Temple of Fitness

At the new Temple personal training studio (4521 Magazine St., 261-8988 or 202-2446), those looking to tone themselves, build endurance and strengthen their bodies will never encounter a "one size fits all" workout program.

"Our forte here is personalized training," says owner Gus Mendoza, who has been in the fitness business since 1982. "Each person is an individual who requires a different training (program). You may have injuries that I will take into consideration ... and everyone has a different lifestyle, temperament and discipline level."

Instead of setting up a master workout mold into which they fit all their clients, Mendoza and trainer Les Schmidt pull from their decades of experience to combine whatever exercise disciplines are needed for each person. The staff soon will include more than a half-dozen full-time trainers and a nutritionist who will advise clients how best to meet their dietary needs.

"When everyone is working out once a week and all working out the same way, that's not personal," says Schmidt. "We'll find out what's going to work for [each client]; keep some muscle, keep down the injuries, look at their form and results and strengths." When a workout program is set up specifically for an individual and they can see results, Schmidt says, they tend to stick with it and it becomes a part of their lifestyle. A trainer can add or subtract components to keep them from losing interest.

Mendoza renovated the building, which was a firehouse when it first was built in 1892 and was converted to a dry cleaning business in the 1920s, to have a comfortable and stylish interior space with exposed brick walls, beam ceilings and a huge, arched window that allows light in through the front. The studio is equipped with top-of-the-line exercise machines by Flex Fitness -- Temple is the first studio in New Orleans to install the line -- as well as weights large and small.

Even when a customer is on a machine, the trainers are watching and adjusting the equipment to perfectly fit each person's size and monitoring the resistance level to match their fitness goals. "I use the machines to gauge improvement and strengths," Mendoza says. "I use free weights to build stabilizer muscles. I adjust the machines and routines according to a person's injuries and their abilities."

A Woman's Touch

Plastic surgeon Dr. Cynthia Mizgala has opened a new office and medi-spa with therapeutic and relaxation services at 4720 I-10 Service Road, Metairie (885-4515). Originally Mizgala had scheduled a grand opening for mid-September, but Hurricane Katrina postponed those plans until December or January.

The medical practice and spa, however, are open, with the full-service spa providing manicures, pedicures, relaxing massages, facials by esthetician Sara Gremillion, body treatments, back facials, eyelash extensions and tinting, body wraps, scrubs, microdermabrasion, peels and wrinkle treatments that include Botox, Hylaform and Restylane. The spa also is offering a Katrina Special that includes a free peel when you schedule a special facial. The business also has been providing free relaxing facials to emergency personnel.

In her medical practice, Mizgala, president of the Louisiana Society of Plastic Surgeons, performs surgery on both men and women, including body contouring, facial and breast surgery.

Living With Cancer

St. Tammany Parish Hospital (STPH) (1202 S. Tyler St., Covington, 985-898-4000; and has scheduled several activities this month that focus on cancer.

The STPH Cancer Resource Center will hold a free educational teleconference from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 9 at the Outpatient Pavilion (16400 Hwy. 1085, Covington) to help cancer patients who are going through treatment, and their families and friends better handle holiday stress. Lunch will be provided, but you must register by calling (985) 898-4481. Later that evening at the same location, the hospital is sponsoring a free program from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in which cosmetologists give cancer patients tips about how to deal with appearance-related side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. Advance reservations are required. Call 898-4481.

Physicians and nurse practitioners will give women 18 and older free clinical breast exams from 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 19 at the STPH Community Wellness Center (1505 N. Florida St., Covington). Screening mammograms will be available to uninsured women 40 and older and to those who don't have a doctor or haven't had a mammogram in more than a year. Call 225-215-1234 or 888-616-4687 for information.

Fresh and Wholesome

Whole Foods Market, which has closed its two stores in the New Orleans area while they are repaired from Hurricane Katrina damage, is offering "Greater New Orleans Pick Up Service" to provide its products to residents until the two stores reopen.

You can order Whole Foods products, including chilled prepared foods, organic produce, special diet items and artisan foods, by calling (800) 967-9703. Orders can be picked up the following day -- Monday through Friday, no weekend pickups -- from a refrigerated truck at the Whole Foods Market at 3420 Veterans Memorial Blvd. in Metairie. Payment must be made by credit card or check.

Gene Therapy Expands

Researchers from Tulane and LSU Health Sciences Centers will study the use of adult stem cells in the treatment of lung diseases under a five-year, $9.5 million grant the National Institutes of Health's National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recently awarded the Tulane Center for Gene Therapy.

The grant will fund projects seeking to repair lung tissue damaged by asbestos exposure, emphysema and cystic fibrosis as well as those trying to determine which stem cells are the most effective. The projects will involve laboratory and animal research; clinical trials involving people with lung diseases are a future goal.

Working to Curb AIDS

Dr. James E. Robinson, professor of pediatrics-infectious diseases at Tulane University will lead a local team working with scientists from the United States, Europe and Africa in an effort they hope will lead to the development of a vaccine to prevent HIV infection.

Tulane will receive almost $1.3 million from the University of Alabama Birmingham, which is working under a $16.3 million grant from the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative, to study how the immune systems of patients recently infected with HIV change as they respond to the virus and how the virus changes to adapt to the host. Understanding these two processes could help scientists develop an effective HIV vaccine.

The international Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative seeks to create effective health tools that are inexpensive, easy to distribute and easy to use in developing countries.

Funding Innovations

St. Tammany Hospital Foundation, a nonprofit group that helps support the work of St. Tammany Parish Hospital (1202 S. Tyler St., Covington, 985-898-4000; and, has given that institution's departments a total of $105,000 for programs and equipment not funded by other grants or the hospital's budget.

Various departments submitted projects for funding, including supplies for patient and community education, rehabilitation equipment and a special electric ambulance cart to transport patients from the helipad to the hospital's emergency department. Thirteen projects were funded.

Owner Gus Mendoza works out on a Flex Fitness - machine at his new Temple personal training studio - Uptown.
  • Owner Gus Mendoza works out on a Flex Fitness machine at his new Temple personal training studio Uptown.

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