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Interviews: The Life of Fitness Experts [Can’t Miss Tips]

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Tis the season to be jolly. As the holidays and new year approach, we often take time to reflect on those people and things that matter most to us. It’s a time to celebrate. It’s a time to spend with loved ones. It’s a time to make new friendships and to renew old ones. The holidays and pending new year offer us the opportunity both to meditate on past and present blessings and to envision future achievements.

We here at Exercise.com were pleased this year to introduce you to some of our friends and family through the Fitness Experts Hub. We trust that the insight and wisdom that they shared with you have assisted you in pursuit of achieving your fitness goals. These exercise professionals have dedicated their lives to helping others improve their quality of life by giving purpose and direction to healthy living: body, mind, and spirit.

So, if you may have missed one or two of our past interviews, here’s a sampling of your fitness experts have to say.

If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, schedule a demo today.

How did you develop a love of health and fitness?

Yeah. I do believe this is probably very true for many trainers, but my passion for training others kind of organically inspired from the passion of training myself. During the darkest time of my life, fitness was my saving grace. It was my escape, and it really changed me from the inside out. I do just believe that to be able to share that with others now kind of just became my calling in life.
Ally Diamond

COACH AT ORANGETHEORY FITNESS

Actually, my background is—I was the 4’7″, 82-pound freshman in high school. The little guy, the small dude in school. It was kind of one of those things. All I knew was the work ethic. I’m going to—I’ll outwork you in a classroom, I’m going to outwork you on the basketball court, the football field, the tennis court—those are the three sports I kind of grew up playing.

Calvin Richard

OWNER OF VERUS STRENGTH & FITNESS

Like a lot of people, as a teenager, my first foray into exercise was the cheap little weight set in the garage when I was in eighth grade probably. Working out at the Y, and like all the other teenage guys who would do bench press and bicep curls, that kind of thing. Throughout my whole childhood, I was very active in doing different sports. Sort of found my sports niche in martial arts. [First,] through wrestling and later through mixed martial arts.

Colton Tessener

CO-FOUNDER OF ARISE ATHLETICS

Well, I’ve always kind of been into, I guess, healing and helping. I started as an obstetrical nurse about 15 years ago and since then retired from that and was a stay-at-home mom. During that time, I was actively working out, running marathons, putting my body through the gauntlet of stuff that we do.And I ended up with some injuries and it was actually massage therapy combined with some other modalities to include chiropractic that healed me and helped me avoid having to have surgery. And so I thought this is what I want to do. I want to help people the way that it helped me.

Colleen Goethals

OWNER OF HANDS OF TRUTH

My fitness goals started out like self-esteem and confidence and I think just trying to feel better about myself. I was not super athletic growing up, I played some Head League soccer and that type of thing but exercise and fitness wasn’t a cornerstone of my upbringing.Then it was in high school, I got dumped and I wanted more confidence and I started going to the gym on a spare period, and it kind of combined my love of problem-solving and spatial sense and built discipline and it all just clicked and went from there.

Ben Pickard

OWNER OF LEAN STRONG FITNESS

I think it’s something that was instilled in me in a very fun and natural manner from when I was a young girl. I think this radiates on my biography and about me on my website, but my dad is retired from the Marine Corps. He’s a retired strength coach and football coach. And so just from a young girl, we were always really exposed to activity in a fun manner.I quickly just became obsessed with the whole culture of it and even though I’m only in my early thirties, it was still fairly new as a young athlete, a young female athlete for strength conditioning to be a heavy presence in your athletic career. And so I felt really lucky to get exposed to that at a young age just with my dad’s background.

Niccole Hendrickson

OWNER OF PEAK 8 FITNESS

What sports did you play growing up?

Yeah, growing up I played soccer and cheerleading—those were probably my two main sports. In college, I played intramural soccer. But now, I just stick to the gym.

Breanne Celiberti

EDUCATOR AND PERSONAL TRAINER

Badly, yes. I participated poorly in a few sports. I never really did anything very serious. I mean, I played roller hockey, and I kind of played basketball. I probably wasn’t terrible, terrible, but I certainly was by no means a naturally gifted athlete.

Mark Fisher

CEO AND NINJA MASTER OF MARK FISHER FITNESS

No, I am not very coordinated, so I think that’s why I really gravitated towards running because it doesn’t require a lot of hand-eye control. So, nope, I pretty much just run. I do weight lift. I love to weight train, but those would be my two big passions right now.

Pauline Juhle

OWNER OF CRYSTAL COAST WELLNESS & PERFORMANCE

Softball, volleyball, basketball, dance, cheerleading, track—ALL OF IT—but I focused on softball and played at Black Hawk College in Moline, IL. I still play slow-pitch softball and participate in CrossFit competitions to do this day.

