Meet Shontelle Shelton of Team USA Women’s Football

Meet Shontelle Shelton of Team USA Women’s Football

“If I had any advice to give it would be to, live loud and have fun while doing it!”

Shontelle Shelton

LA Fitness Member

I grew up in a household where my family was involved in sports year-round and my mother was my basketball and softball coach while growing up. So as the “coach’s kid”, there were already high expectations, and I did whatever I could to meet or exceed those expectations in sports and in school.

The most dominant sport in my youth was always basketball. Never in a million years did I think I’d be playing women’s tackle football on an international stage, especially in my 40’s. I’ve been playing full contact football for a total of 13 seasons. I currently play defensive end and quarterback for The Toledo Reign located in Toledo, Ohio, which is a part of the Women’s Football Alliance. Currently, there 60+ teams located in the United States in the WFA.

In the fall of 2018, I was selected to play on the East All-Star team in the Las Vegas Hall of Fame Game. Also, I was selected to play for American Football Events USA All-Star team to play in their first-ever women’s Mayan Cancun Bowl against Mexico’s Women All-Star team (Guerreras Jaguars) which took place on March 9, 2019, in Cancun, Mexico. Out of the 400+ women to submit to play for Team USA, only 40 were selected. It wasn’t just exciting to be selected to be one of the first to play for Team USA, but an honor to be selected to represent my country on the football field as a football player and as an Air Force veteran.

One of the most amazing aspects of this team was that 40 strangers came together from different backgrounds, ages, and religions with no egos and with 1 mission, and that was TOGETHER. We put our all on the field and walked away with a victory. And that mission was complete with a 48 to 12 victory! Today those strangers are considered my family.

When it comes to fitness and football; football can be a demanding sport and very hard on the body. I typically work out about 3 to 4 days a week which includes football practice. A lot of my training involves cardio, HIIT, and weight training. During the off-season, I like to hit weights hard. But during the regular season, I don’t hit weights too hard because my body needs to recover from my gameday battles on the field. I believe that in any level of sports, ensuring that you’re healthy and in good shape is key to a successful season.

My training for Team USA involved preparing for a game that would be in hot and humid conditions, unlike preparing for my regular season with Toledo Reign which has typically colder and milder weather due to our season beginning in the spring. I approached my cardio regiment a little different and ensured that I began hydrating weeks before playing in Mexico heat.

I began working at LA Fitness as a personal trainer. During that time, I developed many friendships with coworkers who were also trainers and we would pick each other’s brains about training tips and advice.

During my 2018 season, I had surgery to repair my bicep tendon that I ruptured in a football game. The hard part of being an athlete is not just watching from the sidelines but hearing that you may not never play or do something you love again. My coworker Leo (who is also a personal trainer) at the Warren, MI location was very instrumental in helping me to strengthen my arm back. What my surgeon predicted would take more than 10 months to heal, I was able to get back in 6 months. I was able to play in the Hall of Fame game in Vegas 5 months post-op and for Team USA 8 months post-op.

If I had any advice to give it would be to live loud and have fun while doing it!

Additional team info can be found at:

YouTube link for USA vs. Mexico Women’s football:  https://youtu.be/rNxilgdSQ0M

Thee Toledo Reign: http://theetoledoreign.blogspot.com/

  • Coach Mitchi (419)654-2719

Follow Shontelle on Instagram: @CityLeague_Legend 


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Instructor Spotlight | Celebrating 19 Years in the Fitness Industry

Instructor Spotlight | Celebrating 19 Years in the Fitness Industry

“As a former overweight guy, my weight will always be a struggle. I consistently work on my diet and find ways to shock my body.”

Wes F.

Group Fitness Instructor, LA Fitness

Prior to entering the gym, I used to weigh 350 lbs. with a 52-inch waist. My mother and I made a commitment to change and reinvent ourselves every year. I got earrings, tattoos, and new haircuts. Finally, I decided to lose weight.

