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Fitness with a personal touch

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By John Barnhart

A new business has opened at in the Smith Mountain Lake area that offers a personal touch to fitness.

"It's our passion," commented Dwight Ward who, with Rob Jordan, opened Smith Mountain Lake Wellness and Fitness this month.

The business, located on U. S. 122, a short distance from Hales Ford Bridge on the Bedford County side of the lake, offers personal fitness training. The goal is to help people develop healthy lifestyles.

The two men met when they were both employees of Gold's Gym, working at a Roanoke area facility. Jordan began working with customers who were in poor shape. He saw need and began specializing in people who were out of shape and overweight. Obesity, he notes, increases people's risk of heart disease and diabetes. It's also hard on your feet, ankles, knees and hips.

Both men saw a business opportunity in the lake area.

The first step they do with a new client is to do body measurements. This includes weighing a new client, doing a body fat analysis and determining the client's basal metabolic rate. Jordan said that this uses a formula to determine the calories a person will burn at rest. A body fat analysis determines how much of your weight consists of fat.

The goal, notes Ward, is to take a client from point A to point B in an effective, safe manner. First, they have to determine where that person's point A is. Jordan said that they can work with people at any weight or fitness level.

They also do a fitness assessment and measure a client's blood pressure and pulse, including the client's heart rate while exercising. Every new client fills out a medical questionnaire. This helps them determine what can be done safely.

If the assessment indicates health issues, they consult with the client's doctor before doing anything. They want the doctor's clearance before beginning if there are significant health issues.

"We are not doctors," noted Ward.

They have exercise equipment at their facility and teach clients exercises that they can do at home. They also give nutritional advice, although they cannot at present give the client a diet. However, Jordan is working to become a certified nutritionist, so they expect to offer more at a later date.

The business doesn't have fixed hours. Jordan said that they will schedule sessions to fit into their client's schedule.

"That's where 'personal' comes in," commented Ward." is that they can work with people who are already fit. Jordan said that he is currently doing sport-specific training for a 9-year-old.

A session lasts one hour, in addition to a warm up period. Their session rate is $50, but they offer discounts for elderly people and children. They also give discounts to Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce members and plan to offer promotional discounts.

"We will turn nobody away," said Ward.

Ward said that they will work with people who would have trouble paying their session rate. Jordan added that some heath insurance policies cover personal trainer services as a preventative measure.

Smith Mountain Lake Wellness and Fitness is a member of the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce and Ward and Jordan plan to be at the Chamber's business expo next month. They will offer blood pressure checks and a body fat analysis.

The two men have been happy with the welcome they've received since opening in the lake area.

"It's just the mentality of the people here," said Jordan. "I just love it."

"Everybody has a story and if you take the time, you learn so much," Ward observed.

Ward is a Navy veteran, a former radioman. The Martinsville native is a member of the National Federation of Personal Trainers.

Jordan, originally from Roanoke County, is an Army infantry veteran. He was a member of an Army post wrestling team while serving with the 1st Infantry Division. Prior to becoming involved with fitness training, he worked as a corrections officer. Jordan is a member of the International Sports Sciences Association.

Smith Mountain Wellness and Fitness is located in the Halesford Professional Center, beside Kara's Closet and near M?co Viejo. For more information, call (540) 871-0220. They can be reached, via e-mail, at SMLWellness@hotmail.com.