Evan McWilliams’ Fuse Fitness Success Story!


Hi Fusers!

This month we are giving a big shout out to one of our longest members, Evan McWilliams, who has been working out at Fuse Fitness since 2011. He started out with personal training and now is one of our most regular class attendees. Since his first class in 2012, he has logged in 425 hours of workouts (not including personal training sessions). WOW!! And that doesn’t even touch on the many hours/miles of hiking/running he has logged outside the gym.

As most of you know, Evan always walks in barefoot (even in the winter when it’s RAINING!!!), shoes in hand, baseball cap on, and pretends to be the grumpiest person you’ve ever met. While he does a very good job of being grumpy, he really is one of the nicest and funniest people at the gym.

IMG_1259

We first met Evan in 2011, and had the pleasure of training him one-on-one. He was gifted some training sessions from a friend of his who had done work for Pascha and me when we opened Fuse. Evan’s friend kindly allowed Pascha and me to do a trade with him, as he knew we were a brand new business working hard to get on our feet. As the story goes, Evan had helped out his friend by taking care of his children while his wife was battling and beating cancer. In return for Evan’s generosity and friendship during this time, he was gifted the training sessions.

Pascha and I both trained Evan in the beginning for the traded sessions. At first, I’m not sure he was entirely enthused or excited to have been gifted the training sessions, however he had to use them. I wasn’t sure whether he would continue after those sessions were done, but he did, and as time moved forward, a new Evan emerged. During this time, I got to know him quite well, and learned quickly how dry and sarcastic his sense of humor is, which I find to be hilarious. It was clear that getting over that initial hump of starting a new, intense fitness program was challenging, however his consistency and hard work paid off. I really began to see big changes in Evan….he became really motivated and confident, and awesomely stayed grumpy. However, I quickly came to see that while perhaps the initial grumpiness when he first started training was real, the new grumpiness wasn’t quite true. But he does do one hell of a job pulling it off 😉

 

Here are a few words from Evan himself:

I developed epilepsy in my late twenties and had a doctor tell me all the things that I should not do. I took what he said to heart and basically became sedentary. I had been in law enforcement so had been in okay shape, but spent the next couple of years feeling sorry for myself and gained a ton of weight. When I left police work I started working for an outdoor apparel company that placed a huge emphasis on being active. I did not want to stand out as “that guy” so started to run on my own. No training, no coaching, just running, because I was too self-conscious to workout with other people.

IMG_3289

I lost some weight and ran three marathons in one year (despite my doctor’s warning) and realized that I was physically one-dimensional. I could run forever, but I was doing nothing but aerobic exercise. I wanted to see if my times improved as my fitness level became more well-rounded. A friend of mine did some work for Pascha and Kristin when they opened Fuse. He worked out a barter with them for personal training. He gave those training sessions to me. My first session was with Pascha. All I remember was feeling completely out of shape, and her saying, “Oh, Evan” as I struggled during the workout.  All I wanted to do was get into decent shape and be done. I figured I would work out for a few months and then continue working out on my own. I had no interest in the classes, but would watch them as I worked out with Kristin, and they looked really fun.  I eased into one class a week taught by Kristin, but it took another year or two for me to work out with a different trainer because I don’t like change.  Now, I try to be in class 5-6 days a week.

All of my fitness challenges have been self-inflicted. I have developed a knack for hurting myself. I have blown out my back, broken my foot, developed tendonitis in both elbows and just last month I had a bunch of stitches put into my knee. In the past I would have felt sorry for myself and probably quit. Now, I see these challenges as a way to figure out how to work through the injury. I was working out with Kristin while in my cast. I was back working out the day my stitches came out. And recently I have started to do 20+ mile walk/hike/runs to compensate for my elbow issues.  I still struggle with being 50 and not being able to do everything that I used to do. Everyone at Fuse is here for their own reasons. There is such a supportive feel here. It doesn’t matter if you are the fastest, slowest or strongest…it matters that you are here doing what you need to do for yourself! I have NEVER had that feeling working out in any other environment.