Michelle Richards

OWNER CROSSFIT HYDE PARK

Football is pretty much the sport that is my passion. That’s what I grew up playing. Really, I didn’t get a chance to start playing until I was in eighth grade. I grew up in a single parent [home] with five kids. Just couldn’t afford it.Didn’t play an organized sport until eighth grade, which is when I started playing football. Then, through high school, I did wrestling. Played tennis for one year, but got kicked off the tennis team because I went from football to wrestling to tennis. It wasn’t a good combination.I played a little bit of everything. I swam. Like I said, I played tennis. I’ve always been active and try to do different things. Now, I mountain bike and I do jiu-jitsu. I think it’s something that’s important. Sports are important. It breaks down a lot of barriers. It’s always something that I’ve just kind of craved and had to have in my life.

Ron McKeefery

VP OF PERFORMANCE AND EDUCATION FOR PLAE

Absolutely not. I have three sisters, and organized sports weren’t an option for us. I tried to play in school. Got kicked off the volleyball team and the baseball team both when I was super young and never thought of it again.

Victoria Wickett

CO-OWNER OF BOMB FITNESS

Have you used a strength coach or personal trainer?

I actually had, after my youngest child was born, I had a personal trainer and I’d never done personal training before that. And then I started to really think about it.And then, definitely, I had it where I went to for personal training. The owner of that gym (Kathryn Applewhite), I consider to be one of my earlier mentors. And then as I went along, I always sought out people that I thought were really good at what they did, that I really knew what they were talking about and they were able to communicate that and sort of pass on that passion and knowledge and expertise.

Kara Palley

FOUNDER OF KP BASIC TRAINING

I’ve actually never had a coach, a formal one. I’ve had numerous people do one-off assessments and things like that with me. But yeah, I’ve never had a coach long-term.

Sam Spinelli

CO-OWNER CITIZEN ATHLETICS

 For me, aside from playing team sports, I was always very independent. I had no problem being alone. And so most of what I did, whether it was running or exercising or anything pertaining to physical fitness and training, was by myself. I would certainly glean from things like health and wellness magazines or watching things on TV or reading.But I never really had any particular mentor. What I will say in a lighthearted but a genuine way, and you know this well, I grew up, my favorite fictional character of all times is Rocky. And I started watching Rocky early over and over again.So, to be honest, because those movies were so focused on not only the character’s development as a boxer but really his development as someone who conditioned himself very particularly and passionately for every stage and step of his life and journey.

JD Lomanno

FORMER DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE WELLNESS

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Did/Do you have any mentors in the health and fitness profession?

Yeah, I mean there were so many coaches out there. There was so much information to learn. From coaches like Eric CresseyMike BoyleKevin Neeld, Mark Verstegen—all these coaches who, you know, at the time were starting to build up the sports performance industry and those coaches just had a big impact on me.Now, only a couple of them have I personally met, but just trying to learn as much as I can from reading and videos and going to seminars and learning from them. So, you know, those coaches—Mike Robertson—are coaches who I really try to learn from, from a young age and still learn from to this day. Bijresh Patel, who’s a fantastic conditioning coach at Quinnipiac, and at that time, they were the coaches from whom I tried to learn as much as I could and learn from them and develop my own system.

Kevin Miller

DIRECTOR OF SPORTS PERFORMANCE VILLANOVA ATHLETICS

Yeah, I would actually probably lean on the fact that they were just generally sports coaches initially. So going back to when I got to Ohio State as an undergraduate, I started working for the football team and kind of a manager in an intern role. And again, in that position I was exposed to, you know, the impact that guys, like a former football coach Jim Tressel could have or you know, or Darrell Hazell, who would go onto Kent State and obviously to Purdue. Coach Luke Fickell who is at Cincinnati now—and some of the impact that those men were having on other young people. So those were some of my mentors or, at least, people that I would look to in terms of how they kind of conducted themselves in life and then the impact that they were trying to have on others.And then once I got into strength and conditioning, my next stop actually was at the University of Tennessee and I was introduced to Heather Mason down there and one of her assistants by the name of Holly Frantz.Heather and Holly are, to this day, two of my biggest mentors. I am on the phone with them frequently in contact with them pretty regularly and they’re outstanding. And then there are all kinds of people that are connected to them. Again, Clare Quebedeaux, who is now the director at Ohio State and then my boss at Ohio State when I was there, Coach Anthony Glass (Now, he’s the Director of Strength and Conditioning for Olympic Sports at Appalachian State). Those would be some of my mentors.

Tyler Carpenter

HEAD STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING COACH PITT ATHLETICS

The music industry is so apparent here, and I started working out at a personal training gym here. And then I wanted to get back into the sports realm, so I was in a personal training gym, and then I moved into college strength and conditioning, which was the total opposite, but I’ve gotten a lot of mentors through the college strength and conditioning team. They’re just—a college strength coach can be so valuable because the training is so much more dynamic than just personal training. So I did the college strength and conditioning thing for about three and a half years, and I got a lot of great mentors out of that, but a lot of local ones here, but the one I always refer back to is Mike Boyle.

Matt Grimm

OWNER OF SUMNER FITNESS & PERFORMANCE

All my life I was coached, starting at a young age in swimming. So I guess you could say I was coached my entire life. But when I retired from my sport, I did hire a trainer in my early twenties, and he actually became my greatest mentor in the industry.I hired him to train me for two back to back bodybuilding competitions in the bikini division, but what I really got out of it was the man who really redirected my life and helped me completely change it… His name is, my mentor, Matt O’Brien. He’s a health and fitness coach, he’s an author and a nutrition specialist. He’s based in Largo, Florida. He’s helped me so much and definitely inspired me to chase my own dreams in this career. So he’s amazing.

