My Personal Fitness Journey

I’ve been writing this blog for about two years and as my time at WAC is coming to an end, (I’m moving on to a new job) I decided to write a post about my fitness journey since I’ve worked here.

When I started working at WAC I was fresh out of college and was still in that college mode. So naturally I ate terribly, didn’t workout a lot and was carrying a lot of extra weight that I put on in those four years.

I thought when I got the job at a gym it would be sooo easy to get into shape and drop those pounds I added. Well I was wrong, very wrong. I actually gained weight the first couple of months because I had no idea what I was doing, I wasn’t doing enough and I still kinda went out and drank like a college kid. I knew that I had to make a change some how though because I wasn’t happy with myself.

I ‘tried out’ all of the personal trainers in the beginning to understand their styles and to help members choose the trainer for them. Here I was telling members and readers of this blog how to be fit and eat healthy and I wasn’t living that lifestyle at all. So I started working out with our trainer Lou in the winter of 2011 and haven’t looked back since.

But this is me before I started my journey, my last semester of college in Sping of 2010. Also this is soo hard for me to post! Eek!

Last semester of college at a fraturnity banquet I attended. Yes that is an adult beverage in my hand, one of the reasons I gained so much weight.

Phew okay now on to what I did to change my life!

Let’s just say that in the beginning it wasn’t easy. I thought I was relativily fit, I played tennis (in high school) and I went to the gym during college (mostly the first two years and then I was too ‘busy’ my last two years to make it regular.) Well I was very wrong, my first workout with Lou I got sick, then got yelled at for not eating properly before my session. I thought that a criossont and an iced coffee was an okay pre-workout meal. I was very very wrong. I got the riot act on what to eat and what not to eat. (I still get repremanded about this because sometimes I still love those bad foods! Here’s a little recap on what you should eat before!) After that first workout I realized that I can’t keep eating what I usually eat and doing what I normally do if I wanted to change.

Slowly as time went on things that were super hard the beginning got a little easier, so the weights went up and the time or speed at which I did things was longer and I started to notice small changes. I wasn’t breathing as heavy when I ran up the steps and I could do pushups with out being on my knees. I realized that maybe I could do this and reach my goals. It did take a while but the number on the scale started to drop as well!

Fall came and I had dropped a good amount of weight and I was feeling great! Then the ‘you should run the half marathon in May’ discussion came up. I always told myself I didn’t want to do it, mostly because I was scared that I couldn’t. I ran the Turkey Trot though and after that I was like ‘I can run forever I’m doing the half!!’ Well that is much easier said then done and even after I committed to the half I still thought I could do more. I talked it over with Lou and we went back and forth on what I should do and I then decided that if I’m training for 5 months then I’m not running the half I’m running the full Pittsburgh Marathon.

Fast forward to May of 2012 where I did finish that marathon and I was so happy that I did it and can’t wait to run it again this coming year. Was the training hard and were there times that I thought I couldn’t do it? Absolulty. I had to run 16 miles one day and I was by myself, but it was a beautiful day and I thought its so perfect out my run will be fantastic! That run was the worst run in my life. I was alone, running on a trail, bored and I didn’t want to do it. I texted the trainer who told me to do it anyway and to keep going, ‘it’s only 16 miles’ he said. I cried, I walked, I texted the trainer again, I told myself that I wasn’t running the full 16 that day. In the end I did push through and I did run the 16 because running that with all of the issues I was having would make me a better runner mentally. Because they do say that running a long distance or even losing weight is mostly mental.

Oh hi there it’s just Jess, finishing her first freaking full marathon!!

Sometimes it’s hard to see how far you have come and a couple months ago Lou had me put on a weighted vest for my workout. It happened to weight 40lbs which I just found out was the amount that I had lost thus far. If you ever want to realize how much you have accomplished carry around what you have lost. It was hard to believe that I had weighed as much as I had and didn’t realize how much of a mess I was. It was a real eye opening experience to do that.

I was dying at this point!

After running the marathon and losng 40lbs I still had more that I wanted to accomplish. Losing more weight, toning more, doing better on my next marathon and I will. Because of the support of my friends, family, my trainer Lou and the people at WAC/Galaxy I know that I’ll be able to meet my goals and most likely move past them.

