Athlete of the Month Part 2. All in a Days Prep
Athlete of the Month Part 2. All in Days prep.
I trust, like I was, you were all inspired by Part 1 of Jimmy’s philosophy on life and fitness. I am taking you down a different turn, however, with Part 2. In Part 2, we are going to focus on his 20 week prep for IL State that he did with Coach Steve. This is your rare opportunity to get an in-depth look at what prep really consists of: the ups the downs, the injuries, the setbacks and the eventual triumphs.
When I sat down with Jimmy for this interview, my first question was: “Why would an accomplished athlete and personal trainer need someone to prep them for a show?” Firstly, I was reminded that why is the wrong question. Then, Jimmy stated that, being an athlete all his life, he has learned that you never disappoint the coach. Jimmy knows himself and that he needs someone to help keep him focused and hold him accountable. Remember friends, this is an accomplished personal trainer saying that he needs help with focus and accountability. Jimmy chose Steve as his coach because he needed two things: 1) a coach who was a natural bodybuilder and 2) a coach who could back up his approach. Coach Steve was and is that coach. Trust me, if you don’t think Coach Steve backs up everything he says then you need a checkup from the neck up, or just hop on feelfitastic.com and see for yourself.
The first hurdle to overcome during Jimmy’s prep was to remove from his mind what he felt needed to be done and fill it with the words of Coach Steve instead. Trust me for any trainer this is not an easy task. For example, Coach Steve believes in nutrient timing – or the right nutrients at the right time for your body. Jimmy followed the blood type diet approach and didn’t really regard nutrient timing as something important. That quickly changed for him. To get over this mindset, all Jimmy had to do was look at Coach Steve and see that he did exactly what he was instructing Jimmy to do, regardless of what season it was. Jimmy saw the proof in Coach Steve and with that Jimmy threw his hands in the air and did what Coach Steve said, word for word. After all, Jimmy being the respectable athlete that he is knows that you never disappoint the Coach.
Jimmy’s whole mindset began to change from what he thought he knew. He learned that like a car his body is only as good as the gas that he puts in it. That food is fuel, not entertainment or a means to fill a void. There were no “epic cheat meals” or binge eating. Jimmy just made minor changes to bad food. This was not all sunshine and (more…)
June Athlete of the Month
June Athlete of the Month
Part 1-An introduction
Where do I even begin to start with a story like you are about to read? Our June Athlete of the Month James has lived many lives and has one hell of a story to tell. So much so that like last month this will be split into 2 parts, with part 2 coming out mid-month. This is just the introduction to the man that is Jimmy Fascetta.
Jimmy’s early years were not something many would ask for. He was raised with four brothers by a single mother with very little income, all while dealing with family tragedy after family tragedy. There was enough hardship that no one would blame him if he lived his life in self-pity and eventually turned self-destructive, as most people often do when faced with similar situations.
Jimmy will tell you that his saving grace was a very special group of gentleman, also known as Coaches. Throughout his early life and teenage years Jimmy played various sports, most notably wrestling. His Coaches acted as father figures and refused to let him fall. Jimmy was taught valuable lessons such as overcoming obstacles, keeping your head up and looking forward and to always remember you have two ears and one mouth for a reason. The drive and ambition that eventually led to Jimmy’s success originated from his high school weight room. Everyday Jimmy faced the wall of Champions in that weight room and he decided early on that his name would be among them. This drive followed Jimmy well into college where in wrestling he won All American.
However, what you just read is not the reason we chose Jimmy as our Athlete of the month, many of us have had to overcome obstacles in our lives – albeit some more drastic than others. No, the reason why we chose Jimmy is because all of you need to see, hear and feel his attitude. It reaches far beyond the confines of fitness. His message is one that transcends life and leads to the ultimate happiness.
