Feature Article - November 2004
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Forward-Thinking Fitness

Some innovative health clubs share their secrets to success

By Kyle Ryan



Personal Training Plus

Steve Percy's Paragon Club in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., is only about 1,600 square feet, but big things definitely come in this small package. The Paragon Club is not a traditional gym; it's a mixture of sports medicine, private personal training and physical therapy.

Percy, a former athletic trainer, opened the facility in 1995 after working for the Australian America's Cup team.

"The one thing I've realized over the years is that quality of your life is determined by the quality of your movement," Percy says. "And so that's kind of what we revolve everything around: exercise that strengthens and elongates and creates the balance."

Percy says today's way of life, which involves so much sitting, creates imbalances among muscle groups. So when people exercise at Paragon, he focuses on their movement.

"Motion is lotion," he says. "If you don't use it, you lose it."

For example, if he has someone doing a lat pull-down, Percy considers the nearly 50 variations on the lat pull-down that would, as a by-product, help increase the person's functional extension in addition to building muscle.

"So you see you're getting this sports-medicine knowledge base as you're going through the normal run-of-the-mill personal-trainer knowledge of how to get stronger and how to get faster," Percy says.

The result, he adds, goes beyond merely working out with a trainer. For his mostly Baby Boomer clients, the scientific approach helps them get stronger and work through previous problems they may have had.