So if you’re someone who has fitness or health goals and you’re scared you’ll never meet them. Don’t worry, you will. It just takes some time, some determination and the support of those you love to reach them.

There’s me now! 40lbs lighter!

I’ve had a great time writing for you all and sharing with you ways to improve to make your life healthier and more fit! I’m not sure who will be writing after me but I hope you enjoy what they write about as well and continue reading to find out information that will help you!

If you ever have questions for me or want to get in touch don’t hesitate! Friend me on Facebook, or visit my personal website!


10 Reasons Why to Attend Our Spinn-a-Thon

10 Reasons Why You Should Attend Our Spinn-a-Thon

10. Crazy Calorie Burn
I wasn’t too fond of spinning when I started because it was hard on my lazy legs. However, as I began to get accustomed to the work out and saw the pounds begin to melt away faster than they had when I worked out on any other cardio equipment I was hooked.
A good thirty minute workout on a Spinning Cycle can burn as much as 500 calories. Even at challenging levels other cardio equipment couldn’t burn that many calories in such a short time. For our Spinn-a-Thon each session will last between 45-1hour. Longer workouts burn from 800 to 1,000 calories.
9. Meet New Friends
Regardless of your fitness level riding Spinning bikes keeps everyone together. This goes beyond sitting in the same spinning class, but each individual works equally as hard at their own level. It is amazing how you can feed off of the energy of other riders when you begin to fatigue and start thinking you might want to quit.

Riding together also gives you the opportunity to encourage others. You can inspire those who have not yet reached your level of fitness, while those stronger than you inspire you. Working together, everyone who spins can reach their goals.
8. Mental Training
Spinning also builds mental strength. When you spin, there are good days and bad. The important thing is that you carry through with your regular Spinning routine. Push through difficult times. Push up hill climbs and push through endurance training.
Self discipline of the mind gained in spinning can be applied to all areas of life. I have found it most beneficial in areas of self-control and confidence. Spinning helps develop a positive, “can do” attitude.
7. Prizes
There will be great prizes given out during each hour!
6. Hour of Zumba!!
We decided that why limit it to just indoor cycling and what’s more fun than dancing! So we added an hour of Zumba with Melinda at 6pm!! It is $5 in advance to sign up or $10 at the door!
5. The atmosphere in class
It’s a group exercise class so you know it will be full of energetic individuals. You’ll find the others around you will push you along and you won’t even realise it! With the combination of pumped up people and a catchy playlist in the background, you will burn off more calories than you even knew you had! If you need that extra bit of motivation, invite a friend along so you can encourage each other and joke along the way.
4. Low Impact Workout
Spinning is a great exercise because it is very low impact. Unlike running on a treadmill or participating in sports like basketball, football or soccer, spinning places no great impact on the joints in your body. By riding on a bicycle, you’ll get all the resistance that is necessary in order to work out your muscles and your cardiovascular system, but you won’t face the potential dangers of participating in one of these other high impact activities.
3. You don’t need any skills and you can be at any level
Unlike some other group exercise classes, where a certain base fitness or experience level is necessary in order to actively participate, in spinning classes people of all fitness levels and athletic abilities are welcome. Because you will be working at your own individual level and not at the same exact pace of the other people in your class, you’ll find that you can push yourself to your own limits without having to conform to other people’s goals.
You will not need to have any predeveloped skills or coordination in order to successfully participate in a spinning class. Similarly, you don’t need to be exceptionally coordinated or balanced in order to get the most out of your exercise program in spinning.
2. What else are you going to do on a Friday night and Saturday morning?
Our Spinn-a-Thon event is this Friday and Saturday September 21 & 22!

Friday Times

  • 5pm with Sue
  • 6pm with Lou
  • 7pm with Jill
  • 8pm with Jill
  • 9pm with Sue

Saturday Times

  • 7am with Sue
  • 8am with Jess
  • 9am with Sue
  • 10am with Pete
  • 11am with Jill
All of our instructors and great and will give you a hard workout!
1. Team Survivor is a great organization to donate to!
The local affiliate, Team Survivor Laurel Highlands, was started by the Mighty Tri Girls in 2008. Laurel Highlands offers fitness opportunities, at no cost, to women with a past or present diagnosis of cancer. They welcome women of all ages and fitness levels.

