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The interesting thing about PAIN is that you learn to live with it.

For the past five years or so, I have been experiencing extreme pain in my left ankle. This goes back to my motor cycle accident when I was 16 and broke the left leg. I am sure the setting style back then in 1965 was not a technical as today.  The miss alignment I am sure has caused the issue over the years.

But for years the only potential solution was FUSION, which was just not an option for someone like me that likes to remain active. I knew from our involvement in the physical rehabilitation market that the ankle replacement was coming, so I just delayed and put up with the pain — which believe me — is no way to live.

Now, for the first time in years, I am finally PAIN FREE. Although I do not have full ankle mobility yet, my range of motion and strength are improving everyday and once the surgical wound heals and I can officially begin my ankle rehab – it’ll be back to action.




Yes off crutch’s and walking,  this wound healing take’s time , one more week and then real rehab!!



For the past 13 years, Paula Harvatine has found the time and motivation to workout on her Total Gym and we think her results speak for them self.

Read Paula’s story of success and find out how she incorporates Total Gym into her life.

“I’ve been using my Total Gym for 13 years and it’s my absolute favorite form of exercise. I enjoy it so much and it works! I used to work out on a Nordic Track and a stationary bike, but everything I was doing was aerobic exercise.  At that time I thought, “working out is working out”— it did not matter what you did.  But I was not doing any strength training and I was not seeing the results I wanted even though I was using them long- term on a regular basis.

My friend had a Total Gym and said she really saw a difference, so I bought one. I started out using it 4 – 5 times a week and in a short time I could see the results! Now I just do it 1-2 times a week, but I am able to maintain a fit physique and it’s fun!

Even after horrible injuries stemming from an assault three years ago left me with joint issues and ongoing pain from injuries, I can still get on my Total Gym and workout because of how it works; the mechanics of it. I can’t run because it’s too jarring on my injuries, but the Total Gym has helped me. I have to keep a tight core in order to be in less pain and working out on the Total Gym allows me to do just that. The Total Gym is so good at helping me focus on my core because every move you do on it requires you to keep your core engaged.

Raising two kids and running a business, it just wasn’t possible for me to get to a gym – I wanted to spend time with my family when I wasn’t working. Having the Total Gym has allowed me to do that and still stay in shape.  I put on some Backstreet Boys, hop on my Total Gym and get my ‘40-minutes of me time’ and I have a ball while I’m doing it!

My husband and son have even used the Total Gym after they saw the results I was getting. In fact, my son got many comments about his ‘six-pack’ abs when he was using the Total Gym and my husband often gets comments about how fit he is. It has truly made a difference for all of us.

I turned 50 this year and just the other day I overheard a woman talking about how the ‘belly roll’ just comes with being over 50 and I wanted to say ‘No it does not! Not with Total Gym!’

Basically, I love my Total Gym!”



Story submitted by Paula Harvatine

Edited by permission only.



One step forward, two steps back…. 

It has seemed to be a pattern.  Every time I would start rehabbing my ankle, the small wound at the top of the surgical opening would fire up, landing me in the hospital once again.

Unsure why the wound was not healing properly, a wound specialist was called in. Turns out a deep hidden suture he skillfully removed could be to blame!!!

Since then, the progress has been amazing and my most recent report was very positive!

Hopefully only one or two more weeks on crutches – just in time to take leisurely strolls along the beach (sans crutches) during our trip to Hawaii!




When James Driver, now 49-years-old, decided to buy a Total Gym, little did he know it would be the best decision of his life – a lifesaving one in fact – but not for the reasons you might think.

Read about James’ harrowing tale and find out how he attributes his workouts on Total Gym to saving his life:

“My name is James Driver and this is a testimony to how working out on a Total Gym actually saved my life – literally.  I am now 43 years old and a year ago I was looking into buying some home fitness equipment.  I had narrowed my search to a free weight system and a Total Gym.  The costs were comparable, but after viewing a video on the Total Gym I decided it would offer me the best work out.

