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.