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Social Encore: Punahou Fitness Center reopens
BY JERMEL-LYNN QUILLOPO / Special to the Star-Advertiser
I love family get togethers during the holidays because I know that the food will be ono — but as much as my mind is telling me no, my tummy says yes to all sorts of waist-expanding holiday goodness. As much as we tell ourselves it’s okay to ignore our diets and overindulge during the holidays, you know you felt guilty for having that extra slice of pumpkin crunch on Thanksgiving.
Punahou Fitness Center has helped Oahu residents young and old with their fitness needs for nearly 40 years. With new management and a newly renovated facility, they are available once again to help you get in shape and live a healthier lifestyle this holiday season.
Punahou Fitness Center’s new CEO, Jason Maxwell, has more than 20 years of experience in the health and fitness industry with various certifications. His passion for fitness started at a young age while playing baseball, football and boxing, he said. However, the former Aloha State Games bronze medal winner was injured in a 1994 roofing accident in 1994, falling 42 feet. Maxwell thought he wouldn’t be himself again.
“I almost died, breaking my back, shattering my wrists, rupturing my spleen and fracturing my skull,” he said. “Unfortunately, I was heavley self-medicating and I thought life was over.”
Wanting to turn his life around and get back on his feet, Maxwell recommitted himself to what had once been an huge part of his life. His humble beginings in the fitness industry started when he accepted a janitoral position at Gold’s Gym in Honolulu. He worked his way up to become a certified trainer and eventually took over as manager of the facility. Maxwell later opened his own training business and said he hasn’t looked back since.
“My commitment to fitness is stronger than ever,” he said.
Maxwell believe fitness is a lifestyle that helps everyone enjoy life.
“Fit people feel better, move better, and surely look better,” he said. He added there are some people who have health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, hypertension and gout, but those health problems can be a direct result of sedentary lifestyles and easily minimized by implementing a fitness routine. Maxwell said many local people eat to the point where they are full and have no plans for physical activity afterward.
Maxwell said many people have the preconceived notion that fitness is not going to hurt, but experiencing a little pain from working out shows that your body is experiencing a healthy routine.
“In my opinion, the biggest myth has to be the ‘no pain, no gain,’” he said. “This misunderstood theory keeps a lot of potential gym-goers at bay, because who wants to deal with pain, right?
“The reality is that, although you may experience some pain and/or stiffness post workout, for the most part, a fitness activity should not cause an alarming amount of pain while you’re doing it. If it does, chances are you’re doing it wrong.”
Loren Graham is a client of Maxwell’s and started training at Punahou Fitness Center in 2008 at a starting weight of 245 pounds.
“I realized I wanted to lose weight when I couldn’t get up on to a horse at my friends ranch,” he said. “It was pretty embarrassing as well as eye opening.”
Maxwell put Graham on a very strict diet and exercise regime, which included going to the gym at least three times a week for an hour.
“I needed to lose a bunch of weight so I was going to the gym about four times a week,” Graham said. “Jason also explained that I needed to change my diet. I had to cut my carbs at night and eat lots of spinach!”
The 30-year-old realtor said losing weight has helped improve his confidence and speaking abilities, and has contributed to a more successful career.
“When my clients look at me, they can tell that I take care of myself and feel comfortable that I will be able to take care of them too,” said Graham. He has lost more than 70 pounds and said his goal is to never give up and take his fitness challenge day by day.
“I had a somewhat significant challenge which seemed very overwhelming but in order to achieve my goal, I knew not to focus on the big picture but to take it day by day,” he said.
Maxwell said with clients like Graham, his goal is to have his clients walk away from each training session with a better understanding about themselves and their individual fitness.
“I make an attempt to be an educator and teach my clients to better understand what they need to do in order live a healthier and happier life,” he said. Along with being an educator, Maxwell also wants his clients to think of him more of as motivator, energizing and empowering them.
To help prevent gaining too many of those holiday pounds, Maxwell said the first step is to begin a program as soon as possible.
“You would like to be in what I call ‘pre-hab’ mode,” he said. “Instead of the after holidays ‘rehab’ mode, in pre-hab mode you’ll be able to minimize weight gain and will mostly likely have to maintain it through the holidays.”
On the average, many people gain between six to 12 pounds during the holidays and end up in rehab mode trying to lose the weight. Doing the pre-hab will help avoid having to do any rehab.
The Punahou Fitness Center reopened its doors in October after a $500,000 renovation. It’s sparkling new facility is a lot cleaner compared to when I used to work out at this gym. It now has new equipment including cardio machines, strength training machines and about 50,000 pounds of free weights. They even have a new health bar, Fit Fare Café, that is open to the public and serves healthy salads, sandwiches, smoothies and more.
Punahou Fitness Center also offers a salt water pool and an ice plunge and whirlpool from the Natural Salt Pools Company — an amenity no other fitness club on Oahu offers. The Punahou Fitness Center has certified personal trainers, aerobics instructors, a massage therapist and a licensed aesthetician on staff to help members achieve their goals.
Several membership specials are available right now, starting at $38.95 a month. Punahou Fitness Center is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Call 949-0001 or visit the gym on Facebook.
Jermel-Lynn Quillopo is a multi-faceted, energetic individual with experience in both print and broadcast journalism. “Social Encore” aims to tell diverse stories about Hawaii’s food, events and people; share your tips with Jermel via email or follow her on Twitter.