IMG_3400

My biggest [fitness] success was finishing the Spring Cleaning Challenge (clean-eating, fat loss challenge) last year. It came at the right time, as I was training to climb Mt. Rainier. It showed me that I could successfully complete something (while hurt) and finish what I had started in a strong manner. I ended up losing 35lbs which was a huge benefit for the climb. After climbing Rainier, I started to look at things differently, and now I try to find things that a couple of years ago I would not have even tried. Right now, I want to do an unassisted hand-stand. For no other reason than 50-year-old men are not generally known for their handstands!  I also want to be able to keep up with my family. Both my wife and son are major outdoors people. We spend an awful lot of time hiking and mountaineering. I want to be able to keep doing that for my entire life.

I LOVE the atmosphere at Fuse. There is such a nice support network here. People check on you if you have missed class. They welcome my son whenever he shows up. AND they hold you accountable in the best possible way. I know when I am slacking, and I love being called out on it because it shows me they want me to do the best that I can!

Evan, while this tells the story of how your fitness journey at Fuse began because of a gift from a grateful friend, the way I look at it, the gift was really to us. You have become one of our most loved and appreciated members at Fuse! We are very proud of how far you’ve come and all the awesome, positive changes you have made. Thank you for your support. AND STAY GRUMPY!!!!

If you’re interested in joining Fuse Fitness and becoming one of our next success stories, please fill out the form below to sign-up for a free fitness consult.

Marni Gonzalez’s Fuse Fitness Success Story!

Image


Hi Fusers!

This month we’re celebrating one of our amazing members, Marni Gonzalez. If I could describe her in one word, in relation to how she is in the gym, I’d say tough. By definition, I mean that she “demonstrates a strict and uncompromising attitude or approach.”  When presented with any challenge in class, she always creates a strategy, implements that strategy and then very successfully completes the challenge. Just. Like. That. If you’ve taken class with Marni, you know that she maintains her strong pace evenly, keeping her focus on the goal. It’s quite impressive.

IMG_8157

9:06 am sunrise in Iceland

Having been a member at Fuse since March 2015, Marni has without fail, (unless she is traveling, which is one of her passions) showed up and stuck to her very consistent schedule, for a total of 345 times, logging in just over 300 hours of working out. Consistency and keeping a schedule for working out is what gets results, and Marni has that figured out.

That’s just a glimpse into Marni’s gym life–as you can see, she is hard-working, disciplined and goal oriented. I’d wager to say that her tenacity probably has something to do with how she became a neurologist. Just a guess on my part 🙂 She has been a practicing neurologist since 2006 and is a senior physician at Kaiser Permanente Medical Group. She also led the creation and implementation of The Memory Center, where she and other team members provide medical and social support for patients with dementia.

So yeah, in one word I’d say this woman is tough. But since I don’t have to only describe her in one word, I’d also like to say that she is incredibly sweet, supportive and I love having her in class. Marni has made a serious commitment to her health since joining, both with her workouts and her diet, and she has really transformed her body. She’s super strong, works really hard, motivates everyone and inspires us all. And I love how devoted she is to her family and her faith.

IMG_4099

Murren, Switzerland with my cousin

Here are a few words from Marni about her fitness journey:

“Approaching middle age prompted me to contemplate my future self.  Do I want to be a “healthy” and “active” 65-year-old, enjoying retirement?  Or, do I accept the alternative?  At this crossroad in my life, I made a commitment to get healthier, physically.  I joined Woohoo Fit in June 2012, two months after my 39th birthday and have been working out consistently ever since.  When Woohoo Fit closed in the Spring 2015, some of us former “Woohoo-ers” transferred to Fuse Fitness.  I am so thankful that I decided to do so!  It was a pretty seamless transition for me.  The challenging classes, wonderful trainers, and community of fellow “Fusers” make this place very special. I felt welcomed from the beginning.

“I realized that exercising regularly does not necessarily result in weight loss.  Don’t misunderstand me – I know that it is essential for cardiovascular health.  However, working out three times a week while I continued my undisciplined food habits gradually but surely resulted in a size increase in my clothes!  I also felt I reached a plateau in my fitness level.

IMG_8106

Hiking atop an Icelandic glacier

“Fortunately, last February 2016, I committed to a change in my approach to food.  I also increased the frequency of my work outs (from three to four times a week), threw in Monday night yoga sessions with Kelly, and exercised even while on vacation (which I never used to do).  Now, also thirty pounds lighter, I don’t think I have been stronger and more physically fit in my life.