What Team Survivors Have To Say:

“Team Survivor has given me the ability to come together with other cancer survivors in fellowship & sweat.. I love the feeling of networking together as a team… encouraging each other at different levels . It is a great feeling to have accountablity in a positive way, so that I can reach my goals.. and I believe I can with Team Survivor!!!
Ovie Marshall, Team Survivor Member

“Participating in the Team Survivor triathlon program gave me an incredible sense of accomplishment, and I found myself surrounded by the most positive group of people I’ve ever met.”
Sandy Andre, Team Survivor Member

“Finding the Mighty Tri-Girls and being able to participate in my first triathlon is something I will cherish forever! Participating in the Team Survivor/Mighty Tri-Girl program gives you a guiding hand, helping you face things inside you that you didn’t realize were there. It gives you strength to smile and just do it! Love ya Sue! Thank you for giving us Cancer babes a home to be strong!”
Olga George, Team Survivor Member 

Team Survivor Info from Training with Sue

At 64, Bob Rummel just keeps on running

At 64, Bob Rummel just keeps on running

By Mike Hricik for the Latrobe Bulletin

For Bob Rummel, getting older doesn’t mean slowing down.

A typical week for the 64-year-old retiree consists of pedaling 150 miles a week in spinning classes, bending backwards on a yoga mat and doing crunches to prepare for marathons and grueling ultra-marathons.

For Rummel, who lives in Latrobe with his wife Gloria, the physical and mental challenges of marathon running inspire his passion most.

“It’s the ultimate test,” he said.

In May, Rummel places 442th our of 5,040 in the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon after running 26.2 miles in three hours and 33 minutes. He places second in his age division and will run in the Boston Marathon next April, beating the qualifying time by 20 minutes.

The marathon man will trot all day in September for the third time as part of the annual NorthCoast 24-Hour Endurance Run in Cleveland.

But, despire his speed and endurance, Rummel began running late in life.

He joined his oldest son, Robert, in an Atlanta, Ga. half marathon in 1998.

What started as a family bonding activity became something more as Rummel got hooked, participating in his first marathon a year later.

Son and running partner Robert of Westlake, Ohio, said he has sometimes struggled to keep up with the leder Rummel’s pace on the marathon circuit.

“He’s more fit at age 64 than he was at age 35 and more in shape even than 21-year-olds,” Robert said.

Rummel counts crossing the Atlanta Marathon’s finish line on Thanksgiving Day 2002 with both his sons, Robert and Michael, as one of his proudest moments.

He hopes to do the same with his grandchildren one day who, for now, are running in turkey trots.

Rummel credits Wesmoreland Athletic Club master personal trainer Lou Rocco with his recent success in East Coast marathons.

Rocco said his trainee’s dedication sets him apart from others.

“He’s in the gym working all the time and is a dream to train because of his motivation,” Rocco said.

Rummel just may be one ot the men to beat heading into his Boson Marathon debut.

Two weeks after his Pittsburgh Marathon finish, Rummel also clinched second place in his division at the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon with a time of three hours and 43 minutes. He places 420th our of 14,664 other participants.

Rummel also remains an active member of te marathon runners community as a part of both the Steel City Road Runners Club and Road Runners Club of America.

There’s one thing, Robert Rummel said, that his father put first over physical fitness.

“He’s a family man number one,” he said. “He has the same passion for running as he does for his family and friends.”

Have You Run a 5k or Marathon Before?!

Today is going to be all about marathons, since yesterday was the NYC Marathon. I recently (as in about 10 minutes ago) signed up for my first 5k! This makes me extremely nervous, I hate running, really I do. I try so hard to like it, I make a good playlist to use and I just go. Sadly I don’t last long because I get bored and something shiny will catch my attention (seriously it’s true I get distracted every 2 seconds!) Anyways, since I started working here it has made me want to try things I normally wouldn’t do. Which is why I signed up for theGreensburg Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving! And of course instead of running like I should be doing I googled tips and things to know about running either a 5k or a full marathon! What can I say I’m a little obsessed with google and researching things. So here are 10 tips for running a race!

