ALEX

Bright, mature, motivated, and hard working, Alex comes to class ready to put in the work . . .
and a willingness to share humorous high school tales.

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Over the course of nine months, Alex has become a stronger and more capable athlete. He has doubled his plank hold time, improved his squat form, increased his bench press weight, beat his row times, and learned to deadlift, clean, clean & jerk, and snatch with a barbell. The two movements he has made the most gains with are his: box jump (from 30" to 42"); and his kipping pull-ups (from 0 to 25 unbroken).

A senior next year, here's my Q&A with Alex:

Q: What's your favorite subject? What do you like about it?
A: AP European History.  It is a small class about a subject I find quite interesting.

Q: What’s your least favorite subject? What don’t you like about it?  
A: Physics. It isn’t challenging.

Q: If you gained superhero powers, what would they be…and how could you use them to make your life, those around you, or the world better?
A: I would want to be the Sandman so everyone would get a good night’s sleep.

Q: If you had a money tree and enough rain and sun to keep it healthy, how would you spend it?  
A: I would burn it down because it would cause extreme inflation.  (Do you know what happened to Germany in the 1920’s)

Q: Provided all opportunities possible, what’s your ideal adult career?  
A: Diplomat to Switzerland (chocolate and a relaxing life)

Q: Since beginning our teens fitness classes, what do you feel best about?
A: Pull ups

Q: What keeps you wanting to come to class again and again?
A: I want to be more fit.

Q: What’s your current skill goal that you want to achieve?  
A: I want to improve my bench weight.

Q: If a friend was considering taking Teens on the Move, why would you recommend they join?  
A: It is small so it is personalized.


Nice work Alex. Keep showing up . . . and you'll continue to make gains.

-Coach Rebecca

OUR GYM

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” -Albert Einstein

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Nine months ago, we bought 2400 pounds of horse stall mats for $800, $10 of pvc pipe, sourced a $5 white board, dusted off some old dumbbells, and started running classes and personal training. The flooring was a priority . . . as it would set the stage for everything to come.

Over the course of those 36 weeks, through the help of a handful of children and adults, this space has evolved from those bare boned early days to a fully functional and well-equipped gym. And although there will be more purchases at some point, currently we want for nothing.

We have:

  • a rower
  • an air dyne bike
  • dumbbells from 1-lb through 35-lbs
  • kettlebells ranging from 9-lbs through 53-lbs
  • AbMats for situps
  • insulation for the cold months
  • medicine balls between 4-lbs and 18-lbs
  • jump ropes
  • gymnastic rings
  • climbing rope to 10'
  • pull-up stations
  • squat racks
  • barbells and plates up to 205-lbs
  • and enough cones and dodge balls to allow for endless varieties of kids games

 

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Yet this space doesn't exist on its own, as if detached from the world.

Instead this garage gym has continually adapted to some need. It started with the kids classes, so very little equipment was necessary. As our personal training clients increased, a rowing machine became important. Our latest addition of a rig with improved squat racks and varied heights of bars was in response to wanting something more robust as well as to accommodate taller clients in our pull-up clinic.

Our mission is to improve the health of all generations through common sense fitness . . . in a safe, supportive, and non-threatening environment. And to this end, our space will continue to adapt to the needs of those who walk through our doors.

With my deepest appreciation to all of you who have helped make our gym what it is today . . . 

Cheers!

- Coach Rebecca

LUCY

There's a magical age . . . one where fun, in its purest form, is the aim. Lucy is this age. Although she doesn't always want to go along with what I've planned, as long as I have my A-game on as a coach, she's right there . . . balancing getting stronger with having fun.

Oh, the celebration when Lucy got her first rope climb!!!

Oh, the celebration when Lucy got her first rope climb!!!

After being with us for over seven months, Lucy has come a long way. Initially shying away from all things resembling work, she will now get the workout done . . . knowing the game is not too far behind.

Here's my Q&A with this fun spirited 7-1/2 year old, second grader:

Q: What's your favorite subject? What do you like about it?
A: Art because you get to draw whatever you like. 

Q: What’s your least favorite subject? What don’t you like about it?
A: Math, because it’s boring. 

Q: If you gained superhero powers, what would they be…and how could you use them to make your life, those around you, or the world better?
A: To fly and get lost balloons that fly away. That would make this kids happy and not make the birds choke. 

Q: If you had a money tree and enough rain and sun to keep it healthy, how would you spend it?
A: Send some of it to the poor and buy things for the poor. And maybe one thing for me. 

Q: Provided all opportunities possible, what’s your ideal adult career?
A: Teaching 2nd grade. 

Q: Since beginning our kids fitness classes, what do you feel best about?
A: The paleo sit challenge because I like it!

Q: What keeps you wanting to come to class again and again?
A: 1. to get stronger; 2. to have fun

Q: What’s your current skill goal that you want to achieve?
A: To get faster. 

