Best of Madison 2018 Hans Schiefelbein

Madison Magazine’s Best of Madison voting has finished and Pinnacle is proud to announce that our very own Hans Schiefelbein won Silver!

Hans has made a name for himself in Madison specializing in high intensity interval training while also building a strong group of runners. Hans has room in his schedule mid-mornings and mid-afternoons. Additionally Hans developed FT2 which is a series of seminars, online training, and a small group class that utilizes wearable devices in exercise training and healthy living. If you need to get your fitness started, need a refresh on your weekly routine, or are looking to take your performance to the next level contact Hans today and hire one of Madison’s best trainers.
In his words: “Here’s how to achieve the best results of your life: Take your goals and my plan, you put it the hard work and I’ll make adjustments along the way. I will take your unique situation and coach you with the perfect level of challenge to achieve the healthy lifestyle we all are pursuing.”

Black Friday 2017 – time for next-level-fitness

This year it’s time to take advantage of the best Black Friday special in Madison – two free personal training sessions when you purchase a 20-pack with one of our trainers.

As you can imagine most of these results happen over time, but if 20 sessions is more than you’re ready for right now, the Black Friday special includes one free session when you purchase a 10-pack.

At Pinnacle Health + Fitness your training sessions can be used whenever you’re ready. Ten sessions can go almost half of a year if you train every-other week. This puts a lot of pressure on you to get the work done but with a trainer in your corner, the sky is the limit to starting 2018 as your best year ever.

Sale runs November 20-24, 2017

Client of the Month Lauren Bonnell

Pinnacle Health + Fitness is proud to introduce our October Client of the Month: Lauren Bonnell

Please share a little about your history and why you joined Pinnacle.

I was very active while growing up. I was on a competition dance team and played softball and tennis. After a few injuries this took a toll on my body. When I would try to work out, I would end up in so much pain that I just stopped working out altogether. When I hit my heaviest weight, 250lbs, I knew I needed to do something to turn it around. I started looking online for a personal trainer and got connected with Pinnacle. I was told about Sally, who was previously a nurse, and thought she would be the perfect person to work with, given my previous sports injuries.

What have you accomplished since you started at Pinnacle?

Since starting at Pinnacle, I have lost 20lbs and several inches. My strength continues to increase everyday and I no longer have the constant pain in my knees and my feet.

How has working with Sally helped you? 

Working with Sally has given me the tools I need to create my own routine at the gym. Until I started at Pinnacle, I had never worked out in a normal gym and I didn’t know where to start with all of the equipment and using proper form.

Sally has been great! She holds me accountable for my own success by asking what I want my next goal to be or creating a workout that I can do on weeks that we are unable to meet. There have been times that I have struggled with getting to the gym regularly, so she will send me a text message of encouragement. I have had a few bumps along the way with injuries outside of the gym; Sally is really good about adjusting our workouts to ensure that I don’t make the injury worse.

What do you hope to accomplish next? 

My next short term goal is to be able to do a pull up. I’ve always had lower body strength, now it’s time to have the upper body strength to go with it.

Stay tuned later in the week when Lauren shares one of her favorite meals that fueled these workouts.

The Afterburn Effect

It’s back! “The Afterburn Effect” taught by Hallie Ringhand, Fall 2017 session

Experience one of today’s hottest fitness trends right here at Pinnacle Health and Fitness – heart rate based training! The Afterburn Effect consists of results-producing, stress-reducing, endorphin-enhancing movement that prompts the body to burn fat at an accelerated rate both during as well as long after the workout. You’ll get heart rate-guided cardio & strength training in a small group environment, followed by 30 minutes of lengthening and flexibility training. All levels are welcome!

Hallie Ringhand, long-time Pinnacle instructor and owner of New U, will lead you through this heart-pumping and restorative 8-week session. Space is limited to 15 participants, so sign up today at the front desk!

· Tuesdays, September 26th – November 21st (no class October 31st) 6:30-7:30 pm (Fitchburg club)

· Price $96 for members ($12/class), $120 non-members ($15/class)

· A heart rate monitor is REQUIRED for this session. A Yoga Mat is highly recommended for the stretch portion of class.