“I am very grateful for the phenomenal trainers who so patiently worked with me over the years at Woohoo Fit and Fuse Fitness – Eva, Kelly, Amy B., Kristen, Pasha, Gail, Beverly, and now Michelle.  My life has forever changed!”

Marni, we are grateful for you and the example you set. Thank you for being such a wonderful and integral part of the Fuse community!

Yours in health,

Kristin at Fuse Fitness

P.S. As always, if you’re reading this and interested in finding your own path to success with your health and fitness, fill out the contact form below to sign up for a free fitness consult today!

In Full Swing


Hi Fusers!

I just want to say, you all did a damn good job with those burpees last month. I know you have probably never hated us more than during the month of March, but hey, it’s time to move on—forgive and forget.

Here we are, the beginning of April, and spring is quickly swinging into action. The rain has finally stopped, the sun is out, the days are longer, flowers are blooming, and we are swinging. Ok, so that last thing doesn’t really fit the sentence. However, while spring swings into action, we will concurrently be swinging kettlebells. This month, we are focusing on an actual favorite exercise at Fuse (opposed to last month’s “favorite”)—the kettlebell swing.

A brief bit of histrory—kettlebells were developed in Russia during the 1700s and were mostly used as a way for farmers to measure crops. Beginning in the 20th century, Soviet athletes began to use kettlebells as part of their training (Wikipedia). What makes the kettlebell unique is it’s design; unlike a dumbbell or barbell, the center of mass is extended beyond the hand, allowing the athlete to incorporate power and swinging movements into his/her program.

kbells

At first glance, the swing looks very similar to a squat and front shoulder raise. However, it is not that, and it is extremely important to learn proper technique to ensure safety as well as get the most out of this powerful, all-encompassing exercise.  So let’s break it down.

The kettlebell swing is an explosive, ballistic exercise that trains the posterior chain of your body—primarily your hips, glutes, back and core. It is composed of a hip hinge movement in which you drive your hips straight back behind your centerline, pulling the kettlebell back between your legs just below the groin. It is imperative to keep your core tight and spine neutral spine/back straight. Your shins stay completely vertical, unlike a squat where the knees track over the toes, creating an angle of <90° between your shins and the floor.

IG_1HKBSwingBack-1000x1000

photo credit Onnit Academy

This movement pattern loads up the glutes and hips, which are extremely strong and powerful muscles. At this point you snap your hips forward powerfully, propelling the kettlebell upward. You maintain loose, straight arms, as the effort comes completely from your hips/glutes/core, and has nothing to do with your arms. While your arms help to control the kettlebell, you shouldn’t use your arms or shoulders to pull it up.

This movement pattern loads up your glutes and hips, which are extremely strong and powerful muscles. At this point you snap your hips forward powerfully, propelling the kettlebell upward. You maintain loose, straight arms, as the effort comes completely from your hips/glutes/core, and has nothing to do with your arms. While your arms help to control the kettlebell, you shouldn’t use your arms or shoulders to pull it up.

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 3.47.06 PM

As the kettlebell reaches its top end range of motion, usually around 45° out from your body, your glutes and abs flex to stop your hip motion so that you do NOT lean back and use your lower back muscles to pull. Your body should be in a completely vertical position, like a standing plank, with your core and glutes fully engaged. If your core is not engaged, you will put too much stress on your spine, causing your lower back, rather than your glutes, to do the majority of the work.

As the kettlebell begins to drop back down, make sure to be patient and wait until it has traveled almost all the way back down before beginning to hinge your hips back by moving your hips out of way. If you begin to hinge too early, you risk the kettlebell coming down much closer to the knees than it should—it should stay right below your groin.

So that’s the breakdown. Pretty technical, which is why we’re going to focus on perfecting it this month. When done correctly, it’s an amazing full-body exercise that is great for both conditioning and muscular endurance.

Keep up the great work Fusers!

Yours in health,

Kristin at Fuse Fitness

p.s. If you’re interested in learning how to do a kettlebell swing, want to work on your form, or are simply looking for an awesome strength and conditioning program, fill out the form below to sign-up for a free fitness consult.

Caroline McCall’s Fuse Fitness Success Story!


Hi Fusers!

