McDonough gym emphasizes personal training

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

About 3,500 pounds of free weights sit on racks, scattered throughout the 3,000-square-foot expanse of the McDonough gym, where hand-picked cardio equipment hugs walls of windows, and gym patrons use the center floor for calisthenics workouts.

"I want everybody to know what I am, and what we do," said Jonathan ‘Jay' Rowe, the owner of Rowe Fitness Solutions. "This is what we specialize in —personal training."

Rowe's new business is focused on personal training for its clients. The 39-year-old said he opened the namesake fitness club on Aug. 1, 2010, with the hopes of creating a more personal environment for people with health, nutrition, and fitness goals.

"There is another option in Henry County for personal training as opposed to the big gyms, and being held to a personal training contract," Rowe said. "We're more personal and individualized to a person's goals."

Rowe, a personal trainer for over the past decade, said the club's objective is to provide personal training through the use of nutritional plans, cardiovascular counseling, motivational counseling, and physical fitness.

"Our goal is to help the client achieve any goal they set for themselves," he said.

Gina Harbin, of McDonough, said her goals include losing weight, lowering her cholesterol, and being more healthy. She started working out at Rowe Fitness this week.

"The staff seems very helpful and friendly," said Harbin.

Harbin, who works as a nurse at Henry Medical Center, said she joined the club in order to get the extra motivation to workout, and follow a nutrition plan. Before working out at Rowe Fitness, she said, she and her husband worked out infrequently.

Ellenwood resident Shari Tatum acknowledged her workout plan is relatively new to her. She said she began training with Rowe a few years ago at another fitness facility, before he opened Rowe Fitness.

"He's constantly telling me, ‘good job, and keep pushing'," Tatum said.

The wife and mother of four has continued with Rowe. She said she joined the fitness club, at age 38, because she wanted to get in shape before her 40th birthday.

"This gym is intimate," said Tatum. "It's not real busy like some of the other gyms. There's not a lot of show, it's about working out. Everybody's in here to workout."

Rowe, too, is focused on maintaining a rigid weight-training and cardiovascular exercise program for himself. He trains each year to compete in professional bodybuilding competitions.

The gym owner stands at 5-feet, 9-inches, and carries an off-season weight of 265 pounds. He earned his professional bodybuilder status through the International Federation of Body Building and Fitness (IFBB) in November 2005, when he finished in first-place for the Heavyweight Class of the 2005 National Physique Committee (NPC) National Championships in Atlanta.

Rowe said he has been somewhat of a fitness fanatic since childhood, when his mother, Victoria Hayes, would put in workouts at an Atlanta gym.

His mother would leave him in the fitness club's daycare, until he was old enough to start workouts himself, said Rowe, recalling workouts with some famous athletes like professional wrestler Tony Atlas.

Inspired his mother, and those athletes, he started amateur bodybuilding at the age of 19, and began competing soon after.

"Until this day, she's my biggest support, outside of my fiancé," said Rowe, who is engaged to one of his four personal trainers, Dina Mills.

Rowe's latest challenge is maintaining his new business, and pleasing his 75 fitness club members. He said he plans to progress his business into providing post-certification training for personal trainers, helping mentor personal trainers in their chosen careers.

"My goals for the gym is to make it a premier personal training studio in Henry County," he said. "My goal in the next five to seven years is to have a bigger, better Rowe Fitness."

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