More Than Fitness

Written by Story Impact Media, LLC

August 29, 2018

At 7 a.m. on a Monday the entire Reynolds community is as quiet as the inside of an elevator. It’s a time for dog walking and gentle revival … unless you’re anywhere near The Lake Club. Here, it sounds as if the entire first floor of the fitness center has been plugged into a Bluetooth speaker. ZZ Top is blasting. There’s clapping and persistent shouts of “Here we go!” This is the definition of energy, live and in person.

Trainer Joe Leone’s mouth moves, but it takes a lip reader to understand what he’s saying through the music. It doesn’t matter. The dozen Reynolds Members working out know exactly what to do whenever they hear a hint of Joe’s voice. Some move to the floor for push-ups. Some to the boxing gloves. Some to the free weights. It’s a sweaty orchestra, everyone using one of 24 different fitness instruments, in a cohesive tempo.

Let’s pause right here. Do not get the idea this is boot camp or traditional circuit training. Joe, 55, says he is not a “weight head.” He developed this program after dislocating his shoulder as a boxer nearly 20 years ago. “It was God’s way of saying, ‘You’ll train, not box,’” he says. So he uses concepts he learned in the ring: Three-minute rounds with one minute of rest during station rotations.

“No one has ever gotten injured and only one person has stopped coming,” Joe says. “And that’s because they moved.” He clarifies: “It wasn’t because of me!”

People in the Monday morning crew have lost up to 50 pounds. A 67-year-old man can now keep up with a 29-year-old. Members actually look forward to waking up early on Mondays. Did we mention that it’s loud?

“We could all exercise on our own and maybe not get up so early,” says Stephanie Henson. “But this is our group therapy.”

Talk to the 12 people, separately, and each one will say that coming here three times a week has “changed my life” in some way.

“I’d like to say it was planned, seeing everyone come together like this,” says Joe during a quiet moment shortly after the music stops and the cooling down starts. “But honestly, I’ve never seen anything like it. We share it all. We help each other with life.” They also help each other get up.

One Member shows a string of 86 text messages that started at 5 a.m. Later this week the group will meet for lunch at The Tavern.

“I started coming here to get more fit and maybe lose a few pounds,” says Riezl Baker, “but I’ve gained something better — great friends. To me, that speaks volumes.”

And that matches the music nicely.