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A new year means a fresh start: a sense that now is the best time to start becoming the most ideal, healthiest version of yourself.

At Bellingham Tennis & Training Club (BTTC), a new calendar means the beginning of the latest round of training clinics, designed to help you find the motivation and flow needed to sustain any resolutions or fitness goals you might have, whether it’s weight loss or muscle gain.

Beginning February 26 and continuing for eight weeks, BTTC’s training classes include tennis clinics of various ages, women’s weight training, progressive cycle training, and a course based around strengthening knees through cycling and strength training. Each of the clinics features a low ratio for instructor-to-students, helping those who take them to receive the proper attention and maximize their benefit.

The Power of Progression

Robin Robertson, BTTC’s owner, manager, and cycling instructor, says that when it comes to fitness resolutions, the planned progressive training of BTTC clinics are ideal for sticking to your intentions. While many people begin a new year incredibly enthusiastic to get started, many wind up either overdoing it and injuring themselves, or embarking on too intense a plan that they soon abandon. 

“Planned progression is really what helps people gradually get into better shape,” she says. “Coming [to classes] twice a week is not as scary or as intense as trying to come five days a week.”

A new year is an excellent time to review or renew fitness goals. At BTTC, progressive training clinics can help you keep any fitness resolutions on-track. Photo courtesy BTTC

The limited student numbers also provide a chance to get to know fellow classmates, further helping people hold themselves accountable and making workouts social enough to be fun. Many students have wound up becoming good friends with their exercise colleagues.

“That’s really nice support,” says Robertson. “You’ve got kind of a built-in buddy system as you’re going through the eight weeks. And two months is a good amount of time to see results when you do something with this graduated progression — and to make some healthy habit changes, too.”

BTTC’s progressive training plans also support a variety of abilities, whether you’re just trying to get in shape or are looking to take your training to the next level. Instructors ensure students are doing exercises correctly, stressing various muscles in different ways to ensure a well-rounded training experience.

Tennis Clinics

Training classes for tennis begin at age 5 and progress into adulthood. With a maximum of six students per instructor, Robertson says the courses often fill up fast, and signing up in advance can be a good idea.

In addition to adult single and doubles clinics, youth courses include ages 8-11, middle school and high school levels, with beginner-intermediate and intermediate-advanced options. At the middle and high school level, the club’s Junior Elite Tennis Training (JETT) offers competitive, invitation-only opportunities.

BTTC’s tennis clinics are open to a variety of ages and experience levels, and feature a student-to-teacher ratio of 6:1. Photo courtesy BTTC

“You’ve got to be a pretty serious tennis player to be in that program, and show a lot of potential,” Robertson says.

Regardless of a child’s ability, those new to BTTC are required to take a 30-minute placement lesson, where an instructor evaluates their skills to determine which clinic is the best fit for them. Once students complete a clinic level, instructors discuss whether they should repeat the same clinic or advance to the next one.

Cycle Moles

Held Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 to 7 p.m., and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 to 8 a.m., BTTC’s ‘Cycle Moles’ performance program returns this winter for the first time since before the pandemic.

Robertson says it got its name because she used to do cycling sessions in the outdoor area of her basement, prompting her husband to call them ‘mole rides.’

“You’re a little like a mole when you’re inside, riding a bike,” she says with a laugh.

BTTC’s performance cycling program is open for up to 14 students and focuses on helping people become the strongest riders they can be. Photo courtesy BTTC

Cycle Moles differs from BTTC’s other cycling-related fitness courses because it’s based on strategically building up skills from one class to the next. This winter will see students work on aerobic-based building, expanding their stamina to work harder at a lower heart rate, Robertson says.

The clinic is limited to 14 students and takes place in an indoor studio with colored lighting and mirrors; the latter allows students to observe their form and make adjustments as needed. Other topics addressed include comfort on a bike, how to improve pedal stroke and power, and heart rate training zones. 

“People have amazing results from our Cycle Moles classes,” says Robertson. “It’s really awesome.”

Healthy Knees Strength & Cycle

While the previous clinic is concerned with performance and becoming a better cyclist, BTTC’s Healthy Knees clinic is for those often unsure where to start on a fitness journey. As the name suggests, it’s also a place for those with knee pain to reduce or eliminate such issues, while also gaining strength and stability.

Participants spend 30 minutes cycling, followed by 30 minutes of strength training. Robertson, who is 62 and has endured 12 knee surgeries over the years, says many students experience great results from the clinic.

Open to all experience levels, this clinic spends 30 minutes cycling followed by 30 minutes of strength conditioning. Those who take it often see substantial reduction of knee pain. Photo courtesy BTTC

“Stairs are often an enemy for someone with knee pain,” she says. “By the end of eight weeks, most people are saying, ‘I can go up and down stairs and I don’t even think about it now,’ because they’ve gotten strong enough to support their knee joints. And that makes me very happy.”

Healthy Knees takes place Mondays and Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m.

Women’s Weight Training

This progressive clinic — limited to 10 students — is also about helping women of all ages feel comfortable in a gym setting. Robertson says many women have gained both strength and empowerment once they’ve completed the course.

“At the end of the eight weeks, the students in the class are doing so much more than they ever thought they could,” she says. “It’s pretty amazing to just see them flourish and be really surprised at their own ability. With planned progression, it’s easy to build muscle and get stronger. You just have to do the work.”

Students can attend classes every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

BTTC is located at 800 McKenzie Ave. in Fairhaven. For more information and class pricing, see their website.

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