60 Seconds With Richard Whittmann
by Clay Neely
How did you decide that this occupation was the right line of work for you?
Fitness has been a passion of mine since the age of ten when my father bought me my first set of weights for Christmas. He was a weightlifter so I took to it like a duck to water. I decided back in 1992 when I opened my first studio, it was something I wanted to stick with for the rest of my life. I’ve always been entrepreneurial oriented in mindset so I felt the best of both worlds would be fitness related so that’s how I came up with a personal training studio. When I was about 27 years old, I decided fitness wasn’t just my evocation but it would be my vocation and I haven't looked back since.
What brought you and your family to Newnan?
Being from the Atlanta area originally, my wife and I were looking for somewhere in the metro Atlanta area that would appeal to us. One of the things we loved about Newnan is that its the closest metro Atlanta town closest to the (Florida) panhandle. The combination of the proximity of the Gulf along with the charm of historic downtown with the country not too far removed from that. The appeal of Newnan is that it has a flavor for everything.
Have you noticed a trend with people investing in their personal health more so now than in the past?
Absolutely. I think a lot of the Baby Boomer generation have come to grips with their mortality and they’re seeing that while good health is simple in concept, it’s not as easy in the actual application. With all the fads and hype — the miracle lotions, potions and powders and pills — they all seem to imply that effort isn’t required and that’s just not the truth. I’m just the messenger (laughs). But when they come to that awareness, they come to me and I do it in a way that’s very positive and healthy. Because of the accountability and the intelligent approach that I take towards exercise and nutrition, they’re going to get results. It’s not the easiest route but it’s the healthiest and most rewarding route.
What’s the biggest misconception about what you do?
I think for a lot of people, they have a misconception of how a personal trainer trains people. A misconception of perhaps reality TV, such as ‘The Biggest Loser” where maybe someone wants to put them through torture and misery and maybe have an element of fear and apprehension because of it. But working with me it’s anything but that. I do my very best to make it a positive experience. I don’t train recklessly. I guide them along in a positive way and bring them past their comfort zone in a way that’s intelligent. I’d rather them associate me with a positive change in their life direction. I’m also a certified life coach and I integrate life and wellness coaching into the mix because one of the biggest problems for people trying to stick with a fitness program is life and all those little things that come up and get in the way. I work with people with simple life management issues that get in the way of their fitness. So in short, I’m much nicer than people may think.