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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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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Member Spotlight | Let’s HIIT It!

Member Spotlight | Let’s HIIT It!

You’re never too old to HIIT it!

I want to say thank you to Master Trainer Lauren H. at LA Fitness in Tinley Park for working with me over the past year.

I’m 67 years old. I have a history [of] knee issues and a partial knee replacement on my right leg.

After I recovered from my knee surgery, I promised myself to get back in shape, so I joined LA Fitness. I worked with a personal trainer for about four years [and] lost about 60 pounds. Unfortunately, I was upset when I was told my trainer was leaving because we worked together so well!

So, I started working out on my own. I wasn’t pleased with myself and started to have knee problems again. I stopped going to LA for a number of months. I went back to see my doctor and he gave me a cortisone shot and sent me to physical therapy. I started to feel better again.

I started going back to LA Fitness again and was on the search to find a new personal trainer, and that’s when I met Lauren.

Lauren has done a terrific job working with me, she knows my limits on what I can and can’t do and finds alternative exercises. Lauren has gotten my knees back in shape by teaching proper body alignment/exercises to take the pressure off the knees. My flexibility/posture has improved as well!

LA Fitness just recently started High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) classes. I decided to try one class to see if I could survive it. I was amazed [by] how I got through it. So, I signed up! This is the best thing that I could have done for myself. I just completed my 30th HIIT session and moved up to the second level, which is Bronze status. I continue to burn up to 900+ calories per HIIT session and I feel great. I’m so motivated about my results and look forward to the next session. Now I’m trying to watch my calorie intake and add protein to my diet. Lauren suggested an app to track my daily calorie intake.

Lauren is an exceptional trainer, motivator and friend.

Again, I want to thank Lauren for working with me I couldn’t have done it without her.

I’m excited to see what’s in store for 2019.

Let’s HIIT it!


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Member Spotlight | A Father and Son Unstoppable Team

Member Spotlight | A Father and Son Unstoppable Team

My name is Al Allen. The members of my family are the jewels in my crown. My beautiful wife Jude gave me the blessing of two boys; Jacob, 21; and Seth, 14. Since he could barely walk, Seth loved basketball. Even at the age of five, he begged me to teach him and I did, passing on all I learned from my college career. While little league provided highlights and memories when Seth because an eighth grader the competition became more serious. I asked him what he wanted to accomplish his last season of middle school and he said, “Dad, I want to be one of the best players ever to play at my school.” I believed he possessed the ability to attain that ambition.

So, I created a PowerPoint presentation for Seth. The first slide simply consisted of ten words. The next slide listed the goals that he would need to achieve in every game he played in the upcoming season (best shooter, best ballhandler, most athletic player, etc.) The next slide covered the eleven strategies it would take to ascertain those goals. And the next eleven slides itemized five to eleven objective to accomplish those strategies. The season started in three months and the work we committed to seemed daunting. Seth could complete a few of the objectives when he woke up and after finishing his homework. But for most of his training, only one place contained everything we needed to accomplish his vision: LA Fitness.

With all of this in mind, we began our training. LA Fitness became our second home. We trained there three to four times a week, sometimes arriving at six in the morning so we could practice in the gym by ourselves. LA Fitness accommodated [everything we needed]. Seth worked on getting stronger, faster, and quicker. We performed numerous shooting and ballhandling drills. I would play him one on home, mentoring him [on] what he just learned. Then, he would lift weights and complete a plyometrics workout, jumping over boxes and between ropes. Once a week, we would play in a pick-up game at LA Fitness, applying what he learned during the week. We did this for three months. A week before the season began, we played our last pick-up game against college players and adults. One of the adults couldn’t believe how well Seth shot during warm-ups. I told him “you haven’t seen anything yet.” Our team won with [me and Seth] scoring all our team’s points. Of course, it didn’t matter that he scored twenty-four of those points and I scored six. Afterward, I told him “you play the season l.ike you played in that last game, you will become a legend at your school and they will talk about you for years to come. You are ready.”

And ready, he was. He led his team in scoring, rebounding, assists, blocks, and steals. He played every position on the floor. His dexterity and skills made him unstoppable [at times]. His team finished the season tied for first place in their division. He made the All-Conference team. But we both knew even after his astonishing season, to accomplish his mission, his team would need [to] win the city championship. To succeed, his team would need to win five games in a row against the best teams in the city. Before the first game, I told him he may need to make game-winning shots to advance. I asked him about his nerves. I said confidently “Dad, this is what I trained for.” As if I prophesized it, he dominated and made incredible plays in the last moments to win every game including the city championship. His team won it all as the tournament declared Seth the most valuable player of the entire city tournament. Seth’s school won their first city championship in school history. I think I can say that my son accomplished his vision of becoming one of the greatest players ever at his middle school.

That week produced one of the greatest memories for my family. Seth’s team winning the championship took great coaches and teammates. It took his mom taking him to doctor’s appointments for therapy after injuries during the season. It took multiple motivational speeches from his big brother, Jacob. It took my mentorship. It even took his grandmother’s prayers when shooting free-throws in the last minute. But mostly, it took Seth’s talent, hard work, and character. However, none of it would have been possible without LA Fitness. LA Fitness provided all the tools to assist Seth in fulfilling his potential as a middle school basketball player. Ironically, I can’t help but think of a million commercials where actors pretend a product caused an indispensable impact on their lives. But the Allens are not actors. LA Fitness did offer us indispensable service to accomplish a dream of my son’s. These videos and pictures are not manufactured. This story is not scripted. All of it happened. Most importantly, LA Fitness helped a father and son become even closer. And, by the way, LA fitness helped me lose thirty-five pounds in the last year.

Seth accomplished one dream but a lifetime of dreams light his path and he is just getting started. I will say [this] about Seth, you haven’t seen anything yet.

See you at 6:00AM.

Sincerely,

A proud dad of two boys and a proud member of LA Fitness


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