Fitness Tracker 2.0 Training Starts Monday

Fitness Tracker 2.0 Training

Next 10-week training session starts January 9

Did you get a new fitness tracker over the holidays? According to ACSM’s annual survey, fitness trackers are the number one fitness trend for 2017. For the past year, master trainer Hans Schiefelbein has been creating the FT2 Series. The FT2 (Fitness Tracker 2.0) series is based on the premise that many people have wearable devices but they don’t use them to their fullest potential or they aren’t getting the results they had hoped for, thus FT2.

The next FT2 Training starts January 9th. Each week the class meets for group training on Mondays at 6:15am. At that time Hans delivers the entire week’s workouts for each participant. Throughout the week, Hans monitors all workouts and non-workout physical activity and nutrition through MyFitnessPal, which every participant is required to join. MFP acts as the central hub between the participant, the fitness device, and the trainer. Along with way Hans will be making adjustments to workouts and coaching each member to their personal best. Last year the class renewed their training three times – fitness tracking with Hans works!

If you’re not sure that FT2 Training is for you, try FT2 Online. This 8-week online training is exactly that – eight weeks of online training where members send their fitness tracker to MyFitnessPal where Hans delivers weekly workouts and monitors them throughout the week as your digital coach.

If you’re a self-starter that needs an expert coach, sign up for FT2 Online. For ten of the most challenging weeks and to start of 2017 in a sprint, join us next Monday for FT2 Training. Sign-up is required so email Hans today.

Snow Sport: “Ideal cross-training”


No one wants to think about the winter months, the snow, the cold while we’re still in September. But if you’re a winter sports person and you want to have a great season, the time to start training is now. That’s why we developed Snow Sport. Here’s what Rich Schifreen has to say about the class: *“The snow sports class has been an ideal cross-training opportunity for me to build balance and core and limb strength to complement my bicycle training and help transition into downhill and cross country skiing for the winter. It’s also played a major role in helping me rehab from surgery to repair a ruptured quadriceps tendon in my left knee and a total reverse shoulder replacement. Christine worked with my physical therapist to help me return to the snow sports class safely and with a plan for a slow but progressive build to my limits.” *

Snow Sport is already the most popular class at Pinnacle. But we want to make it grow this year! Here’s our special this fall: Bring a friend and get a free smoothie on the first day of class. If you’re looking forward to the winter athletic season, your preparation starts with Snow Sport!

Snow Sport sign up button

Q&A with Master Trainer Christine James

Christine James (ACE certified, 23 years experience) has seen a lot in the fitness industry. In response, her approach has changed and results keep pouring in. On September 26th she begins the first session of our most popular class at Pinnacle: Snow Sport. We sat down with Christine to talk about personal training, her own fitness, and why Snow Sport is so effective.

Snow Sport 2016

1. What is your training philosophy with your clients?

My training philosophy revolves around movement and motion. I believe in promoting movement and maintaining maximum motion, and this can be applied to any person, with any goal, at any fitness level.

2. What kind of success stories have you seen in your 23 years of training?

I’ve been a certified trainer working with clients for over 23 years. My training style has most definitely changed over the years as the industry continues to grow and evolve. I’ve worked with so many individuals ranging from post-injury rehabilitation, to training for the Police Academy Fitness test, to supplemental training for Ironman, and anywhere in-between. My favorite success story, though, centers around watching a client achieve something they couldn’t do before – or do something they didn’t think they could do. I see this every day in every workout with every client. To me, that’s the definition of success.

3. What would be your advice to someone interested in personal training?

Do this for yourself. When you work with a trainer, you will be guaranteed a personalized workout every time. You will be challenged to the level that works for you, and pushed to do things you didn’t think you could do!

4. How do you maintain your level of fitness?

Variety is the spice of life! I thrive on mixing things up with my personal fitness. I teach cycling class at Pinnacle, and I really like taking other fitness classes too! While I also enjoy running and taking my dogs for walks, I find that strength training mixed with cardio intervals works best to keep me feeling strong and healthy.