This week we’re shining light and appreciation on another one of our awesome members! Caroline McCall has been working out at Fuse Fitness since June 2014 and has logged in 181 visits during that time. That may seem impressive, which it is, however she’s also logged in hundreds of miles of running during that same time—so awesome!! 🙂

Caroline is an avid distance runner and has been since around the age of 13 years old.  She’s also a hard-core 6am Monkey Ninja Bootcamp regular who often goes for a run before class even starts. A natural morning person, Caroline is out before the sun comes up, either coming to class or going for a longer run. While many clients moan and groan about having to do the “longer run around the block,” Caroline just laughs—around the block is nothing.

Berkeley Half 15 3

Professionally, Caroline is the sole proprietor and director of Center for Church Vitality, through which she provides leadership and organizational development consulting in the Episcopal Church. She is also the Director of Field Education and Lecturer in Congregational Studies at Church Divinity School of the Pacific (the Episcopal Seminary in Berkeley).

Recently, I had the opportunity to do some personal training with Caroline—suffering from a torn Achilles tendon, she had to put a halt to both running and Monkey Ninja Bootcamp in order to heal. While this would typically derail most people, Caroline was not interested in this route. In conjunction with doing physical therapy, she trained privately 3 mornings a week, split between Pascha, Fana and myself. As any athlete knows, your sport is often your therapy/mediation—so when taken away it can be extremely challenging. Pure grit and tenacity kept Caroline going, not allowing her injury to inhibit her ability to train—this is one of the reasons she’s such an inspiration and an all around awesome client to have!

I’m going to reflect on a fun story Caroline told me during one of her training sessions with me. When her now teenage children were littler kids, and their energy would amp up inside the house as kids’ energy often does, she and her husband would send them outside to run the perimeter of the house. They had created an obstacle course of sorts that the kids would run through multiple times. I just love this story and think it’s such a great idea. More importantly, what an incredible gift—to encourage and teach children at a young age the importance of exercising their bodies to release energy, stress and feel calm.

P1150003

Caroline and her family last summer visiting the Grand Canyon

And now, a few words from Caroline….

“I joined Fuse because I knew I needed to compliment my running with strengthening my core. I have been a distance runner for 38 years, so I was in good shape – at least for endurance running. Unfortunately, I was also beginning to suffer from more frequent injuries.

“In 2014 I decided to look for a gym where I could go in the early morning, was close to my home, and would be fun. (Every time I joined a gym and took classes in the past, I found it incredibly boring). I found Fuse in June 2014, and although 6:00 AM was later than I wanted (really!) I decided to try a Monkey Ninja Bootcamp class. After my one free trial class, I was hooked. My goal was to go to class two times a week while continuing with my running…ultimately to be able to run more distance races (half-marathons and marathons) injury-free.

“The biggest challenge for me is exactly what I knew I needed to work on—my core. Somehow 38 years of running had not done much to strengthen it and 14 years of motherhood was not helping either. Although I am certainly much stronger than I was when I started, I get pretty discouraged about my (lack of) core strength even after almost three years of classes at Fuse.

P1150017

“In addition, despite me hoping that taking classes would magically make me injury free, I have still had to deal with injuries and other physical set-backs. Coming back after needing to take one or more weeks off from class is always daunting. I miss the coaches and the regulars in my class when I cannot be part of it, so I get back in there as soon as I can.”

“Most recently, I tore my Achilles tendon and have had to take over 2 months off from classes. BUT I have done as much as I can by working with Kristin, Pascha, and Fana in private training sessions, and now I am healed well enough to go back to classes again!”

“My biggest success has been finishing 15 half-marathons and 3 marathons since I started at Fuse. I am a stronger and better runner because of Monkey Ninja Bootcamp! I was able to qualify for the Boston Marathon at age 50, by several minutes, and felt great doing it. What I am most proud of is that I continue to run and continue to work on my overall strength despite the inevitable injuries and aging.”

P1150002

“One thing I really love at Fuse Fitness is the people! The instructors, the other people in my classes, the whole community. It is supportive and fun while also challenging me to push myself further.”

Caroline, you inspire us and we appreciate your hard work and determination! Thank you for being an awesome part of our fitness community 🙂

Yours in health,

Kristin at Fuse Fitness

p.s. If you’d like to sign up for a free fitness consult or find out more information, please fill out the contact form below!

