Glenn Harris learned the hard way how the right fitness training regimen can help people gain mobility and strength.
He ended up doing the exercises to help his recovery from injuries suffered in a car accident and a spill on his motorcycle.
He’s put his knowledge to work to help others at Individual Training, the personal fitness business he has operated for a decade at 105 SW First St., Pinetops.
“I got hurt in 1984 when a transfer truck loaded with lumber hit me in a toll booth,” he said. “I have permanent disability in my back, according to medical people. Things I’ve been through have helped me learn how to help other people recover.”
Empathy for others is one of his biggest assets, he said.
“I’ve been through all of this stuff,” he said.
Harris said he tailors workout sessions to the individual.
“I help people with all sorts of situations,” he said. “I help people lose weight, improve their balance and coordination. That is something I do with a lot of elderly people. I help people who have had strokes get back to work. They get cardiac benefits of being here.”
His training sessions are two days a week – eight or nine per month, depending on the calendar – for at least 30 minutes. The cost is $25 for an individual session or $175 for a month.
Clients get much more out of a focused, shorter workout than from much longer workouts before going to his center.
“The vast majority of people that think they are exercising are actually engaging in activity, and activity will never get you better,” he said.
Harris pays close attention to the way each exercise is executed rather than how many repetitions are completed. For example, controlling weights being lowered can be more important than raising them, Harris said.
“The form is more important than how much you lift or how many times you lift,” he said. “It’s better to lift 12 times properly than 25 haphazardly.”
The business offers customized training regimens.
“Not everybody can do the same exercise. Cookie-cutter doesn’t do too good,” he said. “I train everybody different. I trained a couple of twins years back, and they were different.”
Harris worked for BB&T bank before opening the personal training business.
“I actually made more money than my district supervisor. You probably know how that went over. Not good,” he said. “They closed our division. I had been in commercial sales for a long time. But the (exercise) training I started when I was 9 years old.”
His workouts are all hands-on and based on real-world experiences
“None of my knowledge is from a book,” he said. “I throw them in the trash can. I look at them, and there is a little good information in there.”
He said he has about 15 regular clients.
For older clients, it is important to find out what they are capable of handling. An 81-year-old client started out lifting 1 pound of weight and slowly worked her way up to 5 pounds, Harris said.
He said the woman initially had a shuffle in her walk, but no more.
“Now she can walk around backwards if she wants to – forward, backwards, anyway she wants to go,” Harris said.
Q: What products or services do you provide?
A: I’ve got world-class equipment. What makes it so unique over a typical gym is my knowledge, my knowledge of how to train properly for each person depending on what their needs are and what is going on in their bodies, because everyone has a certain amount of ability, but they have limitations.
I do therapeutic work with people. I help people. My youngest client was 5 and oldest was 85. If they have an injury, I’ll try to help them. I’ve helped people avoid herniated disc surgery. I help people with all sorts of situations. I help people lose weight, improve their balance and coordination. That is something I do with a lot of elderly people. I help people who have had strokes get back to work. People get cardiac benefits of being here. I train a guy that works at the YMCA. He can go there for free, as you know.
I use free weights. I’ve got several different devices. I’ve got a real good leg press, probably the best leg press around here is what I’ve been told by someone who has been to several of the gyms.
It’s been tough to make it through the last few years. This is indeed a passion.
Q: Who are your key leaders?
A: Just me. My son helps me occasionally.
Q: How many people do you employ?
A: Just me. I do it all.
Q: What is your business philosophy?
A: To give the best service that I can to each person and help them achieve what they want to achieve. That is my goal. I’ve trained doctors and dentists, and I’ve helped people with all kinds of cardiovascular issues. I get most of my customers from referrals.
Q: What makes your business unique?
A: I treat each person as an individual. I train all of them differently.
Q: How has your business grown?
A: It started out with a bang, but then in 2008 it got really tough. I did have struggles, and then the last year things have really picked up for me. Most recently, things have definitely picked up. I do get people from referrals. I’m not on Facebook.
Q: What kind of growth do you expect in the coming years?
A: I’d like to be able to help more people. I’m a workaholic, so I’d like to be able to work more.