BY DAVID JAMES HEISS
A converted open-air garage space at the Sun Lakes Country Club home of fitness trainer Robert Loigu serves as a personal gym for 70 year-old retired longshorewoman Mary Lou Moreno and 75 year-old retired nurse Janet Jiminez one recent morning.
Loigu (pronounced “Loy-Gue”) has them doing tomahawks: both women are holding free weights, raising them above their heads, and bringing them forward and down, like hammers.
“Feel that in the back of your arms?” Loigu asks.
They murmur their acknowledgement as they repeat the motions.
“We want to prevent injury and isolate muscle groups,” he explained. “Let’s give it another five seconds; and, relax.”
For their next exercise, he has them lift their arms “up and over, now push out. The first exercise was for your triceps. This is for your chest — and your arms again.”
Each activity goes on for about 30 seconds as 80s music offers upbeat ambience in the background.
According to his website www.robertloigu.com , Loigu learned a lot about personal training during his days playing football at UCLA.
He was working on a degree in kinesiology, but a practice injury ended his football career, and he left UCLA a year before he would have graduated, he says.
His gym offers a temporary respite from the isolation seniors are experiencing during the pandemic.
“It gives the girls something to do, since the gyms are closed,” in a relatively private setting where clients don’t have to fret about being self-conscious around strangers and die-hard gym bunnies.
He provides some equipment, which he sanitizes consistently, and both of his clients for the hour also seemed to have brought some of their own personal equipment.
Loigu is an experienced fitness trainer and consultant who works with clients of all ages and abilities, and conducts some sessions via Zoom.
With the new year on the horizon, he wanted people to know there are consultants like him ready to either host fitness sessions, or travel to their homes to help them focus on their goals.
A survey conducted by NPR and The Marist Poll at the end of 2018 heading into 2019’s new year, as reported by Bloomberg CityLab, 44 percent of 1,075 adults claimed to likely make a New Year’s resolution; among them, 13 percent set out to exercise more, “making it the most common resolution,” followed closely by losing weight and eating better.
Loigu has his clients walk in place for a few seconds, working on interval training between free weight-lifting and cardio.
He has them do “who cares” shrugs while holding weights to strengthen shoulders.
Moments later, they’re doing “tick tocks,” in which they hold their weights and, while keeping their feet planted, move weights from side to side, to strengthen their obliques and work on tone.
“We’re going into swim suit season,” Loigu tells them. “We’re not looking to lose weight, but lose inches.”
Muscle mass weighs more than fat, he explains, so replacing weight with muscle mass is a healthy thing.
Jimenez started working with Loigu in July.
“I wanted to get out and feel better. Since I was a nurse, I wanted to build up strength and balance, in case I fell. When you get older, you really need to know how to take care of yourself,” Jimenez says.
Mary Lou Moreno is thankful that Loigu “is always watching us and making sure we’re doing it correctly.”
She started working with Loigu four months earlier “to tone up and lose pandemic pounds.”
As a result of her fitness training, “I feel so much better,” though she jokes, “My arms have always been fluffy.”
Loigu works regularly with residents at Sun Lakes, Four Seasons and Solera retirement communities, but also works with college athletes, and was co-founder of Diamond Physique Personal Training in Fallbrook.
Sessions start at $30 and can be as short as a half hour, and run longer depending on clients’ goals.
Loigu may be reached at (951) 956-0004.
Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org , or by calling (951) 849-4586 x114.