Statistics show that two-thirds of American adults are not physically active on a regular basis. 25% get absolutely no exercise at all. A multitude of factors contributes to our country’s overall lack of physical activity including social, cultural, and financial reasons. More on this at a later date. For me, the most interesting group to examine (as someone who studies human behavior) is the segment of individuals who cognitively understands that exercise is necessary for health, but doesn’t actually engage in the activity. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) did a study recently that polled 1,500 people in this segment of the population to learn more.
Universally, the number one reason cited for not exercising is lack of time (by a landslide). So, the researchers from ACE removed this as an option. Without time as a barrier, people responded in an interesting way. 21% of individuals reported they don't exercise because they don’t know what to do at the gym. I used to be this person, for sure. People magazine and an hour on the elliptical was my jam spot in college. If you asked me to go to the weight room, I would run the opposite direction. What was I supposed to do in there with that dumbell? Another 19% of respondents said they don’t exercise because they’re intimidated to go to the gym. They feel like they’re too out of shape to work out, don’t have the right attire and, again, will look silly because they’re unsure of what exercises to do once there. Gym intimidation is real, and is acting as a barrier to America's health.
The personal training field is responding nimbly by changing the way it sees clients. The number of in-home personal trainers is rising rapidly, with trainers offering services from their own home gyms, and on demand in clients’ homes. Locally, Danny Kester is paving the way. Danny lives in Norwood with his wife Emily, where he also works. When he invited us over for a workout, Molly was out of town so I went solo. I entered through the front door of his home, signed a waiver, walked down a short flight of stairs to the basement and I had arrived. The setup reminded me a lot of a small version of a crossfit gym--all the necessities with a minimalist backdrop.
(Danny's gym KesterFit)
Danny led me through a workout while I interviewed him. I had a cold at the time, and had worked out HARD the previous few days so I wasn’t super impressive. I had to stop numerous times to catch my breath before asking him my next question. I feel maybe he was a bit concerned with my own physical fitness as he offered me water pretty early on. Maybe he was just being hospitable (which he certainly is) but it also could have been my heavy wheezing that led him to believe I needed H20 immediately. We’ll never truly know the answer. The workout was a combination of weight training and HIIT, catered completely to me.
Danny is personable and easy to talk to, and I didn’t feel an ounce weird doing lunges in his basement. In fact, I forgot we were in his basement. I loved how chill and inviting the atmosphere was, and I found out mid free weight press that Danny also trains my wedding hairdresser, Amanda. She has a crazy weird schedule, can never make group fitness classes, and kind of hates the gym. She’s been going to Danny for 3 months now, where she can make her own schedule, and has seen amazing results.
As a country and a society, we’ve gotta get more active. It’s necessary, and it’s time. That being said, a gym or fitness studio isn’t for everyone. It’s not a one size fits all. At home fitness is a way to combat this issue through an intimate and supportive, one-on-one, or two-on-one (couples welcome) environment.
If you’re looking for the boutique studio environment with group fitness classes, this situation isn’t for you. If crowded gyms make your heart palpate, you enjoy individualized attention, you want to know what the heck to do with a kettlebell, and sometimes you want to wear an oversized Black Keys tee-shirt instead of lululemon spandex without judgement,Danny’s home gym just might be a great place for you. Watch Danny talk about his philosophy below.