1. Practice

Once you have decided to enter a 5K or any other kind of race your next step is to begin practicing. Don’t show up the day of the race not having trained your body. You could end up with serious injuries. Figure out your weak spots while you are training. If you find yourself getting tired half way through the race, focus your attention on training a bit harder for that leg. Stay true to your workout plan during the race. Practicing prior to the big day will prepare you for what’s to come.

2. Rest

The night before the race, get plenty of rest. You should do your workout early in the morning and get to bed at a decent hour. You will be more focused and ready to run the day of the race if you’ve had adequate rest the night before. Relax and don’t over think the next day’s events.

3.  Hydration

Before you begin the race, hydrate your body. Drink plenty of water. Drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day will reduce the risk of dehydration during the race. Take a bottle of water along with you to the race. While most races hand out water along the way, being prepared with your own is important.

4. Eating

Eating a simple meal of 200 to 400 calories about two to three hours before the race is important to have fuel for the event, but also have time to digest the food. Never experiment with food or drink on race day. It’s wise to practice eating before training to make sure the food works for you, then replicate this meal on the race day.

5. Stretch

Before the race begins, stretch your muscles. Warm up your body by doing stretches from head to toe. Stretch everything from your neck to your hamstrings. Warm up completely. You will find that it will pay off in the end. Save yourself injuries and put in the time stretching before the race.

6. Pace Yourself

When the race begins, pace yourself. While most runners will take off out of the gate fast, they find themselves losing momentum toward the end. If you start off your first half mile pacing yourself, your finish will be stronger. Save your energy for the last half mile of the race and give it all you’ve got. It will be more rewarding to have a solid finish than to finish barely hanging on.

7. Give It All You’ve Got

Save your strength for the finish. When you approach the half way mark you should be picking up the pace to finish strong. Give it all you’ve got in your last quarter mile. Not only will you sprint past runners, you will have an easier time finishing if you give it that extra push

8. Don’t Wear Anything New

“Nothing new on race day” should become a familiar phrase to any road racer. Race day is not the time to experiment with a new pair of running shoes, running shorts, or a new sports bra. It’s better to stick with your tried-and-true favorites that you know are comfortable. If you get a race T-shirt in your race goody bag before the race, you definitely don’t want to wear it during the race. Not only are there bad luck superstitions associated with wearing the race T-shirt, but it will also make you look like a rookie.

9. Avoid Pre-Race Jitters

Pre-race jitters are normal, so try not to misinterpret it or think it is fear; that adrenaline rush you feel is normal and it is part of your body’s natural preparation for the competition. To help avoid nervousness before the event, arrive with plenty of time so you aren’t rushed, get a thorough warm-up, know the course, and dress for the weather. If you find yourself thinking negative thoughts before or during the race, try to focus only on your breathing and race like you don’t care about the outcome. Remember goal number one: you are only competing against yourself, so enjoy the moment.

10. Have FUN!

All the nervousness and everything will go away when you start your race and it’s supposed to be fun! There will be lots of people and music cheering you on!

So there are my tips for running a 5k or marathon, I’m sure there are more specific ones depending on what length of race you are running. Is anyone else running the Greensburg Turkey Trot?! If so let me know, we can meet up before or after and take a fitness club picture!!


Top 6 Fitness Apps!

Smart phones are huge right now and I just bought my first iphone yesterday so I figured I would list some of the best fitness and nutrition apps out there! I tried to pick good ones that are free but there are a couple that paid apps. Here are my top 6 fitness apps!

Lose It!

Cost: Free

I love this app! I’ve talked about an app similar to this one before in 6 Ways to Become an Effective Exerciser. This app lets you track your calories and exercises. You are able to sync it with your Lose membership (free) and keep track of the friends you make on the site! You start off by signing up through the app and putting in your weight, height, birthday, gender, goal weight and how many pounds you want to lose per week. Lose It then calculates how many calories you should be eating per day to be able to meet your goals and gives you a timeline of when you will lose the weight! Each day you log your food by either adding a new food, picking something that you have previously added or picking food that they have listed under brand name foods. You then add in the exercises you have done through out the day. They have a number of exercises listed and you put in the time you have done it and it will calculate how many calories were burned! This app is great and is definitely my favorite one!

