Your Story Is Everyone's Inspiration!
2.4, 112 and 26.2. Those three numbers had been in my head since September 10th, 2012. Obviously they are not the winning numbers to a massive Mega Bucks drawing, but they were extremely important to my year that was in front of me. The 2.4 represented the miles I would have to swim. The 112 represented the miles I would have to pedal on the bike and the 26.2 represented the full marathon I would have to run after the swim and bike. These distances represent a full Ironman triathlon, what some consider the most grueling and challenging one-day athletic endeavor one can undertake. On September 8th at 6:45pm in Madison, Wisconsin those numbers became a reality to me. That is 140.6 miles in 11:45:46.
Like a lot of people, I had always been captivated by the Hawaiin Ironman race which I saw on TV each year. While some people wonder "why would someone want to do that," mine was always "could I do that?" So at the age of 45 I started my triathlon voyage with a conversation with former Razor Sharp trainer Alan Fenske. I knew Alan had finished an Ironman that year and would be a good resource to get me started.
Alan first advised me to take the Razor Sharp Masters Swim class to learn how to swim. While I was a good enough swimmer to avoid drowning, I really had no idea how to really swim. With the help and patience of Masters Swim coach Kelly Steenrod, I went from survival swimming 100 yards, to swimming almost 5200 yards (3miles) during single a training session. While I'm no Michael Phelps, the Masters Swim class and Kelly turned the discipline I feared the most, into the one I enjoy the most!
While running was my strongest discipline, my cycling also needed work. Ben Oksuita at Racine Cyclery helped me pick out and fit me with a bike for suitable triathlon. Riding a road bike was completely different then the range of bikes I had been exposed to before. With advice and guidance from Alan and Ben, I turned a slow 16 mph into an average of 21 mph during the 2013 Racine 70.3 Half Ironman within a year.
While triathlon is an individual sport, the 36 week training program was highlighted by the relationships formed with fellow Razor members Cindy Mikuleky, Elaine Linn, Lila Bannister, Sandy Spielmann, Pam Petersen and Lisa Neubauer. We have formed great friendships that support each other in the sport of triathlon. If anyone wants to give triathlon a try, we are always looking for new members to join us!
~ By Jeff Shawhan
At the beginning of this year I had reached an all-time high for my weight. I was 189.6lbs and was pushing 200lbs. That literally scared me, and I knew I had to start doing something. I began coming to the gym more often and started doing a lot of cardio and spin classes. I changed my eating habits a little bit, but was still allowing the bad food to come in. What really got me motivated was a friend of mine who had lost over 90lbs by changing her diet with the help of the Medical Weight Loss and Wellness Clinic. When I made the decision to sign up for the program myself, my friend and I would send each other texts to help keep us motivated to continue on and to keep moving forward.
To date, I have lost 41.6lbs, and have another 8 pounds to shred. Although the weight loss program helped me lose the weight, Razor Sharp helped me pull it all back in! I learned early on that doing cardio burned fat for only 2-4 hours after your workout, whereas weight training burned calories for 24-48 hours afterwards! From that point on I have done little to no cardio. I began lifting weights and started seeing the results. After working out with a friend, he told me that I wasn't maximizing my gym time, so again I made more adjustments. I'm now stronger and have increased my weight by 15lbs on each exercise, and I know that each time I go into the gym I'm now maximizing my workout time.
I currently work out approximately 5 times a week, depending on my schedule and I'm at Razor Sharp for no more than one hour. I target legs twice a week, and do biceps, triceps, shoulders and back. I also try every day to add in some abdominal exercises as well. I have subscribed to fitness magazines and look at their exercises to get new ideas and to "confuse" my body so it continues to adapt, overcome, and change.
Thank you to Kristy Walls for supporting me and nominating me for "The Member of the Month" and thank you to Razor Sharp Fitness as well!
By Kate Schaper
So I suppose someone "nominated" me to be the member of the month -- which surprised me! I don't see the results that much by the numbers on my scale- but I do know that I had to buy an entire new summer wardrobe because my clothes from last year were all too big. Needless to say, Goodwill recently received a generous clothing donation from me! I also know that I've been asked by people who I haven't seen in a few months if I lost weight, and that is definitely inspirational in itself!