Jimmy will tell you the hardest thing in life is to be you: unabashed, unapologetically, proud you. You need to remember that people will hate you and people will love you but either way you will remain the same. That thought is what fuels him as the owner of Bench Mark Fit Club in Oak Lawn. That is what drove him to start 20 week prep for the Illinois State Bodybuilding Show (more on this in Part 2). His advice is to stay humble in life, create your own social standing and motivate your mind. This is what makes Jimmy our athlete of the month. Not enough of us are proud of ourselves – we are too busy pointing out our shortcomings. In fact, my interview with Jimmy made me realize I was even guilty of this. He questioned that if there are people out there saying negative things about you why in the hell are you joining them? Stand up for yourself and be proud. If you don’t like something, fix it.
Which brings us to Jimmy’s best message (one that personally hit me the hardest): why ask why? Jimmy encounters so many people that are always asking (more…)
Transformation of the Month Jan Wilson Part 2
Transformation of the Month Jan Wilson
I hope you all enjoyed part one of my Mom’s amazing story. In part two, however, we are going to take a closer look into what exactly Jan did to achieve her goals, and how she is continuing to reach new ones.
Even after her diagnosis Jan did not join a gym. A gym was just not her cup of tea and she knew it would only set her up for failure. So instead she put all of her focus on her meal planning and nutrition. In the initial first weeks, it was difficult for Jan to go from having coffee for breakfast, nothing for lunch and a big carb filled dinner at night, to eating 3 high protein, low carb meals a day. Jan often commented how interesting it was that she was a diabetic because of over eating, yet she was having trouble forcing herself to eat. Ah, the lesson of eating the right foods is never a fun one for any of us.
Jan found it best to stay consistent with what she ate and did not try to get too creative with her foods. She stuck to the basics, and that is what worked for her. So many times we find ourselves thinking that to lose fat or change our bodies we need to do something crazy, when simply focusing on the fundamentals is just as, if not more, effective. Jan’s biggest focus was on how many carbohydrates were in each of her meals and what her portions were. Here dietitian gave her specific directions on how big her portions of carbohydrates, proteins and fats should be – which of course Jan followed to the letter.
Like most of us who read labels, Jan found herself at odds with what was being passed off as “healthy foods”. A great example of her indignation is a story Jan told Coach Steve and I. When she went to the grocery store, a woman from Skinny Cow was handing out snack packs which contain only 100 calories in a few small bites. Jan, being smarter than the average consumer, looked right at the nutrition label. She saw that (more…)
Athlete of the Month: Mother’s Day Edition
Athlete of the Month: Mother’s Day Edition
In honor of Mother’s Day we are switching up our Athlete of the Month to Transformation of the Month. We are keeping this one close to the Fitastic family. It is my great pleasure to introduce you to this month’s Transformation, my mother, Jan Wilson. Who better to be our first transformation success story than the mother of the Wild Will Transformation herself? Coach Steve and I made the trip back to my home town of Menomonee Falls, WI to sit down and hear my Mother’s amazing story. Get ready to be inspired and to all the Moms out there, grab your tissues, you are going to need them.
Jan Wilson’s story began back in 1982 when she wanted to lose weight for her wedding day. She achieved her goal and looked amazing on her wedding day. However, the universe, it seemed, was determined to put back all the weight she had lost. First, her father was diagnosed with cancer in 1983. In between being a new wife, a full time employee of Miller Brewing Co and care taker to her father, there was no time to focus on eating the right foods to maintain her weight. When her father passed in 1983 she found out she was pregnant with the future Wild Will, and as often happens with pregnancy, more weight was gained. Then, before she could even get the baby weight off from her first pregnancy, my sister was conceived then born in 1986. Again, more weight was gained. From 1986 to 2012 Jan began her time in yo-yo dieting purgatory. During those years she would lose weight, gain weight, lose some more weight and then put it back on. She tried every diet from Atkins to Jenny Craig (much to my chagrin) all the while starting to accept that she was just going to be a big lady. She knew nobody could have everything they wanted – something is always sacrificed. She was married, she had great children, her sacrifice was her body: she was supposed to be big. Every excuse was made to take her mind off her weight. In fact, I can remember how we never had a scale in the house. According to my father it was because “a scale would do more airtime in our house
then most airlines.” Jan never really accepted how she looked; she just accepted that it was the way it was.
