100% Fitness & Chiropractic

If my slow blogging hasn’t been an indicator I will tell you now that I have been struggling in my focus on “Losing Weight Off the Interstate”. I lost my drive a bit while home for the holidays and I have slowly been trying to recapture the steam I had for the first half of my trip. I have reached out to a handful of people with little response but that changed when I posted pictures to Instagram while in Nashville. A woman with the handle @abbyrex liked several of my images and when I looked at her profile I saw she was a personal trainer in the Nashville area, I reached out to her and we agreed to meet in nearby Franklin, Tennessee.

We met at a small coffee shop within a mile from where I was staying with my cousin and his family. I was nervous as I had seen some pretty impressive pictures of Abby Rorex and her incredibly in shape figure. This would not be the first or last time I found myself nervous to meet someone, Abby was quick to put me at ease with her friendly smile.  Abby was joined by her boyfriend Dr. Travis Owens and together they are combining their practices to bring a holistic approach to fitness and health, it was like I got a two for one with my meeting. :)

Abby is training clients through 100% Fitness while Travis is working with clients through 100% Chiropractic. They are currently in the process of creating a combined space in downtown Franklin, right across the street from one of the areas largest Farmer’s Markets.  The two were chosen by the Owners of 100% Chiropractic to create the first “whole body healthy centers” in the Nation. There are other 100% Chiropractic centers in the nation but Abby was chosen as the first 100% Fitness instructors, once the model has been proven they will start to add fitness to their services.

It was great spending the morning chatting with Abby and Travis and after a quick interview Abby and I went to a local park to do a light strength training workout. I was pretty proud of myself because she asked if I had time and I considered bagging out after the interview but I was happy to have met her for the workout. We did a handful of strength moves using hand weights and our body weight, it was definitely enough to ensure my body was sufficiently sore the next few days. :)

As I continue on my journey, if I ever need inspiration I just need to look to Abby’s pictures to keep striving towards my goal! A huge thanks to Abby and Travis for taking the time to meet me! What great people!





Refine Method

Refine Method 1

Two tough HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts in two days were a common thing for me prior to leaving Seattle, now, not so much. I dragged my aching body to Refine Method in New York’s Upper East Side on a Monday, walking tall having successfully survived the class at Exceed the day prior.

This studio was very small and the staff knew everyone and when I walked in they welcomed me by name. My instructor, Pam Leary, was very friendly and enthusiastic about my journey.

A few minutes into the warm-up it was evident that I wasn’t working at full capacity. I knew I was tired from the previous day’s workout but this type of fatigue was unusual, then it hit me, I hadn’t eaten since my breakfast smoothie. Rookie mistake! I don’t know if it was because of my lack of nutrients or if the class was just hard but this was the toughest workout I had done in a long time. The workout consisted of a combination of full body cardio such as jump squats to strength training with kettle bells and suspension straps. I was so weak and tired that I wasn’t even able to add any weight to my workout, I just worked out against my own body weight which at the time felt like a million pounds.

The other people in the class seemed to be moving through the workout with ease, my experience was more of a breathy wheeze. I was so off my game it was a bit embarrassing, which is a common feeling for me on this trip so I felt right at home. There were a handful of times throughout the workout when I seriously considered leaving, I was long out of water and light headed. I am proud to say that I stuck it out and finished the class. As I left the studio it was quite clear to me that I have some refining to do to my fitness method.

Refine Method 6

Exceed Physical Culture

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I almost didn’t recognize myself, I purposefully and willingly signed up for a Sunday morning workout. I took the Summit Class at Exceed Physical Culture which had us doing 45 second intervals with a ten second rest in between each set. It had been awhile since I had trained like this and I have to say I missed it a bit. I was reunited with my friend the TRX and while I still struggled through each set I was struggling less, hopping off the floor and transitioning between stations easier.

Exceed’s website brags that it was chosen in 2013 by NY Magazine as one of the best gyms in the city and that it was “for deadly serious athletes who like to, you know, sweat.” I am not going to lie this intimidated me a bit. I don’t necessarily like to sweat and I am definitely not a deadly serious athlete. I was however able to do the majority of the exercises and I definitely found myself sweating.