Testimonial for Summer 2017 Afterburn session:

“I liked the variety of workouts from week to week. Combining my training with a heart rate monitor gave me a lot of insight into my effort and fitness level. I was encouraged to see a quicker recovery to my resting heart rate as the class progressed. The classes always wore me out, yet I left feeling relaxed.” John

Client of the Month John Stathas’ KB Workout: Single KB Complex Smoker

At Pinnacle we love kettlebells. John really likes kettlebells. We asked our client of the month to share one of his KB workouts. He gave us the Complex Smoker.

Do 4 rounds of the following kettlebell complex per side. No rest between movements; go thru the whole sequence on one side before switching. Rest approx 30 seconds between rounds.

– 5 reps 1 arm KB swing

– 5 reps KB high pull

– 5 reps. KB snatch

– 5 reps. KB front squat

– 5 reps. KB push press

– 5 burpees

If you try John’s KB Complex Smoker, leave a comment below and let us know how it went.

Happy training!

Client of the Month: John Stathas

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.

Motivation, fast breakfast and a workout

This week we published a few resources and have compiled them here as a summary.

“Sweat, smile, repeat”




Bananas and peanut butter (or alternative) on toast is always a win. Sun butter, banana, and chia seed toast.

Source: Skinny Fork

Workout: TRX/KB

For this workout, work back and forth between TRX and kettlebells. When you see intervals 30:10 x 6, this means the high interval is 30 seconds and the rest is 10 seconds, repeat 6 times.

How did you do this week? We’d love to hear how things went and what else you’d like to see in these free workouts from trainers at Pinnacle Health + Fitness.

Happy Training!


TRX has a lot going for it. It’s popular, it’s portable and it’s challenging. It has become one of my favorite pieces of training equipment. TRX is not cheap but if you are a member of a gym they probably have one (or a few). If you have the money motivation I guarantee you will get your money out of it if you purchase one. Personally I’ve lead TRX classes and I use it with clients daily. And this summer you should start using TRX also!

Three reasons TRX is awesome

TRX is awesome for a few different reasons. First, before you even get on TRX you have preconceived notions of this original suspension trainer. Someone suggests you try it or asks if you have experience with TRX and you get a little wide-eyed and your heart rate goes up because you’ve never had the guts to grab those two handles and try something. So TRX is awesome because it has a reputation.

The reputation doesn’t disappoint. TRX is also awesome because it’s one of the most challenging pieces of equipment in the gym (not many people own their own straps). Have you been working on “regular” push-ups? Try them with your feet in the straps. How about the back, have you been doing rows? Try leaning on TRX and doing rows! Pretty good at a squat? Stand with the TRX and do jump-squats as you jump agains the straps and they pull you back for more. TRX has a great slogan: “all core all the time.” The challenge with TRX is keeping good posture throughout your movements while engaging your core.

TRX 101
TRX 101

While not many people own a TRX, those that do love the portability of it. While traveling for work is usually a challenge, it’s entirely possible to throw the TRX straps into even a carry-on and bring suspension training on your business trip. It may take a little research and time to get TRX set up on location, but one additional perk is you’ll probably be outside in a park, under a tree, or in some other green space that’s sure to grab some attention and (hopefully) encourage others to get their fitness the way you are.

My experience with TRX

In the last five years I’ve taught a TRX class at both of the gyms where I’ve worked. Here at Pinnacle I developed a TRX/KB class – 60 minutes of TRX and kettle bells in high-intensity interval format. It was very successful for about a year. I took a lot of that class and incorporated it into workouts with clients. As I noted earlier, I like to take exercise people already do (push-ups, rows, squats) and add the challenge of TRX. Adding a balance/stability component is great for functional training. So much of exercise adherence is about keeping clients engaged. TRX affords them new ways to move including getting into positions (low squat) that are literally impossible to do without TRX. One of my favorite stories is from a client of mine who admitted one morning that she had a dream about TRX burpees. That’s right: one foot in the TRX strap, hop (on the other foot), drop to a push-up (remember, one foot is in TRX and the other is “floating”), TRX push-up, stand on the one free leg, hop on one foot and repeat. From HIIT training, to classic intervals and strength to golf stretches and assisted yoga poses, TRX suspension trainer has become a staple in my training program for both me and my clients.

