Getting Personal

One-on-one fitness in East Greenwich


Much to the surprise of everyone I’ve ever met — especially myself — I started exercising last month. There’s no explanation for it, really. I had spent 30 perfectly content years sitting and reading. Then one day, feeling run down and stressed out, I decided that I was going to take a yoga class. It was a lazy person’s revelation: I could lay down and work out at the same time. I loved how I felt afterwards — limber, strong, relaxed. The five pounds I lost after two weeks of regular classes didn’t hurt, either. But then, something terrible happened. I wanted to do more exercise, and worse, more strenuous exercise.

So when I found myself with the opportunity to work out with Dorne Jacavone at Balance Personal Fitness Training, I took it. (For context, my boss screwed up her face and said “Really? You? Why?” when I agreed.) In all honesty, I was scared. I expected Dorne to beat me down with cardio and weights into a quivering mass of sweat and tears, and to possibly need to be brought home via ambulance.

So, you might say it was a pleasant surprise to find a perky, energetic woman in yoga clothes standing in the middle of an expansive, mostly empty studio space. Dorne greeted me, and we sat down to talk about my fitness goals and my level of ability. Then we started with some calisthenic warmups that got my blood moving while emphasizing stretching and balance. So far so good.

Then, we transitioned into moves with a balance ball. “You don’t see a lot of weights around here,” Dorne said. “Not what you were expecting, right? I love using the body as a weight. I want to show people exercises they can do at home. No excuses.” We worked through sets of exercises, all of which felt attainable. When Dorne saw that I could easily do something, she modified it to be more challenging but not impossible. “I want my clients to build confidence, and help them be motivated to do this on their own,” she explained. “To make positive choices every day.”

Our workout then progressed into working on a mat – and, to my joy, we started using yoga poses as a basis for more rigorous exercises. With her coaching, I even did push ups. “Everyone hates these,” she said, “but I think you might actually like them.” I did. Who knew?

Of course, for more physically fit people, there are much more rigorous exercises, some including kettlebells and dumbbells. Dorne showed me more advanced modifications on the poses I was doing as a way to both make me feel better about how hard I was working and to give me something to aspire to. “Each session is customized because each person is an individual. There is not a ‘one size fits all’ workout,” she said.

At the end of our hour, I felt great. I had sweat, but I never got to a place that felt like it was too difficult or demanding. I also felt refreshed, lengthened, strong and accomplished. I walked out of Balance with a clear head and a vow to do that again, and soon.