That is until October of 2012. During a doctor visit her A1C came back at 7.5 and with that my Mom was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. That is when my Mom had to come face to face with the reality and the mirror. In her own words “everything changed because health is not an excuse. I always said I would only change if it came to my health.” Well the universe heard her and this time it was on Jan Wilson’s side. Jan began the next step of her journey right away. She went to “diabetic school” as she calls it and had 4 classes with an amazing dietician who set her up on a meal plan that she turned into a lifestyle. Jan Wilson gave up every indulgence she has ever had, knowing that for the rest of her life she can only have “40-60 carbohydrates” per meal. It was all about carbs, insulin and blood pressure going forward.
Jan openly admits that she did not do this on her own. She did it with what she calls the “3 Fs – Faith, Family, Friends.” By friend she meant “real friends” the kind that you can call at midnight and they will come right over to help you, no questions asked, expecting nothing in return. In fact, her friends (a small group of PTA Moms I know as “The Momfia”), banded together to support their friend’s struggle. When they went away for a weekend each Mom brought meals that Mom could have based on her new meal plan or they picked restaurants in the area that would support her new lifestyle. I am forever grateful to these amazing women. (more…)
April Athlete of the Month
April Athlete of the Month
It is often said that we are not defined by our successes in life but our response to our setbacks in life. It is how a person reacts to setbacks that will define them and create the person they truly are. April’s Athlete of the Month, Anthony, is a young man who has faced numerous setbacks; however, not a single one has stopped him. With each setback comes a renewed sense of motivation and determination. As you read Anthony’s story think of how you have handled setbacks in your life or career. Allow Anthony’s setbacks and eventual triumphs over them to inspire you to dig deeper and continue to push towards your goals, whether they are fitness or life related.
Anthony began his professional career as a carpenter. That is what his family did therefore that is what he did. He played sports throughout his life and stayed in good shape working out at the gym. The thoughts of training, let alone competing, never crossed his mind. That is until the housing market crashed and suddenly carpenters were no longer in high demand. Sadly, most people in that profession dug their heels in and waited it out, and they are still waiting. Anthony, however, has not been one to wait around. He took the advice from his Mom, the one person who, no matter what, has his best interest at heart. His Mom, ever wise, told him that because he continued his workouts at the gym, why not work at the gym. With his Mom’s sound logic in mind, Anthony enrolled himself in the National Personal Training Institute (NPTI) here in Chicago. Six years later, he is a highly sought after personal trainer at XSport in Chicago Ridge. But that is not were his story ends.
In 2011 Anthony met the beautiful and equally talented, Ryann Condon. Ryann comes from a family of competitors; her father competed in bodybuilding and her mother in physique. That same year he went to Jr. Nationals, here in Chicago, with Ryann, and got his first look at the lifestyle of a competitor. That was all he needed. Ryann and Anthony began a 12 week prep together for Ottawa 2012, Anthony placed 3rd overall. What separates Anthony from everyone else on stage and what caught my eye, prompting me to speak with him, is that Anthony is one of the few trainers out there that actually practices what he preaches. He doesn’t only live a lifestyle of health and fitness, he embodies it. Upon speaking with Anthony, I could hear the passion and commitment for his clients in his voice. Anthony is a trainer who truly cares about his clients. This commended him further in my eyes as I firmly believe that that is the way all personal trainers should feel towards their clients.
Training just wasn’t enough for Anthony though, he needed something more. He found that sense of fulfillment as a Coach for (more…)
March Athlete of the Month
March Athlete of the Month
Congratulations to our March Athlete of the Month, Heather Hayes. As you will soon read Heather is not just another pretty girl in a bikini on stage. She is a strong woman, fierce competitor and an inspiration to us all.