I currently attend Yoga, Pilates and Stability Ball classes at Razor Sharp three days a week. I also participate in Zumba classes whenever I can at Razor Sharp as well as various locations around the city (wherever the class coordinates with my schedule). On average, I exercise six days a week for only one hour at a time. I also try to watch what I eat within reason, not too strict of a diet regimen, and take daily vitamins and supplements which I believe aid me with my food intake!
I am down 25 pounds from my all-time highest weight which was a couple years ago. I still want to lose an additional 20 pounds though, so I realize that I still have a ways to go. It may take me another year at the rate I am going- but that is my goal! Again, much thanks to the person that nominated me! I appreciate and would thank you in person if I knew who you were!
By Suanne Hutchinson
I am 51 years old and have been a member of Razor Sharp since 2009. I have been involved in fitness for most of my life. In my High school years I was a competitive gymnast. When that outlet was no longer available to me I needed something to allow my competitive juices to flow. Bodybuilding looked intriguing so I tried it and was hooked from the onset. Competing in various bodybuilding contests throughout the late 80's into the early 90's I had varying success. Placements including 1st place 1989 Middleweight Natural Central Wisconsin and culminating in 1st place Medium Tall class at the 1991 Natural Wisconsin.
Then came a family and I wanted to focus my energy on them. I decided to begin coaching gymnastics again. This allowed me to stay in shape while also spending time with my two daughters, who were competitive gymnasts.
In August of 2008, while coaching tumbling to the Park Cheerleading squad, I suffered a complete rupture of my left patellar ligament (below the knee), leaving my knee cap residing in the middle of my thigh. While recovering from this injury, my weight ballooned up to 227 lbs. After battling with the often painful rehabilitation for several years and unsuccessfully trying to lose weight (only 7 lbs. in 4 years), I decided I needed to do something drastic. A year ago, I went to see one of Razor Sharp's Trainers, Jeremiah, compete in a physique competition and it got me thinking that I would like to return to the competitive world of bodybuilding. So needing something drastic, I made up my mind and set the goal to compete in the 2013 Natural Wisconsin Bodybuilding Championships in April.
I knew this would require full commitment, so I embarked on the journey and began dieting seriously in October 2012. With the help and support of my wife Kathy and two daughters Dana and Bridget, the journey began.
I am proud to say I accomplished my goal, losing 45+ pounds, and I competed in the 2013 Natural Wisconsin Bodybuilding championships, on April 20th. I placed 1st in the Masters Class (50 yrs. and older), and 2nd in the Masters Class 40 yrs. and older. I also competed in 2013 INBF Central USA on May 11th, and placed 1st in the Masters Class 50 yrs. and older, and 5th in the Masters Class 40 yrs. and older. This would not have been possible if not for the support and encouragement of fellow Razor Sharp members Kevin Burke and Karim Farag, as well as other various members of Razor.
Along the way my health has greatly improved, and I hope that my progress has made others realize that all goals are accomplishable if you set your mind to them and persevere.
by Steve Rogers
My name is Kathy Poplawski. As a nurse I am used to being fairly active, but had no real exercise program. In late fall of 2011, I started having problems with shortness of breath and exhaustion. I went to the doctor and found out that I was in heart failure. There were also the bonus diagnoses of high blood pressure and pre-diabetes. My doctor was very blunt and told me I was going to die if I didn't start taking care of myself. Not liking that option, I decided to take her advice. I joined Weight Watchers and started to use the gym membership that I had been paying for but not using.
I have always loved the water and found the Aquasize classes available at Razor Sharp to be just what I needed. I had to start out slow and build up. Aquablast class quickly became my favorite, and I looked forward to going. Bobbie knew my story and would keep an eye on me. She encouraged me to do what I could plus a little more. I love going to class and try to get in 3 to 4 classes a week depending on my work schedule.