5. Your classes at Pinnacle are very well attended. Why?

I like to promote hard work, fun, laughter and friendship. I strive to combine all of those qualities in every class I teach. I believe by promoting welcomeness and acceptance, people will want to continue showing up. It’s contagious and that feeling spreads throughout the group, and all of a sudden we have an entire class of welcoming and accepting people working hard to be fit and healthy together. It’s a beautiful thing.Snow Sport sign up button

Last Call: Summer Outdoor Boot Camps (Fitchburg)

signupbootcampThis is the last call for outdoor boot camps this summer. The newest member of our team, Sally Wolff, will help you end the summer well and launch you into the fall. This boot camp has the opportunity to get you into the best shape of your life! From the boot camp instructor herself:

“Boot Camp is designed to be a fun, high intensity class that combines cardiac endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility training. The exercises focus on total body movements and core strengthening. Exercises can always be modified to protect an area of the body, or to increase the intensity of the workout.” – Sally


One of Sally’s satisfied participants, Lori, has this to about boot camp:

“I just wanted to send a note to let you know how much I am enjoying and benefitting from the boot camp you do! I have never participated in a boot camp before, so I was a little intimidated at the idea. But I wanted to challenge myself, I give it a try, and I am loving it! I look forward to Mondays and Wednesdays after work, even though it has been very hot! It’s a great workout! Your encouragement and tips for proper form are so helpful. I am signing up for the next four weeks! – Lori

Member price for this last 4-week session (two classes per week) is just $80. You can sign up on the boot camp page and end the summer on a great note.DSC_0668



HIIT Tabata Training

We all work out for various reasons. Some of us just want to get our steps in. Others are trying to lose some pounds. Some are trying to finish their first race or set a personal best at a particular distance. Whatever your reason for working out, new research tells us everyone can benefit from cranking up the intensity every once in awhile.

High intensity interval training, also known as HIIT, is exactly what it sounds like… and then some. Here’s how it works. Pick an exercise and do it as hard as you can for 10-40 seconds. Take a short rest, usually less than 20 seconds. Then repeat 4-8 times. What is high intensity? High intensity is classified as all-out effort. For example, if you’re slamming a ball on the ground, you’re trying to get as many reps as possible; you’re going as hard as you possibly can.

HIIT Tabata

HIIT training is a national trend, but the most popular protocol has a local connection. The Tabata protocol was designed by head coach Irisawa Koichi, the head coach for a Japanese speed skating team. Coach Koichi wanted to see how short could a workout be and still be effective. They’re template was a high intensity bout followed by short rests. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Department of Exercise and Sport Science conducted a study in 1996 that determined participants improved both cardiovascular fitness and modified body composition.

As a trainer, I use the Tabata protocol every day with my clients. I have seen both qualitative and quantitative results. Some clients have lost significant weight, some have gotten stronger, and all of them have improved their ability to complete more repetitions in the short interval and handle the workload more efficiently. When your body is physically able to perform high intensity exercises, you demonstrate increased cardiovascular and muscular fitness. This should be a primary goal for our workout.

Of course high intensity training is not for everyone and you should always consult with your physician first. Consider if your training would benefit from Tabata one day per week. Next week on the blog we’ll have a free HIIT workout. 

Rest may be the best thing for your body right now

When I am designing workouts for my clients, I’m working with four different variables. The first three are the most common: resistance, repetitions, and sets. But the fourth? Rest. Some exercises are meant to be performed continuously. But usually a workout is designed to be performed at a higher intensity that requires some sort of break. For example, if I asked you to do 100 push-ups, you probably wouldn’t do those without a break. But what if you did ten and then had a 2-minute break? Easier, right? Need it easier? How about two push-ups 50 times with that same 2-minute rest? That’s a very different challenge, right?

I use this extreme example to demonstrate that rest is an active component to an exercise routine. It’s important between exercises, between sets and also during entire seasons.

Rest DayA couple weeks ago I was on vacation with my family. What I’ve learned is that me being gone is usually a good time for clients to get a little break. In case you haven’t noticed, I like high intensity workouts. We are all training safely and people are getting stronger, faster and more confident. But this training takes a toll on the body. I’ve found that me being gone is a good time for clients to have an easier week or even take the week off from intervals. Do you want to know what I often see when I return? Some of the best days of training all year! The reason for this is that the body sometimes just needs to take a break and rest. I’ve seen this as a runner on many occasions: training is going well, “life happens” and I miss anywhere from 4-9 days of training, and I start to worry I’ve lost my edge. Just the opposite! The time off was just what I needed to pop out a great workout and take my training to the next level.

There are four variables to every workout. In the next couple weeks, take note of how the rest component is affecting your effort and results.

Protein Powders: How do I buy a safe product? Which one is best?

When choosing a protein powder the choice can be quite difficult.  You see the list of ingredients and get overwhelmed. did the work for you.  They did a comprehensive study of over 675 products and 111 different brands while getting the advice of dietitians and fitness experts.  They considered the concerns of artificial sweeteners, illegal substances and food colorings.

And the winners are:  Click here and find out.


