This Is Carolina: Fitting into fitness and fun

A specialized gym for seniors
Published: Aug. 3, 2023 at 5:00 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 3, 2023 at 6:49 PM EDT
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LITTLE RIVER, S.C. (WMBF) - Pushing, pulling and pedaling for progress. You won’t find fitness models or full-sized mirrors at Push Pull.

“You don’t feel intimidated by all these nice, young, hot bodies,” said Suzie Katuscak.

But you will find Greg and Brenda Hoffman training their peers at their one-of-a-kind gym founded by seniors for seniors in Little River.

“I’ve never stuck with anything like exercise programs for very long, so this is a record,” said Katuscak.

Katuscak is working to improve her strength and balance after suffering a stroke six months ago.

“They encourage you to go at your own pace. You keep challenging yourself but you’re not expected to kill yourself in here, you know,” she said. “You’re not lifting weights which I think can be, if not done properly, that could be damaging especially at my age.”

The fitness center is tucked in the back of the Little River Village Shopping Center along Highway 17 and plays nothing but oldies, while folks workout on zero-impact air-powered machines that are designed to give you a full body workout.

“This is all easy, subtle. It isn’t affecting your joints, and tendons and connective tissues,” said Brenda Hoffman.

Jim Johnson said he enjoys testing his strength and seeing the results.

“You can adjust the weight one pound at a time so you don’t have to go up a lot at one time. The doctor said my cholesterol was better, my blood pressure was lower and I truly believe it was all because of the workout here that we saw those improvements,” Johnson said.

Making friends is just an added bonus.

“You have people who are seniors in your own age group so it’s really like a social club. It works out well,” Johnson said.

The Hoffmans’ opened their specialized gym last year because they wanted to make a difference in the senior community.

“Our goal is to make it where people stay independent,” said Greg Hoffman. “There’s working in the yard, walking the dog, playing with the kids. None of that builds muscle. The only way to build muscle is resistance training.”

But the couple said their gym offers more than just building a better body, it’s building up self-confidence and a better quality of life for years to come.

“It makes me feel very proud of myself for continuing to follow through with something and it makes my self-esteem feel good, and it encourages me to keep going, said Katuscak.

“We’ve had tears in our eyes from some of their stories. I mean we’re like, ‘Wow!’ We look at each other and we’re like, we helped do that,” said Brenda Hoffman.

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