I was a treadmill and weights guy until I saw a guy teaching a step class. People were piling into the aerobic room just to take his class. I finally got the nerve to try it for the first time. It was the most exhausting thing I had ever done.

I continued to take classes and followed my favorite instructor around town. One day after class, he looked at me and said, “You should start teaching.” At this time, I was down to 280 lbs. and laughed off the idea. I thought people would think that I’m too big to teach classes.

He said, “Wesley, you got it. Don’t worry about the weight, it will continue to come off.” So, I went and got certified through AFAA.  My first class was February 1, 2000.  I am now celebrating 19 years in the Fitness Industry.

Throughout my tenure in teaching, I got certified in over 25 formats, became a certified personal trainer, danced for a ballet company, and became a Master Instructor for several formats. I teach at fundraisers, charities, competitions, and fitness conferences.

As a former overweight guy, my weight will always be a struggle. I consistently work on my diet and find ways to shock my body. Looking at old pictures of myself compared to where I am now, I see miles of maturity and shrinkage. Starting from overweight and untoned to fit and muscular.

As a fitness professional, I tell all my students that Group Fitness classes are just a part of the solution.  Your effort to maintain a steady diet must match the effort you make to attend class, using the LA Fitness quote, “You can’t out train a bad diet.”

For some, teaching Group Fitness classes is easy and simple. However, they underestimate the amount of work it takes to prep for class, keep your class current, and always have the energy to be exciting and motivating.

In my 19 years, I have learned it has to be more than just class. It is about the experience. With that, I stress form and technique, stamina and energy in my classes, while providing the best music and variety of exercise.

For all of my peer instructors, personality and education is everything. If you are not engaging and knowledgeable about teaching, then your class will be bored and lack trust in you.

Classes Taught:

At LA Fitness, I teach Step, Kickboxing, Body Works, Power Circuit, Yoga, Pilates, Aqua Fit, Cardio Jam, Boot Camp, and Cycle.

Current Fitness Goals:

I have become even more focused on my weight training and stretching. I want men and women to see the most successful athletes are people with an equal balance of strength, endurance, and flexibility.

Some slight adjustments may have been made for grammar and/or clarity. 


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Member Spotlight | Having a Ball On and Off the Court

Member Spotlight | Having a Ball On and Off the Court

APPLE VALLEY, Minn. — For the past three decades, Jerry and Marilyn Hoagland have been playing racquetball together.

“Sometimes we get on the court when we haven’t been having a very good time at home,” Marilyn said. “Then we get here, and it’s all gone.”

Every Tuesday night, you can find the pair at the LA Fitness in Apple Valley, a place where they have become revered.

“They’re inspiring,” LA Fitness racquetball coordinator Scott Rosenburg said. “They run hard every single Tuesday.”

At 88 and 87 years young, the Hoaglands haven’t shown any signs of slowing down.

“I wanted to play until I was 100,” Jerry said. “Maybe I will.”

When Jerry and Marilyn aren’t facing each other, you can find them beating opponents more than half of their age.

“Guys don’t like to be beat by an old lady,” Marilyn said.

It started just for fun, but it’s now become a necessity for this couple of 58 years.

“It’s a lifesaver for me right now,” Marilyn said. “This is what keeps me alive. The exercise and doing it on a regular basis.”

But it’s more than just exercise or even fun for that matter.

Racquetball for the Hoaglands, is proof that couples who play together really do stay together.

“We shake hands afterward,” Jerry said. “Sometimes she doesn’t shake my hand, but usually she does.”

Reposted with permission by KARE 11 NBC. Original story written by Ryan Shaver. 


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What is ALS and Could It Affect You?

What is ALS and Could It Affect You?

When you think fitness, what comes to mind? Toned muscles, flat abs, strong and trendy fitness influencers? Chances are that your mind doesn’t think of progressive muscle weakness, but that’s exactly what former fitness industry leader Augie Nieto experienced when he was diagnosed with the crippling disease ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), otherwise referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Photographed: Lynne and Augie 

Photographed: Matt Bellina and Team

But what is ALS and who does ALS affect?  

