual of loading up on carbs the night before a big game.
“It’s just not right,” he says. “Some of that is outdated, or drawn up by the people who are selling those products.”
Perhaps the most effective aspect of Slimpossible has been the lifestyle changes it has required.
“Instead of going to Happy Hour,” he says, “that might be the time I need to be at the gym. Once you’re doing it, you get focused on doing it and everything is scheduled out for you. And each night you write the journal with Pure Proactive. It only takes ten minutes, but you look at what you ate and did that day. It keeps you on track.”
Borowsky has been seeing the effects in his rugby game, in his team training sessions at East Hampton High School.
“Our season starts the week after St Patty’s Day,” he says, “and I’ve noticed a big difference.”
About eight weeks remain in this first round of Slimpossible. A new wave of participants will be invited to join in April, although they won’t get the free training services that these first lucky 40 have had.
Borowsky believes that the combination of the diet and exercise has been the key to his success. But he points out that it’s not just weight loss that’s really important.
“People are drawn in by the idea of losing weight,” he says, “but if you’re doing things healthily, the weight will come off and you’ll feel better.”