At 70, Jania Sommers decided to work with a personal trainer for the first time. Twenty years earlier, she says she “turned a corner” from inactivity and learned to swim and to take yoga seriously. She pursued tai chi and Pilates and continued to practice yoga. But when her spouse passed away in 2018 after years of illness, she says, “I was not in good shape and needed some serious help getting well and being as strong as possible in whatever life is left for me.”

Her husband had been a member of 24 Hour Fitness, and for Sommers, turning to a personal trainer there was also a way of honoring her husband’s memory. That trainer was David Merrell. A part of the team at 24 Hour Fitness Trolley Corners Active Gym in Salt Lake City, Merrell happens to know from his own experience what it’s like to gain the good health and strength to make a difference. “Personal training is an intensely rewarding field,” he says. “You take people who have limited function and open the world up to them again.”

Sommers says, “[Since working with Merrell], I feel stronger, more awake and mindfully aware of my body. Practicing exercises at the gym surrounded by a community of people also wanting to be healthy is good medicine.” It also gives her the mental and physical energy to serve her clients, as a practicing social worker and therapist.

24Life covers the benefits that physical training has on mindset, the impact that mental fortitude has on motivation, and the momentum that comes from taking a first step. But nothing speaks more meaningfully to the impact fitness can have on the rest of life than 24 Hour Fitness personal trainers and their clients. It’s a privilege to share some of their extraordinary stories in this issue.

Photo credit: Courtesy of personal trainers and members featured


Don’t leave without becoming a 24Life Insider! Get free 24Life workouts, recipes, lifestyle hacks and more direct to your inbox.


Robin Rootenberg

Robin Rootenberg is managing editor for 24Life and 24Life TV. Nothing makes her happier than the possibility of one more person rediscovering the joy of movement, or trying something new. A UC Berkeley grad, her writing and communications career spans more than two decades, and she’s been running for even longer.