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PROFILE: Strengthening your life

Jerry Taylor, of South Point, glides through the middle of Tri-State Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy, a towel around his neck.

At 49, he is toned, trim and looks half his age.

He’ll joke about his love handles and at one point pinches the side of his waist, but there really isn’t anything to pinch.

Taylor takes care of himself and part of his routine is time at the gym.

And he isn’t alone. At least three evenings a week, the gym is full of people who have found the key to taking care of the inner self includes time spent on the outer self.

Taylor’s time

Taylor, a former Ironton High School football player, has been working out 17 years.

Hardly the old man of the club, the 196-pound Taylor can lift twice his weight and works out at Tri-State Rehab as many as six days a week. Taylor likes free weights, barbells, to build size and mass and dumbbells that tone up muscle. Time on the leg press machine builds leg strength.

Another machine builds calf muscles and he likes that one, too. He also runs “ a little” and works out in his swimming pool in warmer weather.

Taylor said some people have the mistaken belief that lifting weights, being toned and fit, is all about that buff appearance. He said what matters most to him is how he feels after he’s finished.

“I just do it because it makes me feel good and feel half way decent,” Taylor said.

“I don’t do it for show, for trophies. I do it because I like it.”

If weight training can be addictive, it can also be contagious: Taylor’s son, Jeremiah, has started working out with Dad. At 21, Jeremiah is now 6 feet 5 and weighs 265.

If dad is hooked on working out, he is also just as sincere about calming down afterward. Once he’s done with the leg presses, you’re probably going to find him in the sauna. Weights build muscle. The sauna clears the mind.

His advice to others who want to get fit with weights?

“Find somebody who can show you how to do it correctly, help you understand the equipment,” Taylor said. “Correct form is everything.”

Derek can do

Derek Newman works at the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office five days a week. A few evenings a week, he works out at Tri-State. Like Taylor, Newman likes the way he feels when he’s finished. And there are other benefits too, tangible ones.

“I have a demanding job,” he explained. A job that comes with more than its share of stress and sometimes requires night is a big relief,” Newman said.

Newman started coming to Tri-State Rehab a couple of years ago, “Because I wanted some place to go in the wintertime.

“I didn’t want to go out in the cold anymore,” he mused. “When it gets below about 30 degrees I don’t want no part of it.”

So he came for the treadmills.

After a year or so he began to serious about the rest of it.

Jared Jenkins

He’s out of the Army now, but some habits he learned from Uncle Sam are staying with Jared Jenkins. Working out was not something Jenkins did before he joined the army.

But good habits are, fortunately, often hard to break. He left the military in 2006. But he didn’t leave physical fitness behind. Jenkins, 29, runs anywhere from 2 to 5 days a week as well.

“If I go more than a couple of days I get stressed,” he said.

He weighs 165 pounds. He can lift 160 to 170 pounds.

Jenkins said time at the gym is also a kind of social hour. Regulars work out but they also talk. And they keep each other accountable, he said. You miss a few days and the regulars start to wonder where you are.