TRX is for you

When I introduce people to TRX, I start with TRX chest press. I tell them: “I have challenged a high-level triathlete with TRX Atomic push-ups and I have had a 75-year old former professor on TRX chest press because you can choose the level of difficulty. Parallel to the ground, the triathlete is pushed to the max. Standing almost vertical the former professor is practically doing a standing wall chest press with the added benefit of the instability of the straps. All this means that I can get any client or member to an appropriate level of challenge on the TRX suspension trainer.

One key I’ve realized with TRX is to not be intimidated by it or think that it’s a stand-alone piece of equipment. It’s a curve ball. It’s a change up from your normal exercises. Find a couple of your strengths and experiment how TRX can challenge you in new says. I’ve used “challenge” six times in this article. If a workout doesn’t challenge you it can’t change you – TRX will challenge you and that’s a good thing.

If you want a couple challenges beyond the TRX chest press, row, and squat mentioned in this post, hit me up on Twitter or email me and I’d be happy to contribute to your workouts.

Client of the Month – Joe

My trainer, Vikki Hettiger, and I have been working together twice a week for just over a year. During this period, I’ve made a number of observations that explain the extraordinary advantages of hiring a Personal Trainer.

Client of the Month Joe 2


First, there are a number of exercises I wouldn’t be able to perform without Vikki encouraging me. She is the cheerleader that reaches across to my inner resources, enabling them to succeed, where alone I would have failed.


Second, Vikki offers a view I could not otherwise have. It’s like having a “mirror”, and acquiring a level of critical vision that is beyond my capabilities when I’m working out by myself.


Third, working with a good trainer is a “cumulative” experience. The brain and the body do not grasp it all at once. Acquiring muscle memory takes time and repetition. The rigor eventually pays off, but only when there is consistency. Each session ‘builds’ on every detail of the experience – some of it works at a conscious level, and some of it is the subconscious effort of acquiring habits so they become “ingrained”. The things I learned early on in our sessions have become the building blocks that have eventually allowed me to perform more advanced exercises.

Another thing I realized is that even though I am reasonably body-conscious, there are still muscle groups that I barely had control over in the beginning. Through Vikki’s attentive and consistent training sessions, I gradually gained a much keener awareness of how my muscles inter-relate… and how to coordinate and control them consciously. This is, undoubtedly, what people mean when they say ‘I’m discovering muscles I didn’t know I had’!
Working with a trainer is sort of an extreme form of therapy. The aims are general, yet amazingly, the effects can be highly specific. While individual exercises usually aim for a specific muscle group, all seem almost inadvertently to enhance the ‘core.’ Strengthening the core muscles plays a role in everything you perform while training; and the benefit can be as dramatic as it is surprising. I happen to be subject to some pretty bad lower back problems; however, effectively training my core has helped immensely in avoiding bouts of serious back pain. Wouldn’t you rather spend the money on training than on drugs?


Finally, I have learned that the body has an innate desire to “cheat” or to find the easy way out. This cannot be helped; it’s practically instinctive. Vikki is there to be watchful and to point out exactly how and where my body is trying to ‘cheat’ when performing an exercise. This is important because any cheating in movements undermines the training process, preventing me from reaching my best potential. In this respect, working with Vikki has been invaluable.
I find working with Vikki to be a luxury experience. She has more faith in me than I do in myself. It’s part of her professionalism. She focuses on me during our time together, which in turn, helps me focus on myself. And I’m delighted that she calls the agenda – it is always a surprise, so there can be no dread, nor false anticipation. When training with Vikki, I live entirely in the moment, no extraneous worries, no apprehensions. That’s what I call a luxury service.
Client of the Month Vikki and Joe