Ask the Weight Loss & Fitness Expert, John DeFendis

health tips for greenville gyms

By Fitness Expert John DeFendis

How to start a fitness program! (Week #1)

Greenvill Fitness Expert John DeFendis

John DeFendis

   Well, here we are…It’s January 2021, the beginning of a new year and it’s time to stop procrastinating and start putting our weight loss and fitness goals into perspective. 

I mean, weren’t you the one that made that promise to yourself to lose 20 pounds as your New Year’s Resolution? Well then, let’s get that body into first gear and get started! 

    Allow me to introduce myself. My name is John DeFendis and for the next few months I will be your teacher, coach, friend, drill instructor, and conscience. I will educate you and guide you step by step on how to attain the body of your dreams! In this series of articles, you will learn about Fat Loss, Strength Training, Proper Exercise, Nutrition, and Vitamin Supplements. You will realize that losing weight and shaping up can be exciting, motivating, and easy to do.

I will also be taking your questions and answering them in this column to help you achieve your personal success!


The First Step.
    I am often asked, “What is the first step?” Well, in all honesty, I would have to recommend that the first step would be to find a good Fitness Center and join. Why? Quite simply because you will achieve much better results when you are surrounded by people who are trying to accomplish the same goals that you are. Fitness Centers have professional equipment, a professional training staff and thousands of motivated people who are taking control of their destiny and living a healthier lifestyle. 

Why not work out at home?
Another common question that I am often asked is, “Can I achieve the same results at home if I purchase some exercise equipment?” My answer is absolutely not! Why? There are many reasons.

Here are the top 5 reasons why you should not exercise at home:

#1- It is not cost effective.

Home gym equipment is expensive. It does not have the quality of professional equipment and it takes up too much space. You can purchase a gym membership now for only $10-$20 a month and a year for around $120 to $240. A gym has upwards of $500,000.00 worth of equipment and you won’t be able to find anything worth purchasing for a home gym for less than $1,000.00.

#2- No Supervision.

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- No Incoming knowledge on Fitness and Nutrition.

When you workout at home there is no positive feedback or potential to acquire newfound knowledge on Fitness and Nutrition. In a Fitness Center atmosphere you will learn how to exercise firsthand from experienced trainers and other motivated trainees. You can exchange ideas on nutrition and even swap recipes. It would also help to share your workout with a training partner that you might meet at the gym.

#4- It is not motivating to exercise at home.

This is the main reason why we go to work in an office. How much office work would you be able to get done in an atmosphere of screaming children, annoying phone calls soliciting sales, television and radios blaring, etc. etc. etc?
I really don’t believe that anyone could concentrate under these conditions, no less be able to focus on their goals of losing weight and firming up.

#5- Your chances of success are reduced.

Please do not fool yourself into believing that you will have more time to exercise at home. It sounds good but after a long day, it is much easier to fall on the couch with the T.V. remote in your hand than it is to start exercising in a home environment. If you go to the gym you will be more motivated and make less excuses.

If you don’t believe this is true than check out the classified ads under sporting goods and read about all the treadmills, stationary bikes, nordictracks, gazelles and weights that are being sold by people that truly believed at one time that they could survive and actually thrive on a home exercise regimen. I have also visited many homes that contained the typical multi-purpose exercise/clothes holder piece of equipment.

What to look for in a Fitness Center.

There are many guidelines to follow when looking to join a fitness center but because of space I am going to list just a few helpful ones that will start you on the right track.

#1- Reputation.

Find a Fitness Center that has been in business for at least 5 years and has a great reputation for service and professionalism. Is the staff helpful and friendly? Does the front desk attendant greet you with a smile and is it an atmosphere that you feel comfortable in?
Ask some of the members for their opinion. Are they satisfied with their choice of Fitness Centers?

#2- Does the Fitness Center have Qualified, Caring Personal Trainers and a reputable program?

I feel that this is the most important criteria when joining a fitness center. After all, the main reason that you are joining is to ensure the success of your fitness goals. And a caring, educated personal trainer will guarantee your success. Is the Personal Training Director certified and qualified? Does he also teach continuing education courses on personal training to strengthen his program and his trainers?

Are the trainers certified and attentive to your goals and needs? Ask to meet with some of the trainers before you decide to join. Are they sincere and do they appear helpful? Does the training department have a reputable program with many testimonials and success stories? Has their program been featured and documented on national television and magazines because of the success that it has produced with its members?

#3- Does the Fitness Center have what you need?

Most importantly, you must make sure that the gym has what you want. If you like to participate in Aerobic and Exercise Classes, does their schedule permit you to take classes at the times that you are available? Does the fitness center have programs for Weight Loss, Seniors, Bride to Be’s, Post and Pre-Natal programs, Sports Training, Toning and Shaping, Cardiovascular programs and Bodybuilding?

#4- Do not always make your decision on the cost of a membership.

I would rather pay $240.00 to join a club that had all the equipment I needed, the best trainers available and a atmosphere of excitement that produces results, than to pay $50.00 for a room with one stationary bicycle and no supervision.
My point is…Do not base your decision on price alone. Your health is well worth the extra couple of bucks spent on a quality membership and trainer. You will improve your health, appearance, quality of life and add years to your life.

I hope that I have been helpful in advising you on your first step to a healthier, leaner, happier you. 

My best always and stay tuned for more tips in our next issue.

Yours in Health,
John DeFendis 

  • * Weight Loss & Fitness Expert (Since 1982)
  • * Ultra Fit Founder & Director
  • * Inducted in the Fitness 
  •    Hall of Fame.
  • * Inducted in the Personal Training 
  •    Hall of Fame.
  • * National Health Advocate Lifetime 
  •    Achievement Award recipient.
  • * ISSA Presidents Council on Fitness

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