Your Personal Trainer: John DeFendis

January is well underway and it’s time to stop procrastinating. Weren’t you the one who promised yourself you’d lose 20 pounds as your New Year’s resolution? Let’s get that body into gear and get started!

The first step toward meeting your goal is to find a good fitness center and join it. You will achieve much better results when you are surrounded by people who are trying to accomplish the same goals. Fitness centers have professional equipment, a training staff and thousands of motivated people.

Why not work out at home? Here are the top five reasons.
1. It is not cost effective. Home gym equipment is expensive, and it usually doesn’t have the quality of professional equipment. Plus, it takes up too much space.
2. When you exercise at home, you have a much higher risk of injury. In a fitness center there are trained professionals to supervise your workouts to insure that you will not hurt yourself.
3. When you work out at home, there is no positive feedback or potential to learn more about fitness and nutrition
4. There are too many distractions at home. That’s the main reason many of us go to work in an office.
5. Please don’t fool yourself into believing you will have more time to exercise at home. After a long day, it is much easier to fall on the couch with the TV remote than it is to start exercising. If you don’t believe me, check out the classified ads under “sporting goods” and see all the treadmills, stationary bikes, steppers, elliptical machines and hand weights for sale.

If you decide, then, to join a fitness center, here are a few guidelines for choosing one.
1. Find a fitness center that has been in business for at least five years and has a reputation for service and professionalism.
Talk to some of the members; are they satisfied with their choice?
2. Does the fitness center have qualified, caring personal trainers and a reputable program? The main reason you’re joining is to achieve your fitness goals and a caring, educated personal trainer will guarantee your success.
3. Does the fitness center have what you need? Does their schedule offer classes at times convenient for you? Do they offer programs for weight loss, seniors, brides-to-be, prenatal and postnatal, sports training, toning and shaping, cardiovascular and bodybuilding?
4. Do not make your decision based solely on the membership cost.
I would rather pay $500 to join a club that had all the equipment I needed, the best trainers available and an atmosphere of excitement that produces results, than pay $50 for a room with one stationary bicycle and no supervision. Your health is well worth the extra money.

Fitness expert John DeFendis is the director of exercise and fitness at Coop’s Health & Fitness in Anderson and Greenville. A former Mr. USA and a personal trainer for more than 30 years, he has trained professional athletes and celebrities, as well as U.S. senators and congressmen at the Congressional Gym in Washington, D.C. He has been featured in many magazines and on national television shows. Address your fitness and training questions to him at

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