Total Fitness Center offers exercise options

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 24, 2004

Sweat beads roll off bodies young and old, male and female. Barbells and weight machines clang. Treadmills and exercise machines hum away.

From gym members who are pumping iron to get stronger or those who are just trying to stay fit, Total Fitness Center has built quite a following since opening in October.

A branch of Ironton Physical Therapy, also called Tri-State Rehab Services of Ironton, the idea for a full-service public gym grew because nothing like this existed in Ironton. When the business moved from Park Avenue to its new location at 711 S. Third St., it was possible to open Total Fitness.

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"Now, we market to anyone who wants to get in shape," owner Joe Isaac said. "From someone in retirement age who wants to keep well to bodybuilders, we are open to anyone."

The gym offers a variety of cardiovascular equipment including treadmills, exercise bikes, elliptical trainers and more. Nautilus equipment and free-weights line the walls.

As far as 80-year-old Edward Nickel is concerned, exercise is a necessity if he wants to keep his legs working.

"If I didn't come down here, I would probably be crawling," he said. "If I miss a day or two, I sure know it."

Nickel spends at least an hour a day on the bikes, treadmills and other machines. Though he said he leaves the power lifting to the younger members, he said the activity helps keep him feeling younger himself.

"Everybody ought to have exercise," the South Point resident said. "I worked hard all my life - worked two jobs.

After you quit, you don't get all that exercise."

At the other end of the spectrum, a group of about 10 Ironton High School football players have been hitting the gym every day after school.

They take advantage of the equipment and are excited about what the work means for the team.

"You come in here to run, stay in shape and improve from where you are at," junior Willie Cremeans said. "That is our main motivation."

The group started small but the desire to work harder has gotten to be so infectious that more and more of the team has started to come, sophomore Andy Wheeler said.

"We are getting stronger, getting better for next season," Wheeler said. "If we had this a couple of years ago, I think we could have gone to state."

The gym tries to provide hours and membership plans that work for everyone, Isaac said. It offers senior, student and family discounts as well as the option to pay by the month or year.

To accommodate the early risers and the late workers alike, the gym is open from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.

In addition to the exercise equipment, Total Fitness also offers Weight Watchers classes, instructional classes, tanning beds and dietary supplements.

So far, the response from the community has been tremendous, Isaac said.

"It has been overwhelming.

We have well over 200 members," he said. "My goal was to have 100 in a year. We now have 200 in there in three months."

Some customers, such as IHS junior Ali Markins, are hitting the gym just for their own personal reason.

"I like it here," she said. "I just want to get in better shape."

The same holds true for Dustin Mays, 25, of Kitts Hill. Mays has worked out regularly for the past decade just for the personal satisfaction.

"It helps relieve stress and is a good hobby," he said. "It keeps me happy, healthy and out of trouble."