Heather was like most girls her age in her high school and college days. She was not overly into fitness. She did just enough to maintain an “ok” shape. She wasn’t focused on hitting the gym every day or turning down a slice of pizza and a beer when offered. And, like most girls at that age, she was not very self-confidant; nor did she really feel comfortable in her own skin. She was just your typical, average everyday college girl. But that was never enough for her.
After college Heather admitted to really falling off the wagon when it came to proper nutrition and fitness. In fact, it wasn’t until January last year that she finally decided to make a change. Heather went to see a good friend of hers compete in a bikini competition. She watched her friend on stage and thought, I can do that. Heather imagined herself on stage in prime physical condition. She had a goal in mind and the drive and determination to attain it, now she just needed to find the accountability.
Heather found that accountability when she joined Team Motiv8nu Elite. Led by the talented friend of Feel Fitastic, Staci Boyer, Heather began her 20 week prep for her debut show. During those 20 weeks Heather enjoyed the feeling of strength and the changes she saw in her body that resulted from the workouts. But, like most of us, she struggled with the meal plans. She did not starve herself by any means, but the transitions were tough. She found it difficult to switch from fried chicken to grilled chicken, potato chips to spinach, etc. To Heather, sticking to a solid meal plan was the biggest challenge. It was a daily battle, both mentally and physically. There were times when she felt the need to sit down and cry it out, and I can definitely sympathize with that. Both Heather and Staci knew, however, that giving up was never an option. Finally, 20 weeks later, it was show time. Heather took the stage for the first time in Ottawa. To her surprise, she walked off the stage 1st in her class and took home the overall. Through hard work, determination, sacrifice and discipline, Heather Hayes was named the best bikini competitor that day. Next up: The Arnold Classic in February 2014.
And thus, another prep period began. This time it was not for just any show, this was the Arnold, one of the biggest shows in the United States. If you are an amateur (non-pro) competitor, this is the biggest stage you will step on before you become a pro. This stage can make or break your career. Heather and her Coach Staci knew it and they prepared well for it.
The Arnold happened exactly one week ago. We at Fitastic (me, Wild Will, especially) are so proud to announce that Heather Hayes placed in the top 10 in the first round and then placed 7th in the final round. Remember, this is only her (more…)
Ben Chimoski- Fitastic Athlete of the Month
Fitastic friends and family please join us in honoring our February Athlete of the Month, Ben Chimoski! Ben is a proud NPC National Competitor, Personal Trainer and Business Owner. When you hear his story you’ll understand why we showcased him in our community and why he exemplifies the title Athlete of the Month.
Ben starting competing six years ago in Body Building while in college. After taking a 5 year break Ben came back strong as a Mens Physique competitor. Ben last competed at the National level in our home city of Chicago for Jr. Nationals.
However it hasn’t been an easy road for our AOTM. If Ben were to tell you his short story, here’s what he would say:
“20 years old and barely 100lbs to 27 years old competing onstage at 155lbs. This is my transformation. From a sick teen struggling with Crohns
Disease and anorexia. Yes, a male physique competitor that used to struggle with self-image problems. I kept it a secret, but keeping secrets doesn’t help other with the same problem. I’ve transformed my body and my mind over many years and hopefully a lot more to come. If you have struggles, you’re not alone.”
As you can see Ben didn’t just wake up one day, put on a heavy spray tan, get up on stage, smile and win. Ben forged his path through hard work, discipline and consistency. For those not familiar with Crohns Disease, is a type of inflammatory l disease that may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, causing a wide variety of symptoms. It primarily causes abdominal pain, vomiting, or weight loss. Knowing this you can see just how much Ben has had to overcome to get where he is today and to continue pressing on. There is no cure for Chrohns Disease; but as you can see that has not and will not ever stop Ben. So the next (more…)
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