The sports nutrition industry has a history littered with lawsuits, misleading product labels, and hyperbolized products, especially when it comes to protein powder – which is a multi-billion dollar industry. Outrageous branding campaigns have been convincing people they need extra protein to build muscle since the ‘70s, and that perception is still going strong. Sales are up, spiked proteins are rampant, and the war for the best-tasting whey isolate continues.

We spent 180 hours researching the industry to discover what the frenzy was all about. During that time we built a list of 697 different flavors of protein powder, consulted with nationally renowned fitness and health experts, and investigated the nutritional pros and cons of 191 artificial sweeteners, food colorings, and illegal substances.  Continue Reading

Artificial ingredients are useless and can lower your overall health

The general consensus among online fitness and nutrition communities is that the artificial sweeteners and colorings used in protein powders are bad for you. We took our research a step further and asked over 4,000 registered dietitians for their opinions on the matter. Their response was unanimous (and much stronger): If possible, artificial sugars and colorings should be completely avoided. Not only are they unnecessary; they’re potentially dangerous. Continue Reading

Three Reasons to Join a Gym

Three Reasons to Join a Gym

Every once in awhile a person needs to take an inventory of the tools we have in life. Are we moving towards our goals? Do I have the right tools for the job? Are we using our tools to the best of our ability? We often think about our health in terms of work and home. But the common denominator here is our personal health. Am I healthy enough to perform where I work? Am I healthy enough to contribute to my family life? Maybe the answer is yes, maybe the answer is no, but either way we can always conclude: “I want to take my health to the next level.”

At Pinnacle Health + Fitness we opened our doors so people could pursue their health. We are always trying to improve our facilities and services to give members the tools they need to be successful.

Own your health

Workouts at home are hard to come by. I know that many of my clients are successful working out at home but most experience a significant drop off from their workouts at the gym. Own your health. Sign up for a membership and use it as a tool to pursue your health. For a reasonable monthly rate, becoming a member is a great investment. You can’t purchase all the equipment you want, but we can (and did!). title
Buying a membership gets you access to weights, cardio machines, and functional exercise equipment like medicine balls, kettle bells and TRX suspension straps. If you value your health, a gym membership makes a lot of sense. The next step is to design your own workout, or…

Be trained by the pros

It’s not that you can’t design your own workout. It’s just that you need a little push (sometimes a big push, right Mondays?). Most of my clients get in 3–5 workouts per week but they choose to have at least one of them designed and implemented by me. Personal trainers track your workouts and progress you to new challenges that are hard to do on your own. You could view a personal trainer as another tool to have in your back pocket to pursue your health.
personal training
If you look at any successful athlete (don’t fool yourself, you’re an athlete), they have a coach. From Jordan to Ironman the best in the world benefit when they have a coach, and you will, too. Having a coach allows for critical decision making and challenges that can be difficult when managed alone. Which brings us to…

Join a team

When you join a club you join a team. During your first workout at Pinnacle Health + Fitness, look closely at the other members. Many of them know each other well enough to share friendly greetings, both personally and as it relates to their workout. Join a teamJoining a club gets you on that team. It could also get you onto a group exercise team that will expect you to be at class. Or it could get you on a smaller team, one-on-one with a personal trainer. That’s my personal favorite! What about you? Are you ready to join the Pinnacle team?

Madison Marathon

This weekend is the 21st running of the Madison Marathon. Not only is Pinnacle Health + Fitness a major sponsor, but we have some members running and other members volunteering. Race events like this happen all year long in Madison and bring a lot of excitement to the community. At Pinnacle our goal is to help members reach their health and fitness goals and races like Madison Marathon help many of these members reach those goals.

Running a full or half marathon sounds very daunting to many people. But as members of a health club, you should know we have coaches and trainers that would love to talk to you about that process if there’s even an outside chance you might be interested in putting one of those races on your bucket list.

Whether or not running is for you, we hope you get a chance to support the Madison Marathon this weekend.

Water Works – For Fitness and Weight Loss

Before I had my left hip replaced a year ago, I could barely walk with a cane due to hip and knee pain.  After my surgery, I did my physical therapy exercises, but still lacked muscle mass, core strength and mobility.  I also had significant knee pain.   I began to attend water exercise classes regularly late last summer.
Since I started exercising three times a week in the water, I  lost 10 pounds and gained muscle and core strength.  In late February I began adding deep water running for 30 minutes to my water aerobics classes.  I have lost an akatevedderdditional 5 pounds, and slimmed my legs and midriff enough that my husband has noticed!
I also have regained full range of motion in my hips and experience almost no knee pain, thanks to water exercise classes and deep water running.  I may not be able to run on the ground, but I love the feeling of running in the water.
Kate Vedder