Screen shot of Lose It! app.

Body Fate

Cost: $2.99

This app I had no idea what it was at first but I bought it any ways and I found that it’s a really great app! With this app you are given a series of athletic challenges for you to complete and as you do that you get more challenges. To begin you set up if you are a beginner or not, how long you want to workout for and what type of equipment is available to you. They app then chooses exercises for you based on that and times you during the workout. If you do not how to do the exercise that is given you can click on the upper right corner where they tell you how to do it. After you complete one challenge you keep going for as long as you chose to work out. There are other things with this app like quizzes that reward you with rest periods, different games that help you choose exercises and different trainers to choose from. It’s a really great app if you looking for a fun challenging way to workout by yourself!

Body Fate App Screen Shot


Cost: $.99

This app has a ton of exercises on it that you can do! GymABC is filled with different exercise plans and workouts that you can choose from and has a lot of useful information included. They also give you a fitness and muscle tip of the day!

GymABC Screen Shot

Wellness Tip of the Day

Cost: Free

This app is great to get quick health tips! There are four different kinds of tips, Food, Mind, Body and Misc tips to choose from and they are in little bubbles that you double click. You can have these bubbles just float on the screen when your in the app or you can put them in calendar form. This app has some really great tips to read and I am definitely going to use these more often!

Wellness Tip of the Day Screen Shot

Diet Tips

Cost: Free

This app just gives you quick diet tips and you can keep tapping the screen to get more tips. It’s simple and to the point. Nice if your looking for something quick to read!

Diet Tips Screen Shot

Shop to Lose

Cost: Free

This one is kind of similar to Lose It! But it also lets you build shopping lists and choose different kinds of foods you want to buy and which ones would be best to help you reach your goals. Shop to Lose lets you personalize your health profile by choosing things you would like to target, including, weight control, healthy eating and cholesterol control.  You are also able to track your progress on this app to see if you are meeting your goals!

Shop to Lose Screen Shot

So there are my top 6 fitness apps that will help you reach your goals! Does anyone have any other favorite fitness apps that they like to use?

Have You Ever Ran a 5K?

I had some people asking about races that were going on in the area in the next couple of months so I compiled a list of ones that are in our area and are until the end of September! There are links to either the website for the organization or links to the registration for the races. There are a bunch that are coming up so get out there and try running a 5k!

Running Green for Three Rivers

Sunday, August 29, 2010

In pursuit of environmental justice, Three Rivers Community Foundation (TRCF) is organizing a 5K Run & Walk (rescheduled from World Environment Day in June) to promote and commemorate the sustainable efforts in Pittsburgh.

Running Green for Three Rivers will sync up with the Rachel’s Sustainable Feast organized by the Rachel Carson Homestead, so that the run ends at the feast. As a participant, your entry to the Feast is covered by the cost of this event.

Cost: $15.00 ($7 goes to the Rachel Carson Homestead; the rest of the proceeds go to TRCF)

Registration: 10:00 a.m.

Starting Time: 10:30 a.m.

Gatorade/Steelers 5K

Saturday, September 4, 2010 Heinz Field

9:00 AM 5K Run/Walk

10:00 AM Kids’ Kickoff

Registration Fee:

$15 – 5K Run/Walk

$10 – Kids’ Kickoff Run

Nose Tackle Division:

The Nose Tackle Division is for men 200 pounds and over. If you are competing in this division, you will need to be weighed the morning of the race.

Start Times:

5K starts at 9am

Kid’s Walk starts at 10am

Kid’s Kickoff Run:

The Kids’ Kickoff Run is a non-competitive 40-yard dash for kids ages 9 and under on the field in the south end zone.

Event Description:

The 5K Race is a competitive event sanctioned by USA Track and Field with a 3.1-mile level course on the North Side highlighted by a spectacular finish on the Heinz Field warning track.

