The Training Room

By on 4 August, 2014 in Kate and Stephen with 0 Comments

I’ve never really gone in for fitness. I was actually cut from my childhood tee-ball team and almost failed to graduate from both high school and college because of missing P.E. credits. Every gym I’ve ever been in has left me cold at best, anxious at worst — so many machines that I didn’t know how to use, so many people in much better shape than me effortlessly navigating sequences that I imagined would leave me seriously injured should I even attempt them. So I didn’t.

But it turns out that as you age, it gets harder to stay the same size. And I suspected that exercise might be cheaper than buying new clothes, with the added benefits of health and no trips to the mall. I didn’t want to drive out east to one of the big gyms, and I still felt a little intimidated by the Y. I also couldn’t really imagine going to the gym by myself on a regular basis. I decided that a personal trainer might help me meet some basic fitness goals while teaching me how to exercise on some of that intimidating equipment without hurting myself or others.

Owner Gaye Bracknell

Owner Gaye Bracknell

Happily, I discovered The Training Room right in my own neighborhood. It’s on Woodley, right behind Seville Salon. I met with owner Gaye Bracknell to find out what personal training might do for me. She told me that the hardest part was walking in the door the first time, and she was right (although, not going to lie, the lifting of weights is pretty hard too). I signed up for three sessions a week and began, for the very first time in my life, to really learn about fitness.

Gaye’s a long time fixture on the Montgomery exercise scene. She’s owned other gyms before this one, most recently out on Bell Road. It seems that she knows or has trained just about everyone in town. Having worked with her for seven months now, I can see why. First, she’s just very good at her job. Gaye really listens to her clients, taking their fears and hopes seriously. She’s got a seemingly limitless array of exercises in her head – and once you learn the basics, she’s very effective at mixing the routines up. I’d always thought of exercise as kind of boring, but my time at The Training Room has shown that it doesn’t have to be that way. It is genuinely awesome to discover a) that you have muscles in places you didn’t know you had them, and b) that you can make them bigger.

Gaye told me that she has been interested in fitness her whole life. When she was in middle school, she purchased some Jane Fonda workout tapes to share with her family, hoping they’d get fit with her. The aerobics craze got her hooked, and later she pursued her degree in the field at AUM. There, she met up with others who would become the first personal trainers in Montgomery. Now, 19 years in the business, she’s found a new home in Cloverdale. The Training Room has been open for three years, and Gaye is very happy with the move to Midtown. “It’s a great place to do business, and very exercise-friendly, because we’re close to two parks and the Huntingdon campus,” she said.

Don’t imagine a sprawling industrial warehouse, with awful music blaring and screaming drill instructor types. This is not a gym masquerading as a sweaty pick-up bar. The Training Room is an intimate place focused on personal goals and growth, with workouts tailored to individual needs. Workouts with Gaye feel a world away from the various fitness crazes and fads that surge up and vanish periodically. These are smart exercises that improve overall health, strength, flexibility and stamina. Once you demonstrate to your body that it’s OK to get up off the couch and break the usual routine, you end up feeling completely energized and aglow.

It’s worth noting that personal training isn’t cheap. You can go to a gym and flail around unsupervised for a lot cheaper than paying someone to evaluate your every move. But the benefits to the one-on-one time can be immeasurably greater than going someplace big and impersonal and making a mess of your body. At least, that’s been my experience.

Gaye employs a few other trainers at The Training Room as well. She tries to match clients with someone that will mesh well with their personalities and fitness needs. In my time there, I’ve seen all kinds of people working out, from the seriously-muscled magazine cover types to the seemingly-fragile elderly. I talked to Gaye about this diversity in clients, and she says it’s intentional.

“I’m interested in fitness because I want to help people live longer and happier lives,” she said. “Every client is different. Some people want to train to very serious levels, some people need help rehabilitating from an injury, and other people may need help just being able to get out of a chair. What’s fun about my job is that every day is different and I feel like I’m really making a difference.”

It’s nice to have a gym in our neighborhood, but the best part is that it feels comfortable and even fun to go. Having a personal trainer really does make a huge difference because you’re accountable to someone else who understands your capabilities and injuries. I never thought I’d say that I enjoy going to the gym, but I do now. I’ve even found myself using hotel gyms when on the road, something I never would have done before. Gaye’s more than a trainer – she’s an educator. The Training Room fills a great niche in our neighborhood. The hardest part really is just walking in the door for the first time.

For more information about The Training Room, contact Gaye at thetrainingroom1027[at] or call 334-593-1057. They’ve also got a Facebook page. Pricing depends a lot on what your specific needs are – there are packages for half hour or hour sessions multiple times a week, depending on your budget and time.

Kate and Stephen are Midtown residents with two cats, a dog, ten fish, a garden, an old house and a sense of adventure. They write about life in Midtown here and about life in Montgomery at their blog Lost in Montgomery.

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