Ally Diamond

COACH AT ORANGETHEORY FITNESS

The way my parents and my grandparents raised me, is they raised me to find mentors. So I was lucky enough to learn that at a very early age. The guy that I hired for my rehab, his name was Joe DeAngelis.At the time, he was Mr. AmericaMr. Universe. He’s passed on now, a few years back. But I learned everything the right way from him. He kept me from going down the wrong path. He ended up being my coach throughout my whole competitive career. Yeah, I just owe everything to him, because he was a very, very smart, educated bodybuilder, not just a garage bodybuilder. He was very educated. I learned quite a bit from him.

John Bezerra

OWNER OF JOHN BEZERRA FITNESS

Sports performance, Gayle Hatch is one that comes to mind. He was an Olympic strengthen conditioning coach back in the ’90s. A lot of his predecessors trained us in Northwestern State. And so, from there, that was one of the big guys that I followed with programming.And then as I became more educated, Mario Jeberaeel was the head strength coach. He’s no longer doing strength conditioning. He’s an offensive line coach at Division II. But he instilled that scientific approach and really allowed me to begin my journey diving into the actual nuts and bolts of sports performance training. And so, that was one.Once you start to research and learning, of course, the Mike Boyle’s always come out. One of my big guys that I like to pull a lot of training tips is Cal Dietz. I do a lot of Triphasic Training. I like to implement that with our athletes. I actually was fortunate to go up and attend his RPR (Reflexive Performance Reset) certification back in January in Minnesota. So, that was a little bit shocking going from South Louisiana to Minnesota in January.

Zachary Case

OWNER OF CASE SPORTS PERFORMANCE

When you’re not coaching/training, what do you do for fun?

Another good question there. I do like sports a lot. I watch a lot of sports. My fantasy football team’s not doing well this year, so it’s kind of a bummer. But also, I’m really close to—my family and friends like to have some cabin weekends here in Minnesota, like to get together for birthdays, holidays, and things of that nature. So I spent a lot of time with my close family and friends, but definitely try to keep sports as part that as much as possible too.

Tom Broback

CO-FOUNDER OF BOLD BASE PERFORMANCE

What else do I do for fun? Well, I’ve got a three-year-old and a one-year-old at home, so that keeps me pretty damn busy. Running around with them is probably how I spend a good chunk of my time. Truly, I love running around the backyard with them and it’s one of the most fun things I can do in my life for now and look forward to…I don’t consider myself a runner. But I do enjoy running a little bit. I try and get one or two runs in per week. Not with any specific mileage objective, but I just really enjoy the headspace it puts me in to go out there and run. And also to challenge myself.

Haylin Alpert

FOUNDER OF CORE PRINCIPLES PERSONAL TRAINING

I love playing with my kids and then I’ll craft. I like knitting, which is the really complete opposite of running, but it’s very nice. So, I’m usually doing one of those two things or at the same time when I get home, but my family is really important to me.

Jayme Limbaugh

CO-OWNER OF CRYSTAL COAST WELLNESS & PERFORMANCE

I’ve got a five-year-old kiddie that takes up some of my time. I still play football. I like to watch football, particularly when the English season starts. I watch a lot of football. I like to go out to dinner with my wife and just chill out, really. Go and have a couple of beers, have some folk over, take my kid out. I just took my kid out to dinner today. I tend to—and you know maybe I’ll read books. Read books and listen to music, I would say generally are my main spare time things.

Chas Cook

ATHLETIC TRAINER AND ENTREPRENUER

Yeah, this is something I push my clients a lot into because one of my first questions is like, what do you do for fun? I think it’s super important that people are doing that. Now granted, I love learning. I love the business side, so I consider that fun.But I think there’s also good to do things outside of that so you can have that balance. Really, I go to jujitsu classes a couple of times a week. I like to go shooting guns. I go to yoga. I’ll do Acroyoga if you’re familiar with that. I’m big into like a handstand and gymnastic practice now.You know, what I consider like really good, fun activities are, when you’re doing them, you’re not thinking about other things. And so, almost all those activities I listed off, when I’m doing, I am fully present and so that just gives me the break from the work or any kind of life stressors or anything like that. So I really push a lot of people to find stuff like that.

Scott Schutte

CO-OWNER OF COLUMBIA STRENGTH & CONDITIONING

I’m a musician. That was my first love. I’m a trumpet player, and I play in a ten-piece party band called TRAINWRECK here in Toronto. It is more fun than any adult should be able to have.

Victoria Wickett

CO-OWNER OF BOMB FITNESS

We hope that you have enjoyed learning some of the backstories and histories of some of the fitness professionals featured on Exercise.com. Though they all have different upbringings and experiences, they all share a passion for promoting healthy living and exercise. They have devoted themselves to educating and empowering others through exercise.

For a healthy lifestyle is the gift that is fit for every occasion. If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, schedule a demo today.





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