Now a year and a half later, I am over 110 pounds lighter than when I started. My endurance has increased dramatically. My blood pressure is normal and I am no longer considered "pre-diabetic". In fact, I am off all but one medication. My cardiologist is very pleased with my progress, and so am I. I can't imagine where I would be without an exercise program that lets me strengthen my heart and tone my body while I am having fun!
By Kathy Poplawski
I originally became a member of Razor Sharp Fitness at its inception in 2003, but unfortunately most of the time I was a non-participating member. When I would get back into exercising, it was short lived. I could never keep up a consistent routine so I eventually cancelled my membership due to lack of use.
In March of 2012 I reached my all time high in weight of 218 lbs. Needless to say, I was quite embarrassed with how I looked, and more importantly with how I felt. I was quickly reminded of just how bad things had become when I had to have a chip implanted in my chest to record my heart activity due to supraventricular tachycardia (SVT).
Since I was no longer a member of Razor Sharp, I joined the other club down the street. Although I started to see improvement in my health, I knew I needed something more which is why I decided to come back to Razor. When I re-joined Razor I was still near 195 lbs and wasn't able to make any more progress. I decided to take advantage of the Personal Training services offered. That was the best decision I've ever made when it comes to fitness. I signed up with Brandon for an 8 session program. Boy, what an impact that had for me to take things to the next level! Brandon introduced me to a whole different approach to exercising. Although I really didn't enjoy the first couple sessions, I knew I had to stick with it. Not only did I learn proper exercises to help me achieve my goal, I also gained great insight about nutrition. When I did my initial assessment with Brandon, I was still around the 195 lbs with a with a body fat percentage of 22%. By implementing the things I learned from him, as well as my newly found dedication, I can proudly say that I'm now at my goal of 170 lbs with 14% body fat!
This time, I will continue to be a participating member. I've discovered a personal accountability to my overall fitness program. If I miss a day it's almost as if I feel I have to let one of the staff know why I wasn't there! I want to express thanks to everyone on the Razor staff. You are the best out there!!!!
By Greg Allan
About a year and a half ago, some health issues motivated me to do something about my weight and overall fitness. I had been a member of Razor Sharp for several years, but it became clear that I needed to do more to regain good health. Over the course of a year, I lost 75 pounds and I feel at least 15 years younger. My husband says I look younger, too!
I had a two-part approach to my health turnaround: learn to eat better and exercise more. Early on, I realized I needed to raise my food intake awareness, so I started a food diary, writing down everything I ate and approximating the calories as best I could. I even calculated the calories in my favorite recipes so I would know how much my portion was. I became very honest with myself, writing down everything even if I didn't make good choices that day. It helped me to plan ahead so that I could eat what I really wanted instead of wasting calories on not-very-good food. Now I find that I really enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables and my cooking has developed a lot more flavor. Eating is not about deprivation-it's about making a choice to eat what matters most and what does my body the most good. For example, every day I have a dark chocolate Belgian truffle (probably my favorite type of chocolate), but instead of eating several truffles at a time, I savor one, letting it slowly melt in my mouth (yes, I'm a chocoholic!). Even though I'm at my goal weight, I still keep a food diary to be aware of what I'm eating and to find out how I can keep a stable weight through a variety of circumstances.
I exercise at Razor Sharp six days a week, alternating between days combining cardio work and upper or lower body weight machines and Zumba classes. I have never been a runner, but I started doing interval running on the treadmill, alternating short running times with short walking times, e.g. minute running then minute walking for 30 minutes. Variety in exercise routines really helps with fitness-I've experimented with some of the other classes and I'm learning some new core and weight exercises. My two Zumba days, Tuesday and Friday mornings with Beatriz, are the highlights of my exercise week. Beatriz creates a great atmosphere for the class, combining fun dance moves with movements that really challenge the muscles. She even gets us to sing along with the music! I'm also inspired by some of the younger women in the class (especially Sarah and Stephanie!) and I try my best to keep up with them.