 

Burpee-the most badass exercise on the market (did I sell you?)


Hi Fusers!

It’s March!! Woohoo, spring is just around the corner, and I’m pretty sure we’re all sick of the rain. So here’s to sunny, drier days ahead! And burpees.

That’s right, although that looks like a misplaced word in the paragraph above, I want to assure you that you read correctly. This month we will be focusing on burpees. I know, I know….here’s what you’re all thinking….

dear-burpees-fck-you-women-s-t-shirts-women-s-v-neck-t-shirt

The poor burpee. Seriously, for an exercise that is so incredibly effective and efficient, why can’t there be more love for it?! Did you ever think about that? Well guess what??

burpees

I get it. Burpees are hard AF. However, they get results, and that’s what we’re after, right?Burpees are a full body exercise that work pretty much every muscle in the body, meaning that you can burn more calories in a lot less time. They help you develop strength, explosive power and anaerobic endurance. And conveniently, they can be done anywhere with no equipment necessary. That’s right, ANYWHERE. So next time you’re at Whole Foods….just saying 🙂

According to Wikipedia, the burpee was named in the 1930s for American physiologist Royal H. Burpee who developed the burpee test. As part of his PhD thesis, he created the burpee as a simple way to assess fitness. The exercise became popular during WWII, when it was adopted by the US Army to assess the fitness level of recruits. Originally, the burpee consisted of four steps:

  1. Squat down and place both hands on the floor in front of you.
  2. Jump feet back into plank position
  3. Jump feet forward.
  4. Return to standing.

Today, it is commonly done as a 6 step exercise:

  1. Bend over or squat down and place both hands on the floor in front of you, just outside of your feet.
  2. Jump both feet back into plank position.
  3. Drop to a push-up—your chest should touch the floor.
  4. Push or snake up to return to plank position.
  5. Jump feet back in toward hands.
  6. Explosively jump up into the air, reaching arms straight overhead.

Here at Fuse, we generally do the 6 step variation, and prefer this definition:

burpee-def

Commonly done among inmates….so this month, you guys will be our inmates, and we will be working on the most badass exercise around.

The challenge for the month will be to increase your burpee stamina and will be tested as such: 5 rounds of 60 seconds of burpees followed by 60 seconds of rest in between rounds. You will tally the total amount of burpees you do in all 5 rounds, and that will be your score. Each week, you will perform this challenge (you only need to do once a week, you will have something else to do during this time if you have already completed yours for the week) and the goal is to improve your score each week. We will be giving out prizes to the awesome coffee cart at Flowerland on Solano Avenue for best improvements. However, the strategy is not to go super slow the first week on purpose just to win. While we will be awarding the biggest improvements, we will also be taking into consideration the best efforts all the way through the challenge.

Alright, let’s do this! And maybe, just maybe, we can get just a few likes for the dreaded burpee by the end of March.

burpees0likes11

At the very least, Pascha and I will increase that number to 2 people 🙂

Yours in health,

Kristin at Fuse Fitness

Geoff Piller’s Fuse Fitness Success Story


Hi Fusers!

This week Fuse Fitness would like to highlight our member Geoff Piller!

screen-shot-2017-01-17-at-5-18-16-pm

Geoff is one of our most dedicated clients when it comes to his health and fitness. He is self motivated, extremely consistent and laser focused. Before class even begins, he is off to an early start with a quick sprint outside and then comes inside to foam roll and stretch. Something about Geoff that demonstrates his great work ethic is that while everyone else takes a break to chit chat, he never stops, speeding through his workouts staying super focused, while most others have stopped to talk. He is usually the first one in class to finish an AMRAP or RFT workout.  Afterwards he can repeat everything that was discussed/small-talked about in class–he takes multi-tasking to another level–“listen while you work”.

This sentiment is shared by all of us trainers here at Fuse–Geoff is one of the sweetest people we know. He is one of our biggest cheerleaders and is such a caring and giving person. He always has something encouraging and/or positive to say. And let us not forget what an amazing baker he is! And he shares with us 🙂

Thanks to incredible members like Geoff, we have such a wonderful, interesting and supportive fitness community! With that being said, here is Geoff’s Fuse Fitness success story in his own words:

“I was a long time runner and used this method of exercise to stay in shape. I developed a hamstring injury and had to evaluate whether I could continue to run.  I concluded that running was making me fit, but it was not a complete total body workout- I felt limited. I decided I could get a better return by putting the time into a bootcamp style workout. My goal was to have overall balanced fitness, weight loss, and efficient use of my time.

