A Place of Well-Being
Photography courtesy of Alys Beach
The health and fitness industries are continually evolving—with new programs and technologies released so often, it can be intimidating for beginners. Certified personal trainer Patrick Hoffner is here to help! Hoffner is the head fitness professional at ZUMA, a state-of-the-art private health club for the homeowners and guests of the idyllic Alys Beach community on Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast. He offers advice on tried-and-true methods of staying well and relates how he and his ZUMA team are embracing new programs to help their members be the best they can be.
VIE: What was your path to becoming a certified trainer and then the head fitness professional at ZUMA?
Patrick Hoffner: I’ve been a multisport athlete my entire life, and fitness and staying active have been part of my life since I can remember. My love for being active and my passion for teaching and serving others led me to follow my heart and enter into the fitness industry. I was certified back in 2009 by ISSA and continue to be so to this day. I have completed and passed every level of the TRX Suspension Training education platform, making me one of two certified TRX coaches on the Emerald Coast. I am also Precision Nutrition certified, which greatly helps me enhance and improve people’s wellness and overall health.
VIE: What kinds of preparation went into the programs for ZUMA, and how do they stand out from other facilities?
PH: I pride myself on staying ahead of the curve, so to speak, on what is popular and trending in the marketplace for fitness. Also, when looking at programs for ZUMA, I really wanted to focus on programs backed by high-quality education and high-quality equipment. I cannot stress enough that these programs wouldn’t be the stars that they have become without the talented instructors and trainers teaching them.
VIE: What has been your favorite part of the job since ZUMA opened?
PH: Building relationships with all my fellow employees, as well as the homeowners of Alys Beach and the outside members of ZUMA. Call me old fashioned, but even in today’s world of technology and innovation, there is still no substitute for genuine in-person interaction. We want you to feel welcome and desired when you step inside ZUMA, and I feel that is what makes Alys Beach and ZUMA an experience and not just a vacation destination.
VIE: As a trainer, what advice would you give a beginner who is becoming more serious about physical health?
PH: I would say get your house in order first. Meaning: you should get your home life in order first—better lifestyle choices, better food choices. If the food you eat is bad for the planet, then it’s bad for you! Then, focus on getting a good night’s sleep. Only after you have gotten those first two in order should you begin to implement a workout routine. You cannot and will not outwork your bad lifestyle and bad sleep! It’s like having a leak in your roof and, instead of patching the roof to solve the problem, you just buy buckets day after day to catch the raindrops.
VIE: What room at ZUMA is your favorite? Do you think there are health benefits to exercising in such an architecturally stunning space?
PH: My favorite room is our Movement Room. Clearly, my opinion is biased because not only is this one of the most incredible TRX Functional Training rooms, but I also had the privilege of designing this room from the ground up. The room is flexible in its modality offerings as well. With the custom TRX Bridge, we have the ability to execute TRX, boxing, kickboxing, and cycle classes all within this one room. “The dungeon” has been a popular nickname for it because it’s the one space that doesn’t have that “wellness, beauty, peace, and serenity” feel to it—this is the “get after it” room!
We want you to feel welcome and desired when you step inside ZUMA, and I feel that is what makes Alys Beach and ZUMA an experience and not just a vacation destination.
VIE: Are there recovery and wellness programs available to ZUMA members?
PH: We offer massage—classic, deep tissue, hot stone, facials, and chair massage—along with meditation, and even made-to-order smoothies created from the highest quality ingredients and supplements.
VIE: Can you tell us a little more about TRX Suspension Training and what makes it a great workout?
PH: The TRX system, also known as total resistance exercises, refers to a specialized form of suspension training that utilizes equipment developed by former US Navy SEAL Randy Hetrick. TRX is a form of suspension training that uses body weight exercises to develop strength, balance, flexibility, and core stability simultaneously. It requires the use of the TRX Suspension Trainer, a performance training tool that leverages gravity and the user’s body weight to complete the exercises. TRX’s designers claim that it draws on research from the military, pro sports, and academic institutions, along with experience gathered from the TRX team, who work “with thousands of athletes, coaches, trainers, first responders, subject matter experts, professors, and service members in all branches.”
VIE: What are some other ways people can take advantage of the wellness offerings in the area around Alys Beach?
PH: There are other experiences to add to your wellness program, from walks or running on the beach and the bike path along Scenic Highway 30-A to participating in area events, such as the Alys Beach 5K and 1-Mile Fun Run on Labor Day or the 30A 10K at neighboring Rosemary Beach on Thanksgiving morning.
VIE: Tell us a little about tennis programs and other sports offered at Alys Beach.
PH: We have two world-class professionals leading our tennis offerings: Wimbledon Doubles Champion TJ Middleton and Ole Miss Hall of Famer Courtenay Chapman Middleton. They offer weekly drills as well as personal instruction. Our boutique approach allows our guests to receive personal attention in an intimate atmosphere from the very best of instructors.
Additionally, we offer a full-court basketball facility, stand-up paddleboarding and surfing lessons, soccer activities, and beach volleyball.
VIE: The Alys Beach homeowners and guests who have become members at ZUMA have nothing but great things to say about the facility and its staff. Member Emma Rode shares her thoughts: Emma Rode: I love ZUMA! The energy I receive when I walk in the door motivates me. My trainer, Patrick Hoffner, is very knowledgeable and committed to his work. When I began working with him, I was coming back from a year of medical issues. It was like I was starting all over. He worked with me, always paying close attention to my form and encouraging me along the way. He saw potential in me that I didn’t know I had. I enjoy the variety of workouts at ZUMA. With Patrick, we do just about everything: pool training, resistance and strength training, training with TRX straps, weightlifting. He continues to push me and remind me that I’m capable of more than my mind realizes. I know when I work out with Patrick, it will be difficult, but it will be rewarding—and a fun time!
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Visit AlysBeach.com to learn more.