Intelligencer Journal, Monday, February 5th, 2007
When Fitness Gets Personal.
By Brett Lovelace


It's probably true that everyone at one time or another has looked into the mirror and not liked what they saw. For men, it could be a flabby midsection or skinny arms and a flat chest. For women, it could be expanding thighs or jiggly arms. Mirrors don't lie, and reality can be a blow to self-esteem, confidence and overall outlook
on life. Reality hit Tom Weaver seven years ago. Years of poor eating habits, staying up too late playing in a band and little exercise left him with an expanding waistline, double chin and lower back pain. "My epiphany came when I reached the age off 33," Weaver said. "I became saddled with what I can only describe as a crushing depression. I was dealing with a stalled music career as well as working a dead-end job. "One night as I laid awake in bed trying to deal with difficult events in my life, I prayed to God a very simple and direct prayer. I asked God to guide my life, to take me in the direction that he wanted me to go in."

At the time, Weaver worked at a ceramic-mold company. He carried 50 pound bags of plaster to a mixing station for several hours a day. Instead of just moving the plaster bags, Weaver started curling them to build his biceps. Tricep dips, pushups and sit-ups were added to the regimen. Weaver eventually bought a small weight set and a few pieces of exercise equipment. He also started jogging and bicycling. The next step was to change his eating habits. "It was right about this time that I began to think about becoming a personal trainer," Weaver said. "My life had taken a truly amazing turn. I had firmly established excellent habits and my casual beginnings lifting plaster bags had morphed into a lifestyle."

In 2003, Weaver completed a Certified Personal Trainer course through National Strength Professionals Association in Maryland. He later obtained the Certified Conditioning Specialist and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist status from the National Strength Conditioning Association.

"Personal training should be just as it's described: personal," Weaver said. "The best trainers create a comfortable environment in which clients are inspired, focused and driven to meet their fitness goals."

Weaver went to work as personal trainer for a Manheim Township fitness club. He helped hundreds of club members lose weight and gain muscle. Last month, Weaver struck out on his own and opened Weaver Personal Training Services in New Holland. The workout studio is attached to Weaver's home at 676 W. Main St., New Holland. The stone rancher is across the street from New Holland Shopping Center. Weaver trains about 15 clients a week for 30-minute or 1-hour sessions. He also counsels clients on a daily eating plan aimed at reducing body fat.

One regimen Weaver has utilized to jump-start clients' muscle growth is "high intensity training." The workout requires that maximum weight be lifted for 15 to 20 repetitions before moving to the next exercise. Repetitions focus on negative and positive resistance so the muscle works twice as hard. Weaver also takes clients through a series of manual resistance exercises, which fatigue muscles to exhaustion.

"I am now age 40 and look and feel better than I ever have in my entire life," Weaver said. "I could have never imagined lifting weights as intensely as I do now or running a half-marathon, which I did for the first time in September of 2006, or being disciplined enough to give up all the poor eating choices that had been the staple of my diet for over 20 years."