Longtime personal trainer and Gloversville native Jarrod Johnson held the grand opening of his new gym space, Go For It Personal Training and Fitness Studio located at 7 Church St. on Wednesday, inviting friends, family, community members and the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce to visit the fully equipped gym space while enjoying a healthy spread of refreshments.
The healthy food options are indicative of Johnson’s all inclusive approach to personal training that is more comprehensive than simply leading clients through workouts.
“It’s not just exercise, it’s down to their home life and what they’re eating everyday, how much water they drink, their sleep patterns,” Johnson said. “We break their lifestyle down.”
“The individualized approach doesn’t always mean weight loss, it’s self-improvement in general.”
When taking on a new client, Johnson learns what their goals are, their current level of fitness, eating habits, lifestyle habits and their starting body mass index and weight to use for comparison as he monitors their progress.
Prospective clients have a range of goals such as losing weight or improving their fitness, becoming healthier through exercise and a proper diet, or removing obstacles to their health like smoking. Johnson gradually helps clients make changes in their daily lives and introduce new healthy behaviors and exercises necessary to reach their goals.
“Say they have outcome goals, this picture of what they want to achieve, well the only way to achieve it is by changing behaviors, so we set behavior goals. Things that they know are inhibiting them from reaching the outcome goal,” Johnson said. “They want the accountability, they want a set appointment that they have to go and meet me to exercise.”
“If we don’t want to do something we’ll come up with 1,000 excuses not to do it. If you have a set appointment to go and exercise it’s just like having a set appointment to go and see your doctor,” he added. “It holds them to that.”
Johnson began employing this holistic approach to health and fitness training about 10 years ago, before furthering his knowledge when he became certified as a personal trainer four years ago through the International Sports Sciences Association and going on to become a certified specialist in fitness nutrition.
“It starts at the science of what exercise is going to do for you on a molecular level, then it gets into programming,” Johnson said. “A huge importance in that is the treatment of a client, how you take their personal goals into consideration and almost make them your own. That’s how you achieve success, it’s not just OK do this, here’s a cookie cutter workout I threw together. It’s learning the person.”
While training clients one-on-one at the studio, Johnson will lead them through strength training and total body workouts depending on their individual fitness level that may utilize an array of available gym equipment and various sizes and types of weights. He also assigns cardio exercise for clients to do on their own, saying their time with him is better spent on targeted workouts.
Johnson typically sees clients two to three times a week for hour-long sessions, noting he can also do 30 minute sessions. While some might think it takes hours of training to begin to impact their body, Johnson recommends people spend no more than one hour at a time exercising and suggests a minimum of five total hours of exercise per week, spread out however works best for the individual.
In the near future Johnson hopes to offer group fitness classes at the studio like Zumba, stretching, yoga and a high intensity program.
“I want a wide spectrum of classes,” Johnson said. “I’m in the process of getting instructors.”
Johnson currently offers Beastcamp, a total body program featuring timed exercises that anyone can do at their own pace, three times a week at Littauer Field with Kim Hale.
“The idea behind the name is that you’ll be a beast by the time you’re done, but you don’t have to be a beast to take the class,” Johnson said. “You push yourself as much as you can within the timeframe.”
Johnson encourages clients to keep their goals in perspective, noting that it takes about 90 days to start to see results and, while he helps people establish and maintain a healthy diet, he also recommends “cheat days” when people can relax their diet while enjoying their favorite treats.
“It helps keep your sanity,” Johnson said. “You have to reward yourself for the work you put in. You can’t shut everything out of your life or you’re definitely setting yourself up for failure. I recommend a weekly cheat day, but tell people to try to have just one meal and dessert.”
“If you make it a full day it can turn into the weekend, then a week, then a month and then you’re back at square one,” he added.
Johnson knows from personal experience both how challenging and how rewarding it can feel to achieve one’s own fitness goals, after starting on his personal path to fitness and weight loss in his 20s.
“I was a 270 pound kid in high school. I did play baseball and football, but did not have much interest in them,” Johnson said. “That had a huge impact on my self-confidence. Being an overweight kid in high school is not an easy thing.”
“In my early 20s I got involved in this. I needed to change my lifestyle habits and get myself in shape. I bought a gym membership to the Y,” he continued. “The rest is history, I got so into that and the nutrition aspect that multiple people told me you should be doing this for a living, you should be helping other people.”
While it happened gradually over time, Johnson said getting healthy physically improved his outlook mentally and helped build his self-confidence, something he hopes to share with others at Go For It Personal Training and Fitness Studio.
“It’s changed my life,” Johnson said. “I have a much more positive outlook on life in general and it makes me want to spread that to other people. It’s infectious.”
One person who Johnson has already positively impacted, is Heather Graves who began training with him in 2017 when she was preparing to enter the Miss Fulton County pageant.
“My biggest goal was just to get fit and feel good about myself,” Graves said at the studio on Wednesday. “He pushed me and listened to my wants and needs and was always there whether it was when we were training or if it was a text message to check in, keeping me accountable when I was doing my own workouts.”
While she previously exercised on her own, Graves said she didn’t follow a structured regimen and found going to the gym to be intimidating.
“Working with Jarrod it was one-on-one, I felt a lot more comfortable, we worked on different parts that I wouldn’t necessarily feel comfortable doing at the gym, weight lifting, some of the machines that look intimidating at the gym, he made those more reasonable to work with and made it so I was more comfortable to use that equipment at the gym when I was on my own,” Graves said.
Graves went on to win the title of Miss Fulton County in 2017 and Johnson sponsored her for the year. Although she met her initial goals, Graves continues to train with Johnson striving towards new levels of fitness.
“As we progressed the goals changed and the limits definitely changed to where I was doing stuff that I wasn’t able to do before,” Graves said.
“He’s just one of those people who knows each one of his clientele, everybody is different and he really stresses the importance of working on every individual’s goal,” Graves said. “Whether it’s your first time dealing with fitness or you’re a person who exercises.”
While Graves said Johnson has helped push her physically, he cautioned that he’s not the stereotypical trainer who barks orders at clients. Instead, Johnson says he gives clients the knowledge, direction and support they need to make improvements in their lives while taking their health and fitness to the next level and beyond.
“The name of this business is not just about exercise and wellness, it goes much deeper than that,” Johnson said. “If there is something that you want to do, if there’s something in your life you want to change, there’s something you want to become, you have to just do it. You have to ‘Go For It.’”
For more information about Go For It Personal Training and Fitness Studio located at 7 Church St., including how to schedule an appointment and pricing, visit goforittraining.com or the Go For It Personal Training and Fitness Studio Facebook page. Personal training sessions are available by appointment seven days a week from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.