“Exercise is not for everyone,” say people who associate the word “exercise” not unfondly with a nostalgic memory of leg warmers in the 1980s. Most people used to be content as spectators and considered their weekly carrying of shopping bags from the car to the front door as a “workout.” But, today more and more people are embracing exercise, and gyms are popping up all over like mushrooms after the rain. Jerome Wojtalik, personal fitness trainer, has observed the worldwide shift in health awareness that has taken place over the last decade and welcomes the change. With a background in competitive sports—including rugby, American football, hockey, basketball and martial arts—he made Aliyah and became involved in the American Football League. After obtaining trainer certification both in Israel and the US, Jerome began his career in fitness training for people between the ages of fourteen and sixty, from his home-based fitness studio in Jerusalem and in the homes of his clients.
Fit for a King?
Jerome emphasizes, “Fitness is not solely for bodybuilders and athletes; it’s for anyone who wants to feel good and live a healthier lifestyle. Today there are many gym chains around, which means a lot more competition and a larger variety of fitness packages, making memberships more attractive. Others, who prefer fresh air or a sea view to the monotony and boredom of the treadmill or circuit, go running or walking—requiring only a good pair of sports shoes. “Everyone can find something that works for them. The main thing is to find an activity you like and be consistent.“If you are comfortable with what you’re doing and feel like you are getting the results you want, go for it,” Jerome encourages. But a lot of people don’t know how to train properly or don’t have the self-discipline or willpower to do it alone. “Starting initially with a trainer takes off some of the pressure by having someone else teach you exactly what to do,” Jerome recommends.
But Jerome doesn’t believe clients should have to rely on him forever. His goal is to offer a broad life change, sometimes working with clients on how to plan and balance exercise, sleep and work schedules. “The best thing I can do for a client is teach them to be self-sufficient. Some clients come 2-4 times a week with long term lofty goals. Some come to me once a week, and in those situations I give them an exercise schedule to do between sessions. Others sign up for a shorter period of time to get in shape for a simcha for example, which helps with their short-term goals and teaches them how to be active on their own.”
The Good, the Fad and the Ugly
There was a time in which long distance walks, light running or jogging were considered the most healthy and beneficial form of exercise for weight loss. Today high-intensity interval training is all the rage. Fitness is a science-based moving industry and therefore trends come and go. While he does embrace new and beneficial forms of exercise, Jerome prefers to build an individualized workout for each client and promote a change in lifestyle. “I identify what works for each client, and then build them a fitness program that integrates a variety of disciplines, including HIIT, movement and mobility training, and even yoga, regardless of what’s ‘in’ at the time.”
Many people use exercise as a way to get in shape. Asked if “being in shape” can be a valid goal in of itself, Jerome says wisely, “It depends how you define ‘in shape.’ Working hard to maintain a fit, toned body is something to be proud of, but when you exercise right, you’ll get way more out of it than just a great selfie on Instagram.”
Push To Open Doors
Physical training teaches us a lot about endurance, determination and accomplishment. “One of my clients started out at 140kg. He was too heavy to comfortably move around the football field and was in poor physical shape. In one year he lost about 34 kilos, became a starting player, fell in love with fitness and eventually became a trainer and coach.”
“The mental discipline we practice through physical training gives us tools to use in all aspects of our lives,” Jerome sums up his philosophy. “Your limit is always further than you think.”
Jerome Wojtalik has been a personal trainer for six years in Jerusalem. He specializes in working with athletes in various fields of sport. Jerome works with groups and individuals seeking to improve their fitness level. Jerome can be reached at 050-709-1341.