My trainer was Gabe Blanco, who has his own weight loss story, was a patient and motivating instructor. He was very attentive without being over bearing, checking in with me frequently to ensure that I was using the correct form and that my trick knee was holding up to the challenge. Several years ago after graduating from college he found himself overweight and ready to make a change, he started altering his diet and working out and lost 70lbs! Quite an inspiration. He decided he wanted to help other people share in this experience so he became a certified personal trainer. In addition to training at Exceed he also trains clients one-on-one through his personal business Never Stop Improving.

I usually enjoy the end of a class as it signifies the pain is over but this class ended with Gabe standing at the door handing out hugs. If you know me, you will know I am a sucker for a good hug. I left Exceed Physical Culture smiling, having just received an inspirational hug and feeling proud of my accomplishments thus far.

If you are in the NYC area and are looking for a trainer or gym check out Gabe and Exceed Physical Culture.

Gabe Blanco  – gabrielblancofitness@gmail.com or 917-678-2583

Exceed Physical Culture

Gabriel Blanco, Personal Trainer

Exceed 2

Chaise Fitness

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Image taken from www.chaisefitness.com

Workout in a chair? Yes please! This sounded like an easy(ish) workout and since I had been slacking on my workouts a good segue back. Boy was I wrong, this is one tough workout!

Chaise Fitness was founded by Lauren Piskin a competitive figure skater turned certified Pilates instructor and her daughter Rachel Piskin who is a retired professional ballerina. The studio boasts “The Reinvention Method” which combines Pilates, aerobics, strength training and ballet. I am not very seasoned in most of these, having given up on things like aerobics when I fell trying to do a backwards hop onto a step many years ago.

I took two of their classes, the Reinvention Chair and the Bungee Blast. The moves in the first class were easy at the beginning, though, simple use of the suspended arm bands turned to me on all fours with a little tiny ball wedged behind my knee doing leg and glute lifts. Ouch. I am happy to report that I did not fall off the chair or lose my ball, I held on tight. My instructor Rachel, was incredibly down to earth, helpful, encouraging and supportive. I had no idea that she was the co-founder of Chaise Fitness.

The second class, Bungee Blast had us working out on a mat and using the overhead bungees. At first glance I thought this was going to be an easier class but within minutes I was feeling the burn in my hips and my glutes. I thought I was doing it wrong at first because I had never felt such burning in my hips but our instructor Maria graciously moved us on to the next move to give our hips a rest. Maria was also a wonderful instructor, kind, helpful and really encouraging. I found out after the class that she is also a member of the New York Knicks Dance Team as well has danced for musicians such as Rihanna and Pitbull.

To get a better idea of what the workout looks like watch this quick video:  player.vimeo.com/video/73461917

At the end of the video Lauren says that they wanted to create a welcoming and supportive place for people to become their best self. I believe that they have succeeded, from the moment I stepped in to the studio to the moment I left I felt welcomed, supported and never once did I feel any judgement, oh and I had fun too! I hope my remaining fitness experiences in New York are as positive!

Co-Founders Rachel and Lauren Piskin. Image taken from ChaiseFitness.com

Co-Founders Rachel and Lauren Piskin.  Image taken from ChaiseFitness.com

An Introduction: Jason Balajadia

Jason B CollageJason Balajadia/Jason & Sarah after a strenuous workout :)

Preparing to hit the road and blog about my food and fitness challenges couldn’t be done cold turkey.  When a good friend asked me if I would join her in a workout with her trainer my immediate answer was yes, of course, this is what the next few months of my life will need to look like, let’s do this! The confidence I spoke with was in direct conflict to the growing anxiety in my stomach. While I felt confident that I could step up to the challenge I was nervous about working out with someone I didn’t know.  Would he be nice? Would he be open minded and not judge me? Would he accommodate my injuries? The answer to all of those was a resounding YES!

I met Jason and my friend Patti at Bassline Fitness in Kirkland, WA (http://basslinefitness.com/instructors).  He was incredibly friendly and interested in my upcoming trip.  I gave him a quick run down on my hopes and dreams for Losing Weight Off the Interstate and when he replied with enthusiasm and support I felt at ease.

Prior to beginning the warmup Jason took a few moments to chat with me about any issues or injuries that I had. I sadly was dealing with both an ankle and knee issue and he took that into consideration when creating our workout.  There were a lot of similar elements to the workout with Jason and the workouts I had been doing with David Wheeler, at one moment I was even teased for showing off by how I lifted a sand bag into my arms.