Q: If a friend was considering taking Kids in Motion, Kids Unplugged or Teens on the Move, why would you recommend they join?
A: You can get stronger if you come to class. 


Always a joy to have in class, it is my pleasure to watch you improve, Lucy!

-Coach Rebecca

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MIKE

Wild at heart . . . and relentless in spirit . . . Mike has an unstoppable energy that is infectious and a draw to anyone in his radius.

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Born in Germany and raised in Australia, Mike recalls a childhood filled with activity and adventure. In the bush of his hometown, Moe, he collected snakes in his pockets and was surrounded by koalas in the eucalyptus trees. Yet, besides some pickup rugby games, his only memory of organized sport was from after he moved to America . . . when he won an intramural volleyball tournament at his high school alma mater, Lane Tech, in Chicago.

Instead, his late grade school and high school years were spent working in a neighborhood pharmacy where he made daily home deliveries and dispensed medication to the customers. He marvels at the responsibility he was granted at the age of 15 to open up on Sundays and manage all the medication sales for three hours before the owner arrived.

And although his formal fitness training didn't begin until three months ago, he has lived an active on-the-go life of tending to his garden and keeping up with his sales accounts. In fact, at a time when sales relationships were more fluid, there was a ten year time span in the 80s and 90s when he would visit his buyers on the large Hoffman Estates Sears campus three times per week . . . with a lanyard i.d. as his key . . . amassing hundreds of thousands of steps in the process.

Now, however, he is highly appreciative of the twice weekly routine of personal training. Besides the benefit of having a regimen and routine (rare occurrences among work demands), he likes being accountable to a coach who makes sure he gets in his workouts. As a result, he doesn't feel as sluggish, can see improved strength and fitness, and is happy with the direction he's heading.

With an easy laugh and a propensity towards jokes, Mike makes his training sessions feel like a breeze. Yet as is evident from his rowing, plank, and push-up improvements, he's making his time count.

Keep killing it Mike. You'll get your pull-up yet.

-Coach Rebecca

KATHY

Meet Kathy . . . one of our beloved 2nd Wind participants.
When I asked her about her exercise history, her exact words: "I am the poster child for inactivity".
Yet, what I see is a dedicated member of our group who comes rain or shine. In fact, I can always count on seeing Kathy in class . . . with her lovely smile and willingness to work hard.

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With humor, she recalls a childhood of only exercising when required for P.E. In fact, at the end of her high school senior year, her gym teacher took it upon himself to throw her gym shoes into the garbage. And she never bought another pair . . . until . . . .

It was 15 years ago when she was sat down by her doctor for a stern discussion. She had been taking care of her parents, whose health had been declining, and her stress and health were taking a toll. Between her weight gain, high blood pressure, and low bone density, her doctor told her that she needed to do two things:

  1. Start to exercise ("you don't have any gym shoes? go buy a pair")
  2. Do something for yourself (now she designs and creates cards to sell at craft fairs).

Soon after that, she joined Curves for women where she met one of her closest friends (Rhonda). For 3-5 days per week, at 1/2 hour per session, she has been a dedicated member for 15 years. The benefits besides the camaraderie have been increased flexibility and not losing any more bone density.

When her friend Rhonda decided to join our 2nd Wind class, she came along to check it out. Now a member for nearly six months, she has enjoyed having an additional way to get moving and build strength. 

In fact, she can now do sit-ups and planks . . . two skills she never would have even considered trying beforehand.

What she also appreciates about our class, in addition to the fun atmosphere of good humored jabs and winks, are that:

  • we work around her physical limitations (such as modifying squats so that her knees don't hurt)
  • she can ask questions from a knowledgable coach
  • she knows her form will be corrected if she's doing something wrong

Maybe fitness wasn't her favorite past time as a child, but with a good enough reason to care for herself, Kathy now has two supportive, fun, and productive environments to keep her doctor at bay, her health in check, and motivation enough to keep moving.

Nice work Kathy! 

-Coach Rebecca

SUSAN

Without hesitation, when I asked what scenery Susan would like to replace a photo of her, she spoke of the ocean. A passionate and sensitive person, her facial muscles relaxed as a smile appeared in showing me the video below from a vacation she'd taken with her husband.

Artist Dwayne Schmidt  islandsartstore.com

Artist Dwayne Schmidt islandsartstore.com

After a childhood of positive associations with being active: bike riding, roller skating, soccer, and jumping rope . . . she had to set that part of herself aside in her early adult years. With little warning, she found herself in a survival free fall. Her growing discomfort from a very unhealthy relationship spun her into low self-esteem and high anxiety. She learned to ask for nothing as a way to appease and modulate this abusive relationship. Fortunately, she had the wisdom and courage to extricate herself from that relationship. Yet healing takes time.

Now in a healthy relationship with her current husband, she has spent the past seven years processing, reframing, and growing out of that phase of her life defined by self-neglect and pain. Now she is supported in her strength so that she can actually consider doing the extra stuff for herself. 