“ALS is a disorder that affects the function of nerves and muscles”1. One of the mysterious things about this disease is that researchers don’t yet know what causes it, but they do have some insight on those most heavily afflicted by the disease.

Per the ALS Association, Massachusetts Chapter –

Most people who develop ALS are between the ages of 40 and 70, with an average age of 55 at the time of diagnosis. However, cases of the disease do occur in persons in their twenties and thirties. Generally, ALS occurs in greater percentages as men and women grow older. ALS is 20% more common in men than in women. However, with increasing age, the incidence of ALS is more equal between men and women.2

While an exact cause has not yet been discovered, “it is known […] that military veterans, particularly those deployed during the Gulf War, are approximately twice as likely to develop ALS.”3

One fortunate thing about this disease is that it is not contagious. However, that doesn’t help ease the minds of friends and families whose loved ones struggle with this deliberating condition.

Fifteen new cases are recorded each day4, estimating that as many as 20,000 Americans have the disease at any given time. The onset of ALS symptoms can be as common as muscle weakness or stiffness. Once the disease progresses, however, “vital functions such as speech, swallowing and later breathing”5 are lost.

There is currently no cure for ALS.

In 1995, the FDA approved a drug known as Riluzole. This drug has scientifically shown “to prolong the life of persons with ALS by at least a few months.”6

Each year, LA Fitness partners with Augie’s Quest, founded by Life Fitness leader, Augie Nieto. His foundation raises money to help fund ALS research. It’s his mission to one day find a cure for this horrible disease.

If you would like to learn more about how you can donate, please visit www.lafitnesscares.com.

For more information on ALS, click here and here.

Photographed: Collin Hadley and family 

Photographed: Andrea Lytle Peet 

Sources:

  1. “Who Gets ALS?” org, webma.alsa.org/site/PageServer/?pagename=MA_1_WhoGets.html.
  2. Ibid
  3. Ibid
  4. Ibid
  5. Ibid
  6. Ibid

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Member Spotlight | Devin Ryan: My Journey in Fitness

Member Spotlight | Devin Ryan: My Journey in Fitness

Fitness was indoctrinated very early on in my life. Healthy competition and athleticism began with seasons of tee-ball, basketball summer camps, and track and field in high school, supplemented by dance on the offseason. With a buzzing household of four active boys and my bountiful curious female presence, my parents always encouraged us to “go outside and play.” My household was never not moving!

My earliest (and perhaps fondest) memory of fitness was watching my mother every day after school. She hastily preheated the oven before going to her bedroom as she got us settled into our school work. There, she removed her tailored office clothes, kicked off her favorite black patent-leather “cockroach-killer” heels and traded them for one of my dad’s t-shirts and her favorite spandex biker shorts. With her work files piled high on the kitchen counter, she threw some pasta sauce on the stove with a heaping amount of fresh and dry herbs simmering over low heat for that evening’s dinner. At exactly 3:30 pm every afternoon, she popped in her early 90s aerobics VHS tape and jumped right into her enthusiastic stepping. I marveled at the overly-animated, permed out fitness instructor sporting spandex and white ankle socks motivating my super-hero of a mom to “go for another 30 seconds more” as she panted between incoming house calls and me racing my sibling’s toy-cars by her feet.

This image of my multi-faceted mother trying to balance work, family, and self-care is forever engraved in my mind. I understand now why it was necessary for my mother to commit to fitness. To my mother, fitness was loving herself and caring about how she felt regardless of the external demands life asked of her to fulfill. To this day, I credit my mother for not only being an example for healthy living but continuing it as a practice today. She was, after all, the person I went to get a gym membership with. We worked out together, supported each other, and reminded one another (while thrift shopping) that the number on the tag of that dress is not as important as the way you feel in it.


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