If you’re like me, getting lost in the woods is within the realm of possibility. You see a cool trail, so you take it—you see another nice trail and another and pretty soon you are lost. That alone would be reason enough for me to hire Jim Czarnecki of Taking Shape via Indoor/Outdoor Fitness, but then add in the following: He arranges for transportation and all necessary gear, such as bikes, for the outdoor excursion; he is trained in AED’s, CPR and First Aid; and, he offers interpretation of historical sites (“The First 300 Years” is one of his favorite books on the Berkshires). Since he works with all different skill-levels, Jim always waits for people towards the back and has even towed people in on canoes. When you’re visiting the area, it’s great to have someone so knowledgeable to take you around. He takes excursions to a host of sites including: The Stockbridge Bowl, Seranak Cottage and Mount Greylock (telling the “Legend of Chief Greylock”) to name a few. Jim also offers technical assistance, showing participants how to do a J-stroke for canoeing as well as how to use your torso to paddle instead of just your arms. Use of foot pegs in a kayak; how far apart your arms should be on the double paddles, and general paddling technique is covered. On a recent kayak trip, I noticed that some people paddled as if they were canoeing and others sort of waved at the water so I could see this advice being very useful. There is a kind of rhythmic action to kayaking that makes it almost a moving meditation. Jim is a personal trainer who prides himself on being able to offer a fantastic workout with little gear. He uses body weight and gravity to create resistance, or he adds tubing (such as “the monster,” which has multiple bands), medicine balls and dumbbells. “It’s not a cookie-cutter workout,” he says, “that’s why it’s called personal training.” Low-tech workouts and interpretive hiking and biking—that’s Jim!
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