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Squeezing Sparks into shape
by Garrett E. Valenzuela
Jul 30, 2013 | 3699 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela -- Karen (left) and Jamie Isbister offer classes such as SURFSET and Pink Gloves Boxing at their new fitness and nutrition studio The Lean Lemon in Sparks.
Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela -- Karen (left) and Jamie Isbister offer classes such as SURFSET and Pink Gloves Boxing at their new fitness and nutrition studio The Lean Lemon in Sparks.
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Karen and Jamie Isbister have been around aerobics, fitness and healthy nutrition long enough to know there are multiple factors behind a person’s choice to avoid them.

Those insecurities molded the objective behind the The Lean Lemon, a new fitness and nutrition studio recently launched by the Sparks duo, which stands to welcome its customers to a new family in an atmosphere free of intimidation and full of unique forms of exercise.

“That is what we love about (The Lean Lemon) is that we can bring people in and make them feel good and feel comfortable,” Karen said. “We try to take all the stuff that scares people and eliminate it in an environment where you feel like friends and family, where we can say 'hi' to the people by name.

“I have been in gyms, and taught in gyms, where I don’t feel like they care at all. We like that caring part and we want people to feel like we care about them because we do.”

The two sisters launched The Lean Lemon on Glen Carran Circle this month with hopes of offering a more fun, yet effective, way of working out. Karen takes the lead in group fitness classes such as Cardio/Sculpt, Turbo Kick and Hip Hop Hustle as well as some Lean Lemon signatures like Cheeky and stRipped. With 5:30 a.m. starts to her daily classes, she said boosting the tempo begins when the door swings open.

“I can be tired when I get here, and when someone walks in the door, I am ready to go. I am all energy,” Karen said, adding that her classes feature upbeat music and a lively group atmosphere.

Jamie instructs the daily specialty classes which include TRX, a suspension-based system designed to displace your center of gravity, and the only certified SURFSET class in northern Nevada. SURFSET uses surf-inspired exercise equipment to mimic the instability of a surfboard while throwing in a few moves not made for the water.

“The SURFSET classes can range from easy going to very upbeat, it just depends on the people and I think that is one of its benefits,” Jamie said, adding that one class will challenge anyone to get better. “It’s so awesome to see people make progress, and I love that about SURFSET. I see people make progress the second time they come and they are so excited about it and so happy. Seeing their confidence get built up is really, truly, the best thing ever to see in someone.”

The daily classes occur simultaneously between the main fitness floor and a smaller room designed for more one-on-one training with the instructor, a feature both sisters agreed is key to teaching. Jamie and Karen take the one-on-one aspect a step further as each of them double as a nutrition coach for customers.

“It depends on the person,” Karen said when describing a session with a new client, “And it is one thing that is really nice, and that we love about our place, we cater to all different people. It is not a cookie-cutter thing.”

Jamie stressed the idea of nutrition coaching not being a “quick-fix” solution to any one customer’s needs. She said the process is meant to be slow and enforce a lifestyle change and commitment for the future.

“I think the biggest thing with nutrition is that people think it is a ‘diet,’ but it is not a quick fix,” Jamie said. “It is a lifestyle change and something that takes times. A lot of people don’t want to put the effort toward a nutrition plan because they want that quick fix.

“With nutrition, and the way we like to do it, we want to help people with their whole life. We want to educate them enough to make their own choices. We find out where their challenges and weaknesses are and we help them make small changes.”

Combining the nutrition and fitness components as instructors reflects on the Sparks residents’ idea for the Lean Lemon name. Before deciding on a 'trademarkable' name for the business, a task that Karen said placed plenty of stress on the sisters, they agreed it needed to speak to the original idea.

“We wanted something that people would remember, something that would be welcoming and something fresh,” Karen said. “We wanted something that symbolizes nutrition and fitness, so lean came from fitness and lemon came from us both loving lemon and its refreshing qualities.”

The Isbisters achieved the longtime goal of co-owning a family business as the Lean Lemon name was firmly set above the doorway at 96 Glen Carran Circle, Suite 103. The duo has already rolled out plans for new classes, beginning with Pink Gloves Boxing demo classes on Saturday, and more innovative ways to exercise will be unveiled in the near future. See www.theleanlemon.com for full details.

“The biggest thing I hear from people is ‘I got bored at my gym,’” Jamie said of her inspiration to provide more classes. “They needed to try something different, and that is kind of how I am too, and that is my goal. I want to bring as many new things into this area as we can.”
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