Editor’s note: This is the second in a monthly series following a young woman’s weight loss goals.
It’s no secret that losing weight takes the right mindset, a healthy diet and a regular workout routine. Holly Hertel, 22, is in the middle of perfecting this trifecta to complete her weight loss goal of 200 pounds in less than two years.
She started working out with her roommate and personal trainer, Kyle Schmid, at Max Fitness in June 2012. At 372 pounds, she was limited in what she could safely do. Initially Hertel, like many people who don’t work out on a regular basis, was intimidated and worried about being judged about her technique, or lack thereof, in the gym.
“I had Holly walk on a treadmill to get her started and make her feel comfortable,”
Schmid said. “In the beginning we had to scale down the things we did, even basic things like planks.”
When she first started at Max Fitness, Hertel primarily used the treadmill and controlled weight machines. Within a couple of weeks, she transitioned into using free weights, slowly increasing the weight she was using.
The more Hertel understood what she was doing at the gym, the more comfortable she became and the more she wanted to go.
“I used be so nervous to go to train at the gym that I would get stomachaches,” Hertel said. “I realized that I was more scared of failing than actually doing the workouts; I know I’ll work my way up to whatever they want me to do.”
Living with her trainer has helped keep her honest and has intensified her transformation attitude. Schmid and Hertel share professional time at the gym where he is her coach and also time when they go in as friends and exercise without the routine’s pressure.
“She has become more and more dedicated since we started,” Schmid said. “My goal was to get her to feel comfortable so she wouldn’t get stuck and make excuses to not go.”
The amount of time she goes to the gym increased from an hour four times a week to six days a week.
“She’s so motivated that I have to make her take a day off every once in a while,” Schmid said.
Her workouts vary, focusing on a different part of the body each day. The routines incorporate Max Fitness’s main training components: a dynamic workout, core stability, strength, power, finishing with high intensity movements and flexibility for a myofascial release. Schmid believes Hertel will be able to maintain a minimum weight loss of 2 to 3 pounds per week until she reaches her goal weight. Currently, she is losing 4 to 5 pounds a week.
“The more muscle she has, the quicker she will burn the fat,” said Casey Matthiesen, Max Fitness’s general manager.
Hertel’s workout program is full-body and has evolved over the last eight months to include incremental goals so that she doesn’t plateau. When Hertel began working her leg muscles, she started with hip sleds, air squats and low box step-ups. Later on, Schmid had her do squats with weight resistance, lunge squats, wall sits, lunge jumps and deadlifts to work her hamstrings, quads, gluts and calves. She also uses free weights to work her triceps, biceps and shoulders.
“I can already make my own workouts and am starting to see myself as my own leader,” Hertel said.
Early last week, Schmid started sharing his training responsibilities with a female trainer, Michelle Williams. The two will alternate throughout the week to maximize Hertel’s workouts and growth. Hertel will continue to work with Schmid while rotating through other personal trainers.
“Michelle’s style is similar to my type of training and will be good for Holly,” Schmid said. “This experience will broaden her workout knowledge so she can have different knowledge for her future.”
Hertel has only met with Williams twice but has already learned new things about herself through the new workouts.
“We have done things I didn’t do with Kyle,” Hertel said. “Our workouts are higher intensity and incorporate new things like cycling.”
Another of Hertel’s focuses is increasing her cardio in preparation for her first 5k run on April 21. She routinely uses the stair stepper and elliptical machine and jogs on the treadmill to build endurance.
Hertel is also working with Amy Achilles, operations director and personal trainer at Max Fitness, who has completed 22 marathons, to prepare specifically for April 21’s Transform You 5k. Hertel meets with Achilles once a week and completes endurance training twice a week on her own.
“It only took a month to be able to run my first mile,” Hertel said.
Matthiesen said he continuously sees Hertel’s spirit grow and that she is an inspiration to others who come into Max Fitness and in the community. By integrating Hertel’s 5k into a community event, he hopes to further connect her with others in the community who are afraid to take the first steps to a healthier life.
“We want to get the community behind her and get them to change the way they think about someone they see who is overweight,” Matthiesen said.
Max Fitness West is holding an information session at 2 p.m. today for anyone who wants to find out more about the nine-week 5k training program. The program kicks off Feb. 12 with the first group run taking place Feb. 17. The nine-week class will teach those who have never run before different techniques to make their efforts more efficient for a 5k.
The class will meet Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays until April 14. The sessions are $25 for members and $50 for non-members; for non-members the price includes a membership for the duration of the course.
“We want to get everyone from the starting line to the finish,” Matthiesen said.
Meanwhile Hertel is working with Achilles to perfect her running technique by learning how to properly pace herself and build endurance. Hertel has gone from being able to jog 60 to 90 seconds at a time to running her first practice 5k Feb. 6.
“My goal is to take the anxiety out of running and to help everyone to finish feeling good,” Achilles said. “I don’t ever want someone to have a bad experience running and not want to do it again.”
Achilles uses her GPS to track Hertel’s speed when they run together to make sure they maintain a set pace for the duration of the entire run.
“Many new runners start out too fast and burn out, but its about endurance rather than speed,” Achilles said.
It took Hertel roughly 40 minutes with a warm-up and a cool-down to complete her first 5k.
“I was super tired afterward, but running that far wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be, and I did better than I thought I would,” said Hertel.
Achilles is confident that by the time she runs the official 5k in April that she will be able to shorten her time.
“My biggest 5k goals are to keep up with the crowd and run the whole thing without walking,” Hertel said.
The next phase in Hertel’s routine will be to adjust her strength training from an hour six times a week to a half hour and to increase its intensity. Parker is also incorporating an extra rest day on Wednesdays to give her body the time it needs to recover.
He stressed the importance of monitoring what Hertel’s body is telling her. People frequently start fitness programs and don’t pay attention to what is and isn’t working.
They then get frustrated when they’re not getting instant results. For Hertel, working closely with personal trainers and nutritionists guarantees that her mind and body are always being challenged.
“It is important to keep going and always have something to reach for,” Matthiesen said. “We walk this walk together.”