Keeping up with the Joneses |

Keeping up with the Joneses

— Clients at Optimum Fitness receive the undivided attention of a veteran personal trainer without the distractions of public athletic clubs.

Mark and Barbara Jones have more than 30 years of combined experience in the fitness industry. Mark has worked with top-level athletes ranging from the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League to race car drivers such as Lyn St. James. He worked with Denver Broncos quarterback Danny Kanell during his collegiate career at Florida State University. Barbara had 17 years of experience in the industry before obtaining certification as a health/fitness instructor from the American College of Sports Medicine.

The Joneses believe one-on-one attention combined with an exercise program designed specifically for the client can make all the difference in reaching new goals.

“You’re creating an environment for people that’s conducive to their situation,” Mark Jones said. “We try to cultivate a habit of exercise. Once you have a healthy habit, you have it made.”

Barbara Jones, a competitive long distance runner, strives to give her clients the same fitness buzz she experiences after a training run.

“I feel so vital and engaged after a run. With every client, I give my heart and soul,” she said. “I totally feel what they are doing.”

Jones won the points standing title in the Steamboat Springs Running Series in 2003.

The 1,100-square-foot studio at Optimum Fitness (624 South Lincoln Ave. next to Freshie’s restaurant) is divided into two rooms, one containing cardiovascular exercise equipment and the larger space devoted to a group of carefully selected weight training machines.

At any given time of the day, Mark and Barbara are likely to be working with different clients. Or one of them might be working with two clients — a couple or two members of the same sports team. But that’s about the limit. As a result, there’s no waiting for the piece of equipment a client needs for the next exercise in their regimen.

The Joneses also are willing to book appointments in clients’ homes.

It’s all about providing individualized attention while giving clients a workout that is carefully tailored to their goals, they said.

Those goals might vary widely. One client may be pursuing weight loss. Another might be seeking to improve his time in the 40-yard dash. Another might want to improve the distance on her tee shots. Another may be seeking to return to athletic activity after back surgery.

Mark Jones, who has a master’s degree in exercise physiology, takes a very scientific approach to designing individualized fitness programs. In fact, it is the constant stream of new knowledge in the field that keeps him engaged.

There are many misperceptions circulating among the public about modern exercise science, Jones said. The field has advanced to the point that he can design a workout program that will yield results with very specific performance goals within an athlete’s chosen sport.

In Steamboat, Optimum Fitness has a significant number of middle-aged clients who are determined to remain active as they advance in age.

Mark Jones is from Buffalo, N.Y., and worked as a conditioning coach for the Buffalo Sabres as well as an expert in dry-land training for the ski racing community of Western, N.Y.

He moved to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 1981 and established a business called Sports and Fitness Clinic. Among other things, the business provided supervised care for cardiac patients.

Mark built the business until it had 25 employees and regularly provided hundreds of personal fitness sessions.

Mark and Barbara set goals for themselves with the birth of their son. They planned that by the time he was ready to enter kindergarten, they would downsize the business and move to Steamboat Springs. They achieved that goal and for three years, sublet space from Peak Fitness in its old Sundance Plaza location.

They quickly filled their available appointments for personal training sessions, Mark said. Their clients have followed them to their new studio.

“I was psyched to have lost 25 pounds, but exercising in this private studio is quiet, comfortable and such a great stress reducer,” said client Jeff Temple.

Optimum Fitness also offers an audiovisual system that permits clients to choose the music and images that motivate them the most. They have beautifully appointed men’s and women’s dressing and shower facilities.

With a small studio and a finite number of appointments, the Joneses’ business model calls for developing enduring relationships with their customers. But they are completely open to working with people who want guidance in creating the best workout program for their needs, then transitioning into an independent mode.

Initial consultations are free of charge. The Joneses can be reached at 846-7402.

— To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205 or


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