Gatorade is the title sponsor of the race. Associate sponsors include Giant Eagle, Dean Dairy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, KDKA-TV 2, WDVE-FM, Fox Sports Radio 970 and UPMC St. Margaret Sports Medicine.

Proceeds from the race go to the Art Rooney Scholarship Fund, which was established in memory of the late founder of the Steelers who died in August of 1988 after living most of his life on the North Side. Each year a $12,000.00 scholarship in Art Rooney’s name is presented to a graduating senior from each of the three high schools on the North Side — Oliver, Perry and North Catholic.

Run Around the Square (Regent Square)

Saturday, August 28, 2010 at 8:15 AM

Regent Square
901 Milton Street, Corner of Milton and Henrietta

Registration Fee: $19.00 for 5K and $12.00 for Fun Run and $8.00 for Friendly Leashed dogs (in Fun Run ONLY!)

Registration Closing Date

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 8:59 PM

Brief Description

Join us for the 28th Annual Run Around the Square! First 3/4 mile through Regent Square streets with plenty of friendly cheers; second 2 1/2 miles through Frick Park trails.

The Great Race Pittsburgh

Sunday, September 26, 2010 @ 8:30 AM local time

5K-Oakland, 10K-Frick Park

Fees $18 thru Sept. 3rd, $25 thereafter

Registration Closing Date

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 9:01 PM

The 33rd running of the Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race presented by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield.  The Great Race, established in 1977 as a 10K race by the late Mayor Richard S. Caliguiri, has grown to include the 5K run/walk, running clinic, two-day exposition and children’s race.

The 14,000 limit will include combined registrants for 5K run/walk and 10K run on September 26.

Beat the Heat

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Time: Registration begins at 7 AM. Race begins at 8 AM.

Entry Fee: $15 on-line or postmarked by August 14; $20 after August 14.

Location: Race starts and ends at Sloan Elementary School, Murrysville, PA.

Hosted by The Franklin Regional Soccer Boosters

The Bethlehem Project’s 5th Annual 5K “Home Run”

September 6, 2010 Lynch Field, Greensburg, PA

Registration begins at 7:00 AM Race begins at 8:30 AM

All proceeds from this event benefit The Bethlehem Project, a ministry of Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Greensburg that helps to prevent homelessness in Westmoreland County.

Join in this 5K run/walk through downtown Greensburg, starting and finishing at Lynch Field in Greensburg, PA. The course is designed for both serious and amateur athletes, young and old, tall and short, runners and walkers.

The course is designed for everyone!

Entry Fees By August 21st — $17.00 August 22nd to Race Day — $20.00

Footsteps in Faith

Saturday, August 28, 2010 at 9:00 AM

Irwin Park 
Pennsylvania Avenue and Chestnut Street

The Footsteps in Faith 5K and 1 mile fun walk benefits Genre’s Kids with Cancer Fund, a nonprofit organization formed late in 2009 in honor of Genre Baker who was eight years old when he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Our mission is simple – to assist families living through childhood cancer in any way we can, emotionally, financially, and spiritually.

Both adults and children will have the option to register for either:

5K Run (Chip Timed) –

5K Walk –

1 Mile Fun Walk

Registration Fee

Prior to July 28, 2010 (discounted rate) $20.00 – Beginning on July 28, 2010 (including race day registration) Adults $25.00

Child Registration Fee

Children 3 & Under are free and not required to register. Child (12 & Under) 5K Chip Timed: Prior to July 28, 2010 – $15.00 After July 28, 2010 ( including race day registration) – $20.00. Child (12 & Under) 5K Walk and 1 Mile Fun Walk – $10.00.

American Cancer Society 12th Annual Fight For Life

Saturday, November 20, 9:00 AM

Apollo, Pa

5K Run/Walk

Registration Fee: $15.00 Before November 1st $20.00 After November 1st

All proceeds benefit ACS 2011 Relay For Life

Pittsburgh 5K Oral Cancer Walk & Run 2010

September 18th, 2010

9am – 2pm

Riverview Park, Pittsburgh 159 Riverview Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15214

Registration Fee: $20 per walker/runner

You can visit Running in the USA website to find even more races in our area to participate in!