During this workout I felt the sweat on my forehead but more importantly I felt pride knowing that I was up for the challenges that would be presented in the upcoming months.

Thank you Jason for taking the time to workout with me and for the support you showed!

Jason Balajadia – http://www.facebook.com/jason.balajadia

An Introduction: Sync Fitness

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I remember the moment when I first decided to try a personal training program; one of my closest friends pressured me to try the “6 Week Total Body Transformation” program being offered by Sync Fitness which was created by Sara Dean, a fellow Zag (Gonzaga University Alumni).   I was hesitant to sign up for many reasons, namely I knew that six weeks would be a tiny pebble in the mountain of rocks that would be my weight loss journey.

This six weeks; however, turned out to be a turning point in my view towards personal training and my body’s capabilities.  I was shocked that I survived and lost fifteen pounds, but more importantly I realized that my body and mind could be pushed to the limits I set for it, survive and even succeed.

The classes at Sync Fitness are hard; there are a lot of blood sweat and tears happening, though I might have been the only one crying.  Sara gives her clients the tools to succeed in a lifestyle change, providing guidance with food and nutrition as well as an adaptable exercise program to all people regardless of fitness level.

When the six weeks were over and we were given an opportunity to sign up for Boot Camp classes, I turned to my friend and told her no way in hell could I ever survive a Boot Camp, she just laughed and told me that is what we had been doing for the past six weeks.  What? I had been fooled!

When I left Sync Fitness I half heard Sara warn us about old habits resurfacing and the slippery slope of weight gain. I brushed it off, I had this, no worries!  That was several years ago and several pounds ago. It turns out it is quite the slippery slope, and once again I should have listened to my trainer.

Sara has been a personal trainer in the Seattle area since 2003 and is the owner of both Sync Fitness and Fit Healthy Moms.  She offers a plethora of classes for all sorts of fitness levels.   Sara’s programs are not just for local Seattleites, there are several programs available online, additionally she has loads of interesting and helpful tips on her websites.

Sync Fitness.www.syncfitness.comsara@syncfitness.com. 206-354-7480

Fit Healthy Moms. www.fithealthymoms.com

I asked Sara the trainer questions and her responses are found below. Additionally you will be able to see a summarized version here:   http://www.haikudeck.com/p/eLdLcl2w38

Q. How long have you been training?

A. 10 years! 

Q. What is your fitness philosophy?

A. I believe in giving people hope and quantifiable results.  Most people who come to me are frustrated and unsure of how to get what they want physically (and sometimes emotionally.)  I teach people exactly what to do to get real, lasting results. 

Q. Why did you become a strength coach?

A. I became a trainer after being overweight my entire childhood and youth.  Finding fitness as an adult helped me feel comfortable in my skin for the first time in my life and I wanted to be able to give that same experience to as many other people as possible.

Q. How do you customize your program to adapt to different fitness levels?

A. In our classes and programs, my trainers and I structure workouts in a way that people can work at their own pace.  Additionally, we teach people how to modify moves and ask for help when needed.  There is no shame in being at a different fitness level than the person next to you.  You both SHOWED UP, therefore you’re both awesome.

Q. What do you do in Seattle to stay in shape outside of the gym?

A. Running on sunny days.  It’s such a treat to put away the rain gear and run in the sun in Seattle! 

Q. What do you do to continue your fitness education?

A. I’m a conference freak and a social media junkie.  So I am constantly learning from my colleagues online and at events.  I have a professional network that expands the globe, allowing me to learn from professionals who do an amazing job changing lives.  This is really fun and exciting for me.

Q. Do you have a success story you are most proud of?

A. I have so many clients who have impressed me over the years.  I have many clients who have done things they never thought possible – losing a ton of weight; running 5Ks, half marathons, marathons; climbing mountains; completing 100 days of Boot Camp or simply becoming a regular exerciser.  I think I’m most proud of my clients who change the way they see themselves as a result of what they have achieved in our programs.  It becomes life changing for them and it is amazing to watch.