Although personal training was a possibility in the general sense, it wasn't until she found out about our garage gym studio that she realized it would be the perfect opportunity to get in shape while having the benefit of an extra set of eyes to check her positioning and form. But what really made it doable was in learning that we embrace people dealing with emotional sensitivities. She told herself at that moment: "That's my tribe!" Since beginning her training two months ago, Susan is already on her way to achieving her goals of increased strength and flexibility.

As to her experience so far, what makes our studio different . . . in her words: "You're a specialist. I'm sure you could train anyone . . . yet, you factor in the emotional component. You understand that you can't separate the mind and body. I knew right away that we'd connect". 

Susan . . . your gentle and kind strength coupled with your anxiety and struggle are like the tide . . . beautiful complexity built around patterns.  I look forward to seeing your personal, emotional, and physical expansion as the depth of your power is developed and celebrated.

- Coach Rebecca

RHONDA AND DON

To bottle up and distribute the energy and positive attitude of this amazing couple, would yield a happier and healthier world. 

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Whether jet-set to watch a set of grandkids, volunteer ski patrol in the Rockies, or simply enjoy a family vacation, Rhonda and Don are always moving towards their next adventure. It must then be for the love of life that they still manage to fit in exercise and healthy eating.

Don's only formal exercise experience was an Army Bootcamp in 1966. Otherwise, in addition to skiing, he and Rhonda enjoy walking, hiking, and biking.

In Rhonda's case, she fell in love with the community and structure of Curve's Fitness Center, and has been a committed member for over 16-years.

As parishioners of St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Glen Ellyn, where the classes are held, they learned about 2nd Wind through the church bulletin. Their interest piqued, they've been dedicated members ever since . . . especially enjoying the convenience of location and time. In fact as long as they're in town, I can count on seeing them at class 2x/week.

The benefits they note from their regular attendance include improved form in doing household/yard tasks, as well as feeling better in the squat position when skiing down the powdery slopes. Don has also improved his flexibility with "no pain but lots of gain!"

I asked them what they like about the 2nd Wind class:
 

"Number one, we are still going. Always stimulating, never boring, not repetitive in always doing the same things."
 

"No frills down to business workout. Yet coaching to correct you to get the most benefit out of the exercise."
 

"Friendly, encouraging exercise no matter what your fitness or mobility level is. Makes you want to do your best."
 

Keeping the bar high for all the participants, Don and Rhonda take full advantage of every class to get the best workout possible.

Many thanks to both of you for setting such inspiring examples of health and wellness while enjoying the journey!

-Coach Rebecca

ANNE

If anyone can pull off being skeptical, quick to laugh, and open all in one . . . it's Anne.

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After hearing about our 2nd Wind class from our church's announcements, Anne signed right up. Why? . . . to build strength . . . or, rather, to get it back. The fact that she'd please her kids was just a bonus.

She started day one knowing that it wouldn't get her back to "100 years ago", but hoped that it would at least keep her from the couch potato habits sneaking into her life. In her words, "that's not my style."

She walked into class in the second week with an observation: "After last week's class, I felt something in my legs. Then I realized, those are my thighs! I haven't felt those in a really long time."

It had been a 1-2x/week dedication over four months that culminated in a recent outing to Chicago. It was this day voyage that really impressed on her how far she'd come. She had looked for a park district outing to see the Phantom at the Cadillac Theater . . . to no avail. She decided to not let it stop her. Instead, she bought herself a ticket to the show, got on the train the next day, and headed down to the big city . . . fearless. She got onto and off of the train with minimal help, and walked to and from the theater with zero physical assistance. In fact, she was only offered help on two occasions, when she was a bit lost. But with simple instructions, she was back on her way.

For those of you who know the Cadillac Theater (or most any old-time theater in Chicago), the bathrooms are few, poorly located, and small. The show had ended, she was ready to head back to the train station, but nature called. She looked down the stairs to the nearest bathrooms, and told herself that she wasn't going to let some stairs get in the way of using the restrooms. 18-steps down and then back up again . . . executed proficiently without misstepping or having to stop to catch her breath.

It is a victorious day like that . . . feeling the power of her stride and game-changing confidence . . . that make all her hard work worthwhile.  Add to it that she can now kneel down to get something off the bottom shelf and be able to stand back up without the assistance of a nearby chair . . . and she is winning at her life.

In Anne's words, she "highly recommends the strengthening from class . . . even though it doesn't look like we're doing anything. In fact, most days, it doesn't even feel like we're doing much. But I always feel it the next day."

Truth. We do spend a lot of time talking and laughing. And put all together, we probably only get in a full 25 minutes of movement (only 7 minutes of which make us break a sweat). But it is an efficient and effective 25 minutes.

Awesome job Anne. Your success is commendable and inspiring. Blessings to your hard work!

-Coach Rebecca