When Joe D’Agostino graduated from Hammonton High School in 1993, he could not have predicted that he would one day open his own personal training gym.
D’Agostino attended trade school after graduation and worked in the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) industry for 15 years before an injury put him out of work.
“I lifted weights my whole life, and I developed injuries from years of not lifting right ... I had torn my meniscus, and I was going to be out of HVAC work for at least four months because I couldn’t be on my feet,” D’Agostino said.
Part of D’Agostino’s recuperation efforts first piqued his interest in personal training.
“While working out at the gym—54 Fitness—I was interested in it, because I saw some of the trainers and that’s how I got involved ... While I was on crutches, I worked at 54 Fitness, and I started picking up clients. I never went back to HVAC; I took a change of direction in career, and I started doing this,” D’Agostino said.
D’Agostino received his training through American Aerobic Association International (AAAI)—as well as a certification in Russian kettlebells—and has been a personal trainer ever since.
However, his career took another turn when 54 Fitness closed in 2020.
“I really had nowhere else to go. I went out and I purchased a whole bunch of gym equipment and loaded it up. There were a couple of Retro Fitnesses that went out of business, and they had online auctions. I was able to get a bunch of equipment through them,” D’Agostino said.
Now, D’Agostino operates JD Strength out of his own facility at 950 S. Egg Harbor Rd.
“I set it up like I wanted. I’ve got turf, I’ve got cardio equipment, I’ve got strength equipment, kettlebells—I’ve got everything a gym has ... You tell me what your goals are, and I set up your program based on how you want it. You want to build strength? I’ll make you strong. You want to just stay toned and just exercise? We’ll do a bunch of circuit training with pretty much everything I have. It’s all based on the client’s needs. I provide it all,” D’Agostino said.
D’Agostino also said that he takes plenty of precautions to prevent possible contagion.
“It’s clean, very clean; I’ve got an air scrubber, I’ve got the BioBlast machine, I’ve got an infrared temperature checker. I make sure everything is nice and clean, and everybody feels safe,” D’Agostino said.
D’Agostino was quick to note that his facility is not open to walk-in business.
“It’s by appointment only. It’s a personal training gym. That’s it. I don’t accept outside members; if you don’t train with me, you can’t train there ... It’s private; you don’t have to worry about other members getting in your way,” he said.
Each client, D’Agostino said, gets his personal attention and the benefit of his experience.
“A lot of times, you go to a gym and you want a trainer, but you’ll just get pawned off to whoever. At my place, you get me and that’s it. I’m hoping that people see that—and the 12 years’ experience. I’ve been in the business a long time and experience has a bigger advantage in this industry, because I know what exercises can hurt you. I know the exercises that will help you ... A lot of times, with trainers starting out, it’s trial and error, but I’ve been doing this a long time, and I’ve got a good track record. I’ve got a lot of clients. I was able to open up this facility based on the clients that I have, and now I’m hoping I can add to it,” D’Agostino said.
D’Agostino said that his clients come from varied backgrounds.
“I’ve got athletes that train, too, so I get them ready for sports. I’ve got little kids that are just getting started and want to know form. It’s up to the parents; I’ve trained as young as 12 years old. A lot of the adults have kids and want to get them exercising, and it’s up to them. I’ll train any age,” D’Agostino said.
JD Strength is located at 950 S. Egg Harbor Rd. For more information, call (609) 517-1697, email jdstrength1@ gmail.com or visit jdstrength.com.