Personal training: Workouts as unique as you are

Walker and Sue Wallace are committed to strength training, but a regular gym doesn't cut it for them.

"The twentysomethings and the wild music are not the problem. Being forced to watch Fox News while using the treadmill or bike is too much to ask," Walker Wallace says, joking.

That is why they followed personal trainer Paul Holbrook to AgeWell Center in Salt Lake, which is geared to people 50 and older. They get an hour's workout with Holbrook's full attention and empathy, if not sympathy.

"Paul knows exactly what we need to work on and what we are capable of doing," Sue Wallace says, doing leg lifts after a knee replacement. Meanwhile, Walker is busy on the "Skiers Edge" machine, looking like a man who has been on a downhill run a time or two.

Holbrook loves it. He became interested in senior exercise when he watched an uncle deteriorate in a nursing home.

"There were no activities to help him maintain strength, let alone build it. I decided to concentrate on helping older adults keep fit," he says.

Barbara and Norm Tanner also work out at AgeWell Center. At 90, Barbara plays tennis, has myriad volunteer and philanthropic interests and is patiently waiting for her grandchildren to have children. Norm, 92, doesn't play tennis anymore, but he and his wife train with Holbrook twice a week.

Workouts at AgeWell include treadmills, leg presses and pneumatic machines, which are easier on the joints than weight-stacked machines. Holbrook is at a client's elbow to avoid falls during freestyle balance exercises. An hourlong session runs about $85.

Like the Wallaces, the Tanners appreciate working one-on-one with a personal trainer. "We have been with Paul since he opened," Barbara Tanner says. "He makes us work, and I know very well I wouldn't do it on my own."

And while she knows people can gain strength after losing it, she also is aware how quickly it can be lost.

"I have always worked at it. I used to swim a lot when I was young. I took dancing lessons for years. But if you stop doing all that, it takes longer to get strong. And you can lose it faster."

Contact: AgeWell Center now Age Performance, 2670 S. 2000 East, Salt Lake City; 801-467-6554.

—Judy Magid The Salt Lake Tribune