Meet John Stathas. If you are at Pinnacle (Fitchburg) in the mornings you’ve probably noticed John working out. Early-evening members won’t feel left out – a couple times a week John is back to finish a two-a-day workout! Healthy habits like this are just part of what’s earned John Client of the Month for August.
John has been working out with Hans for over two years. Workouts have evolved, success has been achieved, a friendship has developed, and the best is yet to come.
John, how has your fitness journey developed while at Pinnacle?
I have been working out at least five days a week for the past five years. The workouts have helped me get control of my diabetes and have made me more fit; however, I have struggled with my ultimate goals of weight loss (getting to a healthy weight) and nutrition (better eating habits for life). For several years, I increased the intensity of my workouts hoping to exercise away the weight. While I had small victories, I always ended up putting the weight back on. This resulted in constant frustration and self-loathing. My success lately has been the result of three key components.
You have participated in Fitness Tracker class (FT2) since it began. What has the experience been like?
FT2 provided me with great interval workouts and a better understanding of my fitness level. I have enjoyed the camaraderie of the group classes. I always know that the others are suffering with me and that keeps me going. We share workout, diet and general successes or difficulties we have experienced during the week. This helps me understand what is working for others and I share what is working for me. The incorporation of the heart rate monitor has helped me better understand my level of exertion – when I can work harder and when I should back off a bit. I also find the comparison of results from workouts over the weeks/months very encouraging as it provides a graphic view of my improvement.
Talk about your weekly routine in 2017: 300 kettle bell swings per day!
One of my challenges is to complete 300 kettlebell swings per day. I talked with Hans and he convinced me to work within the principles of exercise training and give the body rest. We agreed that two days rest still gives me five days per week and we call that “300 swings per day.” January through July at 300 per day – do the math, that’s a lot of swings!
How did Team John form?
When I went to the doctor in December, I had gained back much of the weight I had lost a year before. I decided that I was going to commit to make the changes necessary to improve my health and quality of life. I elicited the help of my trainer (Hans Schiefelbein) to talk through what was working and what might need to change to have more success. I have been working with Hans for two years. He not only engaged me in discussing what was working, but also what might be holding me back. Hans listened, provided suggestions and started varying my workouts to try to help me achieve my goals. Hans worked with Hallie Ringhand to coordinate the the nutrition and exercise program necessary to help me see the results that were escaping me. Working with Hans and Hallie, it became clear that my nutrition was the missing piece of the puzzle. I just had to get to the point of committing to make the changes necessary in my diet and workouts to reach my goals. Hallie, Hans, some awesome Pinnacle friends (Lori Cerniglia, and Andrea Lang) and my family formed Team John to support my commitment to my new lifestyle which focused on nutrition, exercise, and sleep.
How do you measure success at Pinnacle?
My scorecard for my progress is measured by weekly weigh-ins for accountability. From my doctor visit in December to last week, I have lost 41 pounds. I can also measure progress via the heart rate monitor used in Fitness Tracker and After Burn classes at Pinnacle (heart rate recovery time after strenuous intervals). The nicest measure of my progress is how great I feel and how well (or poorly) my clothes fit
Come back next week for part 2 of our interview with John.
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.
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.
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.
Success stories at Pinnacle Health + Fitness are everywhere. Whether your workouts are just beginning, you’re competing in your first race, or you’re coming back from an injury, personal training is often the missing ingredient in your fitness plan. (more…)
This 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.
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.
A 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.
Earlier this month we posted a quick note on Facebook about two of our staff members, Chelsey and Vanessa after they competed in local fitness competitions. We are so proud of them and we wanted to know more. Here’s three questions for the competitors.
How would you describe the training?
Chelsey:I typically train 5–6 days a week for 1.5–2 hours per session. Most days include some form of squats, pulls from the floor, technique work for snatch or clean and jerk, and other accessory strength work. I lift with a team and work one-on-one with a coach!
Vanessa:My training involved split body training that put me in the gym 5–6 days a week; three of those days were 2-a-day workouts (cardio on my lunch break). My diet was based off of macros and certain percentages of carbs, protein and fats I had to meet everyday which required me to weigh and measure the majority of my foods for about 4 months.
How would you describe the competition?
Chelsey:The competitions are a blast! They are organized by weight class and gender. All lifters get 3 attempts to record, first, their best snatch, and then 3 attempts to find their best clean and jerk. Each session usually takes about 2–3 hours.
Vanessa:Body building competitions are broken down into 4 divisions that consist of Bikini, Figure, Fit Body, Physique and Bodybuilding. You enter the division where you think your body type fits in the best. I competed in the Figure and Fit Body Divisions. Figure Judges are looking for symmetry, tone and stage presence. Suits are embellished with rhinestones and high heels are required! The judges look for balance and proportion and well has good muscle tone and leanness. Fit Body competitors usually have look for a “hard” athletic physique, especially in the shoulders and arms. They’re usually a little more lean and have more striation in their muscles. I did this category just for fun because I love the poses.
Is there another competition in your future and what might that look like?
Chelsey:I will be competing in another competition either this summer or fall with the end goal to qualify for the American Open in Orlando in December!
Vanessa:This is my third show since October and it’s time for a break! I definitely plan to keep up with my lifting but probably won’t step n stage until next Spring. This summer I plan to enjoying a lot of biking and camping!
When choosing a protein powder the choice can be quite difficult. You see the list of ingredients and get overwhelmed. Reviews.com 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.
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
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!).
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.
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. Joining 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?