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This superman of health promotes seniors' fitness
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This superman of health promotes seniors' fitness
By Robert S. Hong

This article, about longtime Church of God member Harry Sneider, is excerpted by permission from the Pasadena (Calif.) Star-News of Oct. 7, 2007.

ARCADIA, Calif.--Family fitness is the wave of the future. At least that's what personal trainer Harry Sneider believes, and he's been spreading that philosophy for nearly 50 years.

"What's needed in the San Gabriel Valley is not bigger clubs but more home-type training with emphasis on unifying families through fitness," he said.

This last summer Dr. Sneider, 66, took home the "Super Senior" award from the Pasadena Senior Center for the work he has done in promoting fitness among senior citizens.

A house full of gym

Along with his wife, Sarah, Harry Sneider operates a full gym out of his house in Arcadia. But, unlike some commercial gyms, Dr. Sneider's adds a little extra inspiration to clients' perspiration, they say.

"We're interested in bringing faith, encouragement and support as part of a fitness regimen," Dr. Sneider said.

It's this aspect that he feels would benefit families who exercise and grow together.

A devout Christian, Dr. Sneider prays for all of his clients and refers to himself as a "minister" of fitness.

Dr. Sneider's faith comes from his miraculous recovery from a near-death encounter with the bone disease osteomyelitis early in his life that left him disabled in his right leg.

But that did not stop him from being active and only furthered his mission to deliver fitness to those who requested his services.

"I thought this must be the mission of my life," he said of his passion for training. "I became a minister of barbells and dumbbells."

And on his list of clients are Olympians and fitness icons.

"He is incredibly creative in knowing what an athlete needs on any given day," said Olympian Dwight Stones, who took home two medals in the high jump in the 1970s. "He knows just by talking to someone how much their body can take that day."

Sarah Sneider, who has been training since 1968, is right by her husband's side in working with clients.

Hospitals are expensive

An exercise routine the couple specializes in is rebounding, which involves workouts on a small trampoline. The Sneiders have published books and DVDs with workouts using the "rebounder" and are experienced with all types of gym equipment.

"What Harry does best is be a great motivator," said four-time gold-medalist John Naber. "When he gives you his attention you feel there's nothing you cannot do."

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