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Where Empathy Meets Inspiration: Custom Fitness

Oct. 6, 2020

Jeff Carr stands in his gym, The Fitness Company as a woman exercises.
Jeff Carr is an alumnus with a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences and a Masters of Health Education with an emphasis in Exercise Physiology and Public Health. He is the owner of The Ftiness Company May 29, 2020. Sam O’Keefe/University of Missouri

Phil’s story is typical. He came to The Fitness Co. in Columbia with a common problem he hoped to correct with exercise. At 39, his lower back bothered him so badly that he stopped riding bikes with his kids.

Phil’s body is not typical. Every person’s physiology is unique, says Jeff Carr, Phil’s personal trainer and FitCo’s owner. Carr, BHS ’11, M Ed ’15, spent their first session finding out how Phil’s body performed various movements. Phil works as an HVAC installer, and years of squatting and crawling in cramped attic spaces had taken their toll on his knees and back. As a result, he stood, sat and moved differently than someone whose back hurts from sitting at a desk. This evaluation formed the basis of an individualized — and constantly evolving — exercise program that alleviated Phil’s back pain and enabled him to ride his bike again.     

Carr and four hired trainers each teach classes of two to four people whom the trainers closely monitor. “Each client has their own completely different workout. So, in a three-person session, I might have a workout for a knee issue and another for a back issue, and the third person may be training for a marathon,” says Carr, whose master’s degree is in health education with an emphasis in exercise physiology and public health. When the coronavirus disrupted business as usual, Carr customized online workouts for clients to tackle at home.

Since he founded FitCo in 2013, Carr has personalized workout programs based on clients’ movement analysis, goals, fitness level and underlying physical conditions. The movement analysis determines whether a client has specific issues to address. 

By offering corrective exercises as part of a personalized program, Carr says he has set FitCo apart while filling a gap in health care. Many people have nagging injuries who aren’t candidates for physical therapy or surgery. People like Phil are proof that some aches and pains can be alleviated through exercise. “He was able to go mountain biking again and do things he hadn’t done in 10 years, which makes me feel good,” Carr says. “I’ve always wanted to help people. It just so happens that I’m able to help people through movement.”

This story by Dawn Klingensmith, BA, BJ ’97, was originally published in the Fall 2020 issue of MIZZOU alumni magazine.