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Triangle Downtowner Magazine

Can you take the Heat?

Jake Giamoni, co-owner of Heat Fitness, sat down with us for a quick interview on working out, reducing fat, nutrition, and of course, what makes Heat a great place to get fit. In the main photo above: Lead Group Fitness Instructor Matt Gulliver, co-owner Megan Hanna, and co-owner Jake Giamoni.

1. Please tell our readers an overview of your background in the fitness industry. 

I've been a multi-sport athlete my whole life, culminated by captaining the NC State wrestling team and winning three individual ACC Championships. Fitness and sports have always been at the center of my existence, so 12 years ago, I decided to pursue my passion and began my career as a fitness coach.

2. Can you tell us how and why the program at Heat works better than your average studio?

What we offer at Heat is a comprehensive training program that hits on all aspects of fitness. This flies in the face of the sometimes random and cardiocentric workouts you find at many other studios. Challenging and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone are essential to achieving results, but there needs to be a method to the madness if you are looking to make lasting changes to your body. Our system involves a healthy mix of strength training, high-intensity interval training and yoga/mobility classes. Add in the amazing and supportive community of members and top-notch training staff, and you have what we’ve found to be a winning formula for fitness success. 

3. For the hardcore CrossFit clan who espouse ballistic training, what advice can you offer them? 

First off, I'd say CrossFit gets a bit of a bad rap. I am a believer that anything that gets people off their butts and moving is going to be more beneficial than negative. That said, I believe what we do at Heat takes the positive aspects of many other training programs, such as CrossFit, and eliminates some of the negatives you might see such as overtraining and risk of injury. We truly believe we have the most effective training program you'll find anywhere. If you follow it, you'll see awesome results. Period.  

4. What is your take on the difference in training men and women regarding hard training and bulking up (or not bulking up)? 

To this day, many women still get the impression that they will get bulky from lifting anything more than a few pounds. I will say that while this stigma still exists with many women, it's getting better because people now understand that strength training is essential in reaching your fitness goals. About two-thirds of our members are women, and the vast majority of them love to strength train and have seen great results by adding this training into their regimen. And my advice for those women that are not yet strength training... DO IT!  The "toned" body you are looking for is achieved by lifting weights and eating a well-balanced diet, not through excessive amounts of cardio and starving yourself. Not sure what to do or how to do it?  That's what we are here for! 

5. What’s your best advice for reducing body fat?  

Healthy diet + strength training + interval training. In that order. That's the "secret".  A healthy body always starts with what you put IN it.  Exercise alone will not get you there. 

6. What about nutrition? How much of a bearing does what you eat affect your results?  

As mentioned - nutrition is the #1 factor in achieving the body you want.  Exercise is massively important, but you can't out-exercise a bad diet. We have a nutrition expert on our staff for this exact reason.  

7. What are your thoughts on how to best improve strength and performance?  

Lift heavy things and hire a coach that can teach you how to do it safely and effectively. One of the biggest issues we see as to why people do not get results in their fitness program is that they try to do it on their own. Many people work tirelessly doing the wrong things, and they just end up frustrated or injured.

8. Only a very small amount of Americans are moving as much as guidelines suggest. What’s the problem?  

There's no question that our society as a whole has gotten lazier, but I am optimistic we can spin things back in the right direction. It really starts with educating people that just doing SOMETHING is better than nothing at all.  Take a walk. Go for a leisurely bike ride. It doesn't have to be back-breaking training to make it worth it. JUST MOVE!

9. Why do your clients say they enjoy working out at Heat?

The community. Hands down. As great as our classes and trainers are - the members come back to see their friends. So many great relationships have been formed at our gym and we couldn't be prouder of the environment we’ve created that is enriching our members' lives in more ways than one. We pride ourselves in making sure this fitness thing isn't all business. Whether it be through our traveling fitness retreats, competitions, parties, group volunteering, and other social events. . . we make sure we go out of our way to make things fun.

10. Is Heat a good gym for those just getting started out or do you mainly serve those that are already relatively fit and help them get to the next level?  

While some of our classes do gear themselves toward intermediate to advanced fitness levels, we definitely have something for everybody. If someone is truly just getting started in their fitness journey, we usually advise them to do some one-on-one training before jumping into classes. Safety is always our first priority. We will never recommend a program that we believe could cause someone to become demotivated or injured.  

11. Any plans for changes in 2018 at Heat? 

To be honest, 2017 was an awesome year for our gym and just repeating this success in the coming year would be a blessing.  A personal motto of mine is "1% better every day" so as long as our team continues to embody this and we keep putting our members first, then I see 2018 being our best year yet!


Heat Studios is located at 400 Glenwood Avenue, next to the offices for Triangle Downtowner Magazine and Century 21, and adjacent to Hibernian Pub.