Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Personal Fitness Magician

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Going to the barber shop as a kid, I would look through a tattered book in the waiting area that was full of pictures of different hair styles. Then, I would point one out to the barber so he could make me look like the model in the picture. It never worked like I expected. My wife used to go to the hair stylist with clipped magazine pictures of Jennifer Aniston to show what kind of bangs she wanted. She actually came back looking sort of like Jennifer Aniston.

Paige Jones, III, a certified fitness trainer at Piedmont Health & Fitness Club, says he gets that sometimes. While giving a tour of the facility to a middle-aged prospective member who was short and heavy, she pointed to a tall, thin young woman on the treadmill and seriously asked if Paige could make her look like that.

“Most people expect a trainer to be like a magician,” says Paige, who has been certified for nine years.

I went to Paige to learn more about how individuals are taking control of their health. These people, I reasoned, who through physician prodding or their own initiative, seek out an expert like Paige to help them control their bodies and health, must be on the leading edge of the self-empowerment movement.

Turns out, many show up expecting to tap into Paige’s empowerment rather than their own. He says some look at him “like a deer in the headlights,” when he explains that to get what they want – which is almost always to lose weight – the best results come from a routine that involves exercising five times a week for an hour a day and changing how they eat.

“They expect it to happen very quickly,” he says. About 50 percent of Paige’s clients drop out within a few months, which matches typical exercise routine adherence rates. The unfortunate reality of genetics also tends to get in the way of Paige’s ability to deliver a designer body.

Paige’s magic comes in working with each client to match their fitness regimen with their medical condition and their personal interests. For some, it is boot camp, for others its Zumba, but the common denominator for successful clients is that they find a way to put on their big boy or big girl workout pants and keep coming back. “It’s all about adherence,” says Paige.

“It’s a myth that we love exercising,” says Paige, a former Division I college football player and track athlete who looks like he walked off the cover of a Men’s Health magazine.

But it’s worth it. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Russell Flint explains that even an extra pound of body weight can exert five times that amount of stress on your joints. Also, a recent study shows that even less rigorous, but still regular exercise, can substantially benefit your heart health.

And these outcomes, I continually tell myself as I mindlessly churn on the elliptical machine, are far more important than having awesome sculpted biceps that look like Paige’s.

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  1. Posted August 10, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Dumb question: Is there ANYTHING (beyond more sweat and less food than most of us can stand) that works? In other words, does anyone out there know of ANY combination of motivating social networking, games, supplements (and/or other drugs) that, in a additon to diet and excerice, are significanly better than the sum of their parts?

  2. Michael Rovinsky
    Posted August 10, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    I hate exercising. Let me restate that; I hated exercising for the sake of exercising. I would play street hockey or softball (not a very aerobic sport) all day long and love every minute. But getting on the treadmill … every time I come up from exercising on the treadmill, my wife askes me “How was your workout?” I respond ” The same as always,” by which I mean, an unpleasant chore. I hear people get a runner’s high from working out. My wife says she feels much better after she is done. I feel better because I am done. I never enjoy it, no matter what I watch on TV while I am doing the chore.

    So, why do I do it ever and at all? Because I know that is is a healthy thing to do and MAY help me be around longer to take care of my wife and child. My motivation for exercising is not for personal gain of any kind; it is for my family. And the problem with exercising is that, as long as you are consistent, it becomes easier and/or not as difficult (less of a chore) but, as soon as you stop for any reason for any length of time, it becomnes a tremendous chore once again.

    So how do we motivate the general public to exercise on a regular basis when they are not accustomed to doing so, it feels like a horrible chore every time they do it, and they are insulated from the cost of whatever health condition (and treatment) they may eventually experience?

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“Hi, I’m Ed Lovern, the executive vice president and chief administrative officer for Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. I created this blog to share my thoughts on the healthcare revolution and how we can all be part of the solution. Feel free to comment or email me your thoughts – I would love to have your contributions and feedback.”
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