Q. What is your favorite workout soundtrack or song?

A. Currently – Fun.  And anything from Bootie Mashups (http://bootiemashup.com/blog/)

Q. What is your most embarrassing gym moment?

A. I don’t embarrass in the gym anymore – I have no shame.  But years ago, the first time I got on a step mill (the rotating stair climbing machine, with actual steps) I thought I’d be tough and make it go really fast.  Once I got it going super fast, I couldn’t reach the buttons to make it stop or slow.  So, I to yell for help and have someone else stop it for me.  It was not pretty or graceful.

Q. Do you have any specials that you offer your new clients?

A. I offer all prospective clients a complimentary trial class.  But more, importantly, we offer all clients, new and old, a comfortable place to come push yourself.  We want folks of all abilities to feel welcome and able to work to the best of their abilities that day.

An Introduction: Wheeler Fitness

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My knees were shaking, my stomach in knots it was finally here, the day I would take my first Wheeler’s Fitness class.  Everyone seemed to be in perfect shape, bounding through the warm up exercises with ease.  I was in the middle of an awkward hamstring stretch that had me looking between my legs at my giant ass in the mirror behind me.  So that is what that looks like. Well, if I had any question of whether I would continue in this class I was staring at my answer, I was sick of walking around with that thing following me everywhere.

I completed the warm up and made it through the entire hour of class without fainting or throwing up, though both threatened several times.

Fast-forward two months to today.  I have worked my way up from the quivering, nervous, self conscious and inflexible person wearing baggy sweat pants and oversized shirts to a quivering (when lifting weights), nervous (that I might miss a class), self conscious (this may always be the case), inflexible (physically not as much) person wearing tight workout clothes with a fitted shirt that still covers the junk in my trunk.

I have never in my life yearned or craved exercise but with my shear determination coupled with the incredible guidance of David Wheeler I am becoming that person.

There was never any reason for me to be nervous or anxious coming into David’s class, he has always been incredibly supportive, encouraging and adaptive, all three very important qualities for me while training. I use to think that because I was so out of shape that I couldn’t participate in classes with people of different fitness levels.  I quickly learned that was not the case and that you should jump in with both feet no matter your fitness level.

It is my intention to ask each trainer that I work with the same set of questions, to get a sense of who they are and their philosophy of training as well as to see how they differ from one another.  I believe there is a lot to learn from these dedicated professionals.  I have listed the Q&A here as well as a link to a summarized version.

Summarized Response to the following questions: http://www.haikudeck.com/p/uivvO9oQ8Z

Q. How long have you been training?

A. I have been training clients for a little over 5 years.

Q. What is your fitness philosophy?

A. My training method focuses on movement patterns, as opposed to body parts.  We live life in a three-dimensional world and what we do in the gym needs to parallel this.

Q. Why did you become a strength coach?

A. I worked corporate America for about ten years and hated my job and who I had become. I wanted to make more of positive impact in the world. I played sports, trained and coached all my life so it felt like a natural fit.

Q. How do you customize your program to adapt to different fitness levels?

A. I primarily use the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) in combination with a few strength and conditioning assessments to create a baseline. From there, I build a program template customized to each client’s needs.

Q. What do you do in Seattle to stay in shape outside of the gym?

A. I love to SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard). It’s the best workout ever!

Q. What do you do to continue your fitness education?

A. I subscribe to coaching websites and blogs, I buy tons of training books, DVD’s, and Magazines. I go to at least two fitness conferences a year. I visit local gyms on a monthly basis to talk shop with the trainers and share ideas. This year I even hired a world famous trainer (Martin Rooney, creator of Training For Warriors) to be my business coach and mentor.

Q. Do you have a success story you are most proud of?

A. All of my clients, past and present, are very special to me and I am so proud of each and every one of them and it would be way too difficult to choose just one.

Q. What is your favorite workout soundtrack or song?

A. Anything 80’s always gets the crowd moving.

Q. What is your most embarrassing gym moment?

A. Last summer I went out for an early morning paddle and then came straight in to teach a class. I didn’t have time to change out of my surf shorts so I just left them on. I dropped down to the floor to demonstrate an exercise and let’s say they saw more than an exercise that day.

Q. Do you have any specials that you offer your new clients?

A. Absolutely, I offer a new client special for both my semi-private and small group training.

If you live in the Seattle area I would highly encourage you to reach out to David to chat about your training needs.

Wheeler Fitness