“Some of the challenges I have encountered were working out with other people, as well as being inflexible.  I now enjoy working out in a group setting and have slowly achieved flexibility victories over time at the Fuse. Lastly, I hate Turkish Get Ups or any other exercise that begins with the word Turkish and still cannot jump rope. However, I do have many strengths and would like to focus on the things I’m good at.  I’m able to keep up with people in class who are considerably younger than me and I like the challenge of a rigorous workout. I can also sprint up the hill several times in a row like a bat out of hell and able to to exercise and play well with others.

screen-shot-2017-01-17-at-7-20-58-pm

Working on the dreaded Turkish Get-Up…

 

“Overall I feel like I am in much better shape than when I was just running.”

Very true, Geoff! When he says he can “sprint up the hill several times in a row like a bat out of hell” he is not joking one bit. Geoff, you are an inspiration to everyone here and we truly appreciate you!

Yours in health,

Fuse Fitness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melinda Pilling’s Fuse Fitness Success Story!


Hi Fusers!

We would like to take the time to honor and highlight one of our awesome members, Melinda Pilling. Melinda has been working her butt off with us since October 2013. We are so proud of her because she sets such an amazing example of how hard work pays off.

screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-4-01-12-pm

Not only has Melinda been super consistent with her attendance throughout the last couple years, she ALWAYS gives 100% to each and every workout. As fitness coaches, we find watching her workout to be so inspiring. Her double kettlebell cleans and goblet squats are done with perfect form and she always goes for the heavier kettlebells! We often notice others look at what she’s lifting, and get inspired to try to take it up a notch in their own workouts.

Melinda blazes through interval training and AMRAPS with sweat pouring down her face, never missing a beat.  One of Melinda’s secret weapons is sprinting–she’s fast!  I love watching her run when we add sprinting to our workouts, because it’s like, “now you see me, now you don’t!”

We love that she sets such a great example for her two children by making a healthy lifestyle for herself and her family a priority. This is something we admire about all of our Fuse parents.

We have some amazing members here at Fuse Fitness, so keep an eye out as we continue to share their stories. Everyone has a story that can be inspiring, as well as providing recommendations and insight through their experiences.  That being said, please enjoy Melinda’s success story in her own words below.fuse-fans

“As an attorney and the mother of young children, I was not able to fit regular exercise into my schedule for many years. Four years ago, my family and I moved to an apartment near The Fuse. For the first several months after our move, every time I walked past The Fuse, I glanced at the schedule. I recall seeing something called “Monkey Ninja Bootcamp” that was scheduled for 6:00 a.m. and thinking–who are these crazy people?

“One day I mentioned to a friend that I had been wanting to find a way to exercise regularly, but with my work, hour-long commute into the city, and my kids, it seemed impossible. She said, “You live near the Fuse, right? You should try it. The instructors are very supportive. They help you learn how to do the exercises properly so you don’t injure yourself and they work you hard–strength and cardio, lots of variety. It is definitely an efficient use of an hour.” I went to my first 6:00 a.m. Monkey Ninja Bootcamp class that week. I remember running up a hill with a heavy ball held over my head as the dawn was breaking. I was sore for three days. I loved it.

screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-4-01-59-pm

“Over time, I have become a regular at the 6:00 a.m. Monkey Ninja Bootcamp classes. In addition to the efficient, fun workouts that fit in my schedule, The Fuse has provided me with a sense of community. Kristin and Pascha do a wonderful job of fostering a cooperative, mutually supportive environment at the studio, building community through events like bring-a-friend outdoor bootcamps, kickball games and cocktail hours, and supporting the larger community through group volunteer activities, canned food and winter coat drives and sponsoring a struggling family during the winter holidays.

“The Fuse keeps me feeling physically strong, focused and grounded.”

Melinda, we love having you and love the mornings when your two adorable kiddos show up at the window when you’re working out to wave hi and make silly faces! You truly are an inspiration to us and everyone else here and we value your hard work ethic and your kindness. Thank you for being part of The Fuse community!