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Personal setback fuels instructor’s regimen

HighlPark -Fitness kickbox instructor DanPieper leads high energy class HighlPark RecreatiCenter. Pieper's remarkable regiment  stems from journey  involving

Highland Park -Fitness and kickbox instructor Dana Pieper leads a high energy class at the Highland Park Recreation Center. Pieper's remarkable regiment stems from a journey involving having triplets and a long recovery time. | Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 27, 2012 6:04AM

Though no one ever would guess she’s ever been anything but toned and buff, Dana Pieper understands the challenge of getting back into shape after falling off the exercise wagon.

When Pieper was expecting triplets nearly eight years ago, she was ordered to spend the last trimester of her pregnancy in a hospital bed after she went into pre-term labor at 21 weeks.

Once her triplets were born, those months of bedrest were followed by a hectic and exhausting schedule of feeding, diapering and maternal bonding — times three — leaving little time or energy for workouts.

“I knew my muscles had atrophied sitting around in the hospital bed,” said the 41-year-old Highland Park resident, a trained dancer and exercise instructor who’d always been in top physical form.

Pieper’s experience getting herself back into shape led her to develop the Every Body Fitness program, a combination of low- and high-impact exercises, weightlifting, cardio segments and kickboxing moves.

The workout regimen is available on DVD in two one-hour programs: Total Body Conditioning and Kickbox Challenge. The self-produced DVDs were recorded at the Joy of the Game basketball courts in Deerfield.

“I wanted to combine everything in one solid, sweaty and effective hour,” she said.

Pieper, who was living in California at the time, returned to work as a conditioning and kickboxing instructor about four months after her children were born. “This was the longest time I had been so inert,” said Pieper, who teaches Total Body Conditioning classes at the Highland Park Recreation Center and a Kickboxing class at Equinox. “We don’t strap on gloves or use heavy bags, or spar with an actual opponent,” she said, of the shadow boxing format.

“It’s a good way for people to get in their own little zone and get out their aggression, while getting their workout at the same time.”

Pieper initially decided to put her class routines on DVD because her students wanted the extra motivation to keep up the routine when traveling.

The DVDs are $20 each and available at as well as through Amazon and other websites.

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