For almost a year I have been working out faithfully on the total gym.  I knew I had more strength and flexibility than I had achieved working out at a gym on free weights and machines.  I now know that the total gym workouts actually prepared me to handle a life and death situation far more than free weight system could ever do.

On June 26, 2006 my church group, comprised of 18 adult and youth, entered the Ocoee River (Class 3 and 4 rapids) for a whitewater adventure. I had been white watering before and was looking forward to another river experience.

In the midst of a rainstorm, we headed down river. I was sitting in the right front and the very first rapid we hit sucked my section of the boat down and then popped up leaving me airborne. I did not panic since I… knew what I had to do. With my feet faced down-river I went toes and nose up in the air.”

I was going along OK even though my backside was beat by every rock down the river. Then things turned suddenly bad at a large rock with a strong hydraulic. This part of the river literally sucked my feet to the bottom and as I went through the rapid, my right ankle became entangled in a loose end of rope that was attached to the rock.

My body continued down the river but the rope had firmly wrapped around my ankle and violently twisted me around so that I was facing the rush of water. Unable to breath, I placed my loose foot under a rock at the bottom of the river and turned my body so that my face pointed down river.

The rush of water was so strong it forced my head into the water and I was submerged.

I am 6’1” and I was barely able to get my head out of the water. Using my free foot and the free end of the rope that was floating next to me, I was able to keep my head above water and push against the current.

People were quickly working to free me. I was in a difficult location with little accessibility. Several times rescuers were swept past me as they attempted to reach me. I began to see the panic in my rescuers’ eyes and I realized I was in trouble. Later, they told me that 20 minutes had passed without any success.

Looking back, I can see how the Total Gym workouts gave me the strength to hang on while my rescuers figured out a way to save me. Specifically, the Total Gym exercises that gave me the muscle strength and flexibility that no free weight or machine system could give me were:

  1. Twister [torso rotation]:  This allowed my lower abdominals and upper and lower back to be able to twist and stabilize myself in the water against the current.
  2. Seated Row and Seated High Pull: Allowed me to develop the muscles that pushed against the water (upper back and rear shoulders).
  3. Butterfly and Biceps Butterfly [lat pull down or triceps pushdown].  These muscles were the ones that I needed most as I pulled myself out of the water using the same motion I used working on the Total Gym.

These exercises cannot be duplicated [on other] weight machines. Plus, I had the added bonus of the cardio workout that Total Gym gives. I definitely had to have the muscle strength and cardio combination to withstand the constant pressure of the water.

Finally, a rescuer reached me and cut the rope. I was now once again free floating through the rapids. I am not sure how far I went before eventually making it to the shore.  I was exhausted and I was told that hypothermia was setting in.

My rafting guide looked at me and said that in over 13 years on the river, she had never seen anything that scared her more.  I [was beat up] with obvious loss of body heat.

I’m not sure how much longer I would’ve been able to remain above the water, but I do know this—a year of working on Total Gym, and the specific exercises I’ve been using, gave me the strength to stay above water until my rescuers could reach me.

Total Gym and the exercises only it provides, saved my life.”

Story submitted by James Driver, Frankfort, KY

Edited by permission, for length only.



When I tell people I had a total ankle replacement, the first reaction is, “I didn’t know they did that.” Knees and Hips are common, but ankles – that’s new!

After a motor cycle accident when I was 16, a broken leg that was just set with traction and a cast, (now steel pins would have made the alignment perfect) and all the sports, plyometrics and heavy weight lifting I’ve done, my left ankle had had enough! It was gone.

Four years ago the doctors said just get it fused, but I wanted full mobility – I am an active guy after all. So, I figured, why not an ankle joint replacement? However, ankle joint replacements were then very new and did not have a lot of success.

Pre-op. Getting ready to go into surgery.

