Meet the Wellness Professional: Jon Dame

Personal Trainer at Dartmouth's Zimmerman Fitness Center

Every week I highlight someone in the Upper Valley who falls under the title of "Wellness Professional" - trainers, nutritionists, therapists of all kinds (physical, psychological, massage), and creators of healthy products, to name just a few. I give them a list of the same 20 questions and they choose to answer as many of them however they'd like.  

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This week I'd like to introduce you to Jon Dame - Personal Trainer at Dartmouth's Zimmerman Fitness Center


Jon has more than 15 years of personal training and group fitness experience, a degree in Exercise Science as well as Sports Performance and Functional Movement certifications. Jon has an understanding of sport performance program design, Olympic lifting technique and Applied Functional Sciences. Some of the types of clients Jon has worked with include: cardiac rehabilitation patients, cancer survivors, physical therapy patients, law enforcement professionals, NASCAR teams, as well as men’s and women’s Division I athletes and youth athletes. 

What is your fitness/wellness philosophy? 

  • Train like an athlete.
  • Always have fun. 

How did you get to where you are now?

I was introduced to exercise a little late in life.  Having been the fat kid who didn’t play team sports, I decided to take control and prove to myself and others that I could perform. I joined our high school cross-country team, then turned to cycling, weight lifting and bodybuilding.  After high school I went to Plymouth State College for Exercise Science.  I left that program, became ACE Certified and worked as a personal trainer around the Upper Valley.  My first taste of strength and conditioning was in North Carolina training NASCAR pit crews. I moved back to the Upper Valley and spent time with the Dartmouth Strength and Conditioning department before continuing my education at Lyndon State College where I pursued a Strength and Conditioning track.  Since 2012 I have been at Dartmouth College Zimmerman Fitness Center working with students and community members. There have been a lot of people in my life who have shaped who I am as a person and as a professional.  The fitness industry has been both generous and challenging, but I can’t think of anything else I would rather be doing with my life. Hopefully fitness continues to be rewarding and prosperous for many years to come.

Did you ever have any setbacks and how did you get past them? 

Life has not been smooth sailing for sure, but those experiences are what make us who we are and I have no regrets about who I am.

What makes you unique in your field?

I don’t think that I am that unique in the field as an industry, but my skill set allows me to successfully help a wide variety of people achieve their goals.  I have helped many people of all ages from rehabilitation to sports performance. 

What's your go to meal for: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack, Beverage?

I plead the 5th because Laleh will probably see this and would definitely disagree. : )

You're trapped on 12A in West Lebanon starving and you only have $8. What do you buy to get your through your errands?

If I'm stuck in West Lebanon and HANGRY I would go to Fore-U for ice cream and a hot dog.

What's something health and wellness related that you wish you'd known years ago?

I wish I knew more about nutrition years ago.  I am learning now how wrong I was even though I thought I was doing everything right.  Thanks to Laleh. 

What's the best health/fitness/wellness advice you ever received?

The best advice I have ever received was from my old mailman who told me that your body is your temple. From that moment I realized how important it is to take care of your body.

What's your favorite quote or mantra? 

  • Don’t play to play. Play to win.
  • Life is a game, play to win.
  • "Nobody ever drowned in his own sweat" - Ann Landers

Who or what gives you inspiration? 

I used to always see what I didn’t want to be (old and unhealthy). Now I am surrounded by some amazing people and strive to be as fit and healthy as they are when I am their age. Hanover has some impressive community members who, on any given day, could out perform some of the undergrads I see.

What's something you wish your clients/class participants knew? Or did? Or didn't do?

Sometimes I wish clients didn’t do their own research.  They are welcome to ask questions and challenge my theories, but when they see something in a magazine and assume it’s correct it can get really frustrating.

If you could only have one piece of fitness/wellness equipment what would it be?


What's your favorite non-gym physical activity?

Running / Hiking 

What are your passions outside of your field?


What's your least favorite exercise? Your favorite?

  • Least: Anything that I give my clients
  • Favorite: Dead Lift

What are one or two tips you can give to help people be successful in their wellness journey?

  1. It’s not easy being pretty.
  2. Health and wellness requires a lifestyle change.  There are NO quick fixes.

How do you make better bad decisions? 

Don’t make bad decisions


Would you or your business like to be featured in "Meet the Wellness Professional"? Email Amy at RVCAmy at gmail dot com 

Did you enjoy this interview? You might also like:

Last Week's Interview - Lynne Walker - Owner of Women's Muscular Wellness in Norwich, VT

Next Week's Interview - Eric Ellingson - Physical Therapist and Partner at BE Fit Physical Therapy

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More about the author, Amy Fortier: A short interview


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