New look in new year: Fitness trainer, coach to offer path to better living
By Melanie Tucker | (email@example.com)
We’ve all seen the commercials heralding the latest weight loss plan or exercise equipment that promises to get us a new body in the new year.
One that’s leaner, meaner, stronger and sexier.
One that turns heads, makes us look half our age.
But what about what lies beneath the surface, namely our health?
Looking inside, out
Kent Johnson, a fitness trainer, coach, and competitive weight lifter and wrestler for years, believes there’s more to a new year than just getting a new look. This three-sport athlete in high school who’s now in his mid-40s, said it all starts with the right mind set and setting realistic goals. As the director of a center in Knoxville for at-risk youth, he’s worked with thousands of youngsters. He oversees exercise programs for senior citizens. He works with special needs individuals and he coaches elite athletes. He ran a Christian martial arts program for several years at his Maryville church.
His message of “Enjoy Fitness for the New Year,” to be presented Thursday at the Blount County Public Library is appropriate for any and all.
“A lot of people just focus on the outward appearance of being healthy,” Johnson said. “I also focus on the inward. I think you should get better every day of your life, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually and physically.”
Johnson’s presentation at the library will offer exercise tips for all fitness levels, but he also adds the component of developing a plan of success. You first have to ask yourself what your goals are build a foundation to get there.
A winner’s hat
He likes to tell the youth he directs that all winners wear the same hat. That also goes for losers.
“Winners are always committed,” he said. “They always show up early. They never make excuses and they take responsibility for their actions. They have a contingency plan.”
Failure, Johnson believes, comes when you set unrealistic goals for yourself and focus only on the outward appearance. When you don’t reach those goals quickly enough, you end up quitting. “The only way to fail is to quit,” he said.
You don’t have to own a gym membership, purchase lots of home equipment or high-tech shoes. Johnson said he can show anybody a routine to complete with a $14 kettle bell that will be all that’s needed. He can teach senior citizens how to gain strength in their legs to make it easier to sit and stand. There are also lots of free fitness programs at area churches that have indoor walking tracks and weight equipment.
Johnson is the former wrestling coach at Alcoa High School and he has worked with athletes at his alma mater, William Blount. He has boiled down his philosophy to three simple directives we can all take to heart.
Do everything the right way every time.
Put great effort into everything you do.
Be better today than you were yesterday.
Motivation is key
Those aren’t just rules to follow when working out. They apply to everything we do, Johnson said.
He admits he loves competing to this day and thrives on challenging everybody around him. His job, he said, is to motivate people to be their best. “I want to make the world a better place,” he said. “I think God has given me a gift to motivate people, to communicate with people and to inspire people.”
It’s an understatement to say Johnson has a relentless work ethic. He has achieved the rank of third degree black belt in Shingitai, black belt in Jiujitsu and black belt in Kenpo. He has taught martial art for over 20 years and continues to set personal records in his athletic life. He’s a certified personal trainer, certified weight lifting instructor, water safety instructor, certified lifeguard. In 2010 he was named Outstanding Alumni at Tennessee Tech. He plans to enter grad school soon.
His skills set, he said, is to take what you think you can do and convince you there is no reason you can’t. Then the work begins.
There are days when this fitness trainer feels like skipping out on a workout, but he shows up at the gym anyway. There are friends who expect him to be there. And if you tell others they can succeed with effort, you have to be a shining example. He knows others are watching to see if he practices what he preaches.
From special needs athletes to those at the highest level — Johnson has worked with them all. He said the same principals apply to all. It’s about modifying your lifestyle to reach your goals.
There will likely be people of all fitness levels at his presentation at the library Thursday. Johnson will have a message and plan that will fit where they are.
“I am going to convince you that you can do anything you put your mind to,” he said. “Once I convince you of that — once you understand that success or failure depends on your effort — you no longer have any excuses.”