After doing the research I found the STAR system out of Scandinavia, (Scandinavia Total Ankle Replacement). Although the medical technology had been used for over 25 years in Scandinavia, the STAR took nine years to receive FDA approval for use in the US, finally getting the go-ahead in 2009. I found Dr. Clanton at the Steadman Clinic in Vail Colorado, he was one of the doctors who took the STAR system through the FDA process.

Off Joy and I went to Vail on May 12th for my ankle replacement surgery on the 17th. The results were instant and awesome, that is until I got an infection in the surgical wound.

So it was back to surgery (twice) to clean it out. Fortunately, the infection was not in the joint, (if it had been they would have had to take the replacement hardware out!), so this was only a two week set back.

Now, nine weeks “post-op”, I’m onto rehab (yes on the Total Gym), and my physical therapist says it’s looking really good. And while I won’t be running, jumping, biking, snowboarding, or playing golf any time soon, I’m walking with no pain and no limp (be it at a slow pace).


Prevent Fitness Plateaus with Total Gym Training DVDs

At some point, everyone reaches a fitness plateau. It’s perfectly natural. Your body gets used to doing the same workout routine day in and day out. The secret to breaking through a plateau is to change how you perform your workout by adding new variables like increasing weight load, changing the duration of your workouts or trying new training techniques (e.g., high intensity interval training).

Add diversity to your Total Gym routine with GRAVITY Training DVDs. Led by GRAVITY Master Trainers, the DVDs are designed to challenge the body in new and fun ways.

Trainers – Total Gym DVDs offer dynamic exercise alternatives to keep GRAVITY sessions fresh and participants coming back!

Check out these popular DVDs and click here to explore the entire DVD library:

GRAVITY :: Core Centric (NEW) Join recognized fitness presenter Rob Glick for GRAVITY :: Core Centric — Total Gym training for the all-important core! Develop a “Foundation,” get “Defined” and go “Extreme” with three Core Centric workouts that deliver dynamic functional training straight to the midsection to fortify core muscles, reduce back pain and build solid, lean abs at any fitness level.

GRAVITY :: Totally Hot Award-winning international presenter Helen Vanderburg throws out a high-energy total-body sculpting workout. This fun cardio-resistance program drives participants through high-rep exercises with minimal recovery to get fat-burning results! A “Hot” series of challenging, quick tempo exercises focuses on every muscle group while working in multiple planes of motion with little to no rest for a fast-track to improved strength, endurance, speed and muscle definition. Take hot up a notch.

More tips for plateau prevention:

Maintain a regular workout routine & healthy diet (think about calories in vs. calories out).

Check out the newest Total Gym models Sport, GTS and PowerTower, with more incline levels and advanced features to progress Total Gym training.

Get exclusive Trainer Tips to modify and/or challenge Total Gym DVD workouts at It’s FREE to become a member. Just create your log in and click on “All Programming and Online Extras” to find Trainer Tips for most GRAVITY DVDs.

Happy training!

Fitness Wisdom Wednesday: Increase Lower Body Strength & Flexibility

Hi! I’m Lee Stover, a GRAVITY personal trainer and ballroom dancing fitness expert with Performance Enhancement Institute located in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

In today’s video, I demonstrate 3 exercises on my Total Gym GTS that I use in my weekly workout regimen to increase my lower body strength and flexibility. The beauty of Total Gym is it allows you to stretch and strengthen muscles at the same time!

These 3 exercises are PLYO-SQUAT variations. To execute the first exercise, you will need to bring your knees to your chest during your jump. The second requires you to bring your chest and arms between your legs as you jump. You can also tap your heels together. The last exercise includes a split jump during the jumping motion.

These exercises improve the spring in your legs which is great for dancing swing, jive or samba. These exercises are not limited to ballroom dancers. Athletes competing in sports that require elevation such as football, basketball or soccer will also benefit from these Total Gym-inspired exercises.

Note: Do not try these exercises until you are comfortable performing basic squat jumps on Total Gym.

Keep dancing, tackling, shooting, kicking or whatever activity you enjoy!

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