Sandra Holt’s Synergy Fitness offers a unique, individualized alternative to gym clubs

by Bradley Hartsell

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Britt Cox, left, and Sandra Holt work on balance by standing on a balance pod and tossing a weighted ball back and forth.

Not much compares to the intimidation of walking into a big, bustling gym for the first few times. Often, there is a sea of people, many who would appear as though they had been lifting weights since childhood. Every machine is occupied and the operating instructions may as well be written in another language.

Sandra Holt knew exercising in the typical public gym wasn’t for everyone. Like Holt, many wanted to workout in a place less overwhelming, more private and offering more personal encouragement. So in 1996, Holt, who was then serving as director of Piedmont Hospital Fitness Center on Newnan’s Court Square, started Personal Best Fitness with the goal stated right in the name.

“Personal Best” is the mantra Holt has touted since rebranding to Synergy Fitness in 2006.

“It’s important to focus on what your body can do, and what you should be doing,” said Holt, a certified personal trainer and exercise instructor, “I want people to achieve their personal best.”

Achieving a personal best is important because it implies individualization, and that is one of many concepts Holt hopes to employ in Synergy Fitness. Synergy’s location near downtown Newnan has created a niche for nontraditional gym-goers. Holt says her clients range from those recovering from surgery, to those who simply want to stay in shape or to clients hoping to shed some critical weight or lower cholestrol.

Holt notes one particular group of ladies who come to Synergy Fitness in the very early morning hours to begin their workout, solely to stay focused.

“They don’t want to get caught up in social distractions and waste two hours for a 45-minute session,” said Holt.

Holt works with her clients to ensure they train for their goal, based on the wishes of the individual and the needs of the body.

“One primary reason people come here is because of intimidation of being at a large gym,” Holt said. “Synergy is smaller and non-threatening, and there’s a supportive environment.”

The personal nature of Synergy has had a profound effect on Britt Cox, a client of Holt’s since the fitness center carried its former title of Personal Best.

“It’s never the same routine. It’s going to be consistent, in terms of knowing what she expects, but she keeps it very interesting and creative,” said Cox. “It’s not just working on machines. It’s yoga, stretching, pilates.”

Holt grew up in Valdosta, where she went to Valdosta State — now Valdosta State University. She moved to Newnan in 1990, and though she says she’d always been active as a runner, she began personal training in 1993.

Today, Holt has been blessed with a charming “boutique studio,” but with commercial equipment of any large facility. The studio sits in the Newnan Lofts, a two-story club with stone walls from the building’s days as a textile mill. Holt is proud of the fact she has a unique workout space that distinguishes itself from the sterility of a big gym, yet offers all of the same quality equipment.

This January, Holt is starting a program called “Synergize,” which is a class exclusively for people at least 30 pounds overweight. The class will be for those who need to start moving. Holt understands people would like to charge of their health but aren’t sure where to begin and feel too self-conscious to join a large gym.

“It has to be the right timing for people,” said Holt. “But you come here to heal your mind, body and spirit. That’s what ‘synergy’ means — everything coming together at the right moment.”



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