Advice on Diets, Holiday Workouts + Desert Island Gear From Excellence in Exercise

Excellence in Exercise

It’s almost the time of year when everyone recommits to being healthy. The gym is flooded with newbies, your bestie keeps talking about that kickboxing class you should try, and HR just announced a new corporate wellness program. If you’re trying to get fit in Atlanta, there’s a chance Excellence in Exercise has something to do with it. In 2005, business partners Kristian Jones and Dorie Downs opened a training facility catering to personal and small group training. Now they also run corporate fitness facilities and wellness programs across the city. You can’t escape them… and that’s probably a good thing. Professional gym rat, co-owner, and trainer Kristian Jones gives WellATL the scoop.

Y’all really do a little bit of everything at Excellence in Exercise: manage your own private gym, run personal and group training, and develop/program other fitness facilities and corporate wellness programs. Did you set out to do all these things or did the business just expand from your original vision?

Excellence in ExerciseOur business has grown and changed over the past 10 years. Both my business partner and myself were managing the fitness department of a large health club and decided that we could do it better on our own. It also helped that my wife was pregnant and I wanted to make my own schedule. We started as a small private training studio and then built a network of clients and referrals that slowly led us to managing corporate facilities and offering programs to them as well. We want to make sure that we don’t bite off more than we can chew. I think too many fitness professionals and facilities over-promise and under-deliver.

We all know that losing weight and maintaining health isn’t just about physical activity. Pumping iron and then eating Cheetos all day won’t keep you trim. Do you recommend a specific diet to your clients? Paleo? Atkins? Vegan?

1stI’m not a big proponent of diets. Sure, they work, but usually don’t last. It has to be a lifestyle change. It needs to be a little at a time. The biggest mistake people make is to try and change everything overnight and just throw all the garbage food out and start over with fridge full of healthy food. This might last for a week, but at some point you will bonk and not even Cheetos will satisfy the junk food craving. Start with small easy changes: no cream in your coffee, wheat bread instead of white, etc. Pretty soon, it will add up.

Between holiday travel and celebratory food, it’s easy to let the workout regimen slide. What’s your favorite way to sneak in some physical activity when you’re at Grandma’s?

Going for a walk or a run followed by some body-weight exercises is a great way to keep from feeling guilty about the dietary transgressions that accompany any trip to Grandma’s.

Pop quiz! You’ve been stranded on a deserted island with only one piece of exercise equipment — what is it? And no, you can’t say Wilson the Volleyball.

Some sort of mobility tool — foam roller, lacrosse ball — to undo some of the damage of sleeping on the sand and of the bodyweight workouts I’ll be doing while working on my tan… until someone saves me.

The gym can be an intimidating place. And if it’s the gym at work and you’re bound to run into Barbara from accounts payable on the elliptical, let’s just say that’s not a huge motivation to sweat it out after you’ve clocked out. How do you motivate employees with a gym at work to actually use the facility?

Workout Web1We make it fun with classes and programs. Our fitness centers are not a place where people come to talk shop. They come to reenergize, de-stress, and get away from work for a while. It starts by building a culture of fun and accessibility by staffing the facility, offering group fitness classes, and hiring instructors and trainers that get what we are trying to do. It’s great to see people put faces to names that they may have only known via email and find common ground with each other outside of work.


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