My philosophy at the gym focuses on what I call "inching it up." Every day I'm at the gym, I push myself to do something a little beyond what I had done before. If it's the cardio deck, I walk or run another minute or two. If it's the weight machines, I add a few reps to one or two of the machines or add an extra five pounds if that machine has gotten a little easier. In Zumba class, I add the high impact steps in some of the songs. This new level of activity becomes the new baseline for the next time I do that particular routine. It's amazing what an impact inching it up has when you look back over the previous month or six months. Even when I've been sick or had an injury, I set a new baseline and start inching up again. Another important thing I did was to take advantage of Razor Sharp's free fitness assessment by Justin. I learned a lot from Justin about nutrition, e.g., that I need more protein in my diet, and the kinds of exercises that will improve my fitness. A special thanks to Justin and Razor Sharp for offering this assessment.
One of the unexpected benefits of Razor Sharp has been all the kind remarks from anonymous people at the gym. Each time someone noticed a change in me and said something, I used the compliment to help me inch up some more. I also have appreciated the staff at the desk because even when I wasn't too thrilled about showing up early in the morning, there would always be a friendly smile. Thank you to everyone who helped me along in my journey and maybe you can find someone who could use a word of encouragement!
By Rebecca Kaufman
I joined Razor Sharp in October 2011. After gaining back 40 pounds over the course of a few years, it took me until May 2012 to finally walk in the door! I began slowly with the treadmill, and could only do about 3 minutes on an elliptical machine. I was horrified at how out of shape I had become. The scale didn't move much, but I kept going anyway. In July 2012, my doctor was concerned about my cholesterol and wanted to put me on medication. I begged him to give me 4 months to bring it down. So, beginning in July, I added the weight machines to my routine.
My follow up with my doctor in November was great! Not only had I lost about 20 pounds, but my cholesterol had dropped almost 40 points! He told me there was no way he was putting me on medication and that motivated me even more.
I now work out 6 days a week. I do cardio every day and strength train 4 days a week. Resistance training has completely reshaped me, burned fat and helped me lose 40 pounds and many inches. I even tried the yoga class last week and loved it! The stretching and toning are beneficial in a very relaxing atmosphere.
My new challenge, which I have never conquered, will be to maintain. The key however will be exercise and I know I can do it. I am so glad Razor Sharp opened the North side location. It's become part of my daily routine. Now I can't wait for my next doctor appointment in May!
By Donna Hammond
"What is your goal?" inquired personal trainer Jenny Willis. To successfully complete the Out of the Darkness Overnight fundraising walk for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, I responded. I will be walking 18 miles throughout the night June 9th and 10th in
A friend introduced me to aquasize. This was a good first workout for me. But then came my volunteering for the Out of the Darkness Overnight in
I continue to do aquasize and have added Personal Training. The 4 years that I have completed this fundraising walk in
I find myself remembering that it was last May that I was hit by a car when crossing
By Ruth Bradford-Johnson
In August of 2011, at the "Dirty Girl Mud Run," I decided I had to do something about my weight. I have always worked out 5-6 days a week and that was my excuse for allowing myself to eat whatever I wanted. I worked out hard, so I "deserved" it. Well I was working out and still gaining weight!
My weight was the only thing I wasn't happy about in my life, so on September 19th, I decided to visit a place that people I knew had tried. I had my first appointment at Medical Weight Loss and Wellness, Inc. They taught me how to eat for what my body needs! From that day on I have lost a total of 40lbs! They have a program unlike anything else, truly teaching me how to eat healthy!
I could not have lost all my weight without all the classes I attend at Razor Sharp! I love taking Ann's Indoor Cycling class in the mornings, as well as Amanda's Gutts n' Butts class. I also enjoy taking Lisa's yoga class; it's so nice when I need to stretch out and relax! To be completely honest, I have yet to take a class at Razor that I do not enjoy! My favorite thing to do at the gym though is lift weights! My current goal is to be able to do an unassisted pull up!
I am so thankful to have a gym where everyone is so positive and supportive. I cannot tell you how many of the staff have approached me and told me how awesome my weight loss is going. I have made so many friends from being a member at Razor Sharp. It's great to have friends that share your same fitness goals and enthusiasm for health!
By Kristy Walls