The engine driving the Fittest Loser Challenge contestants can be found in the seven personal trainers from Push Fitness in Schaumburg. Each of the competitors will be fueled with nutrition advice, guided through rigorous workouts and encouraged over the next 12 weeks by these highly skilled fitness experts.
Michelle Amsden is a certified personal trainer and boot camp instructor with eight years experience in weight loss. Amsden, a marathon runner, has competed in three marathons and three half marathons.
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Keep up on the contestCheck out our Fittest Loser page at http://www.dailyherald.com/entlife/health/fittest for the latest stories, plus videos of all the contestants and an interactive map tracking the community teams.
She specializes in a variety of training styles for weight loss and muscle toning. She is passionate about health, running and training hard. According to Amsden, the best part of her job is encouraging, teaching and pushing her clients to work hard within their capabilities.
A NASM-certified personal trainer, Steve Amsden is in his fifth year participating in the Fittest Loser Challenge. He trained the winner of the first competition, Lisa Notarnicola, in 2009.
Amsden has a decade of training experience in all facets of fitness and nutrition. He specializes in cardio strength training, which entails high-intensity circuits utilizing free weights, kettlebells, medicine balls, etc. His style is ideal for fat loss, muscle gain, body shaping and overall toning.
"I have little tolerance for excuses and complaining," he says. " Everyone wants results, but that only comes with discipline, hard work and dedication."
With nearly 30 years experience, Tony Figueroa specializes in a wide variety of exercise techniques, including boxing, weight training, martial arts, bodybuilding, fitness competitions, athletic conditioning and nutrition.
"I like to challenge the body and mind and build client confidence," Figueroa says. "I believe anyone can achieve results if they work hard, discipline themselves and stay consistent with that discipline."
Figueroa is working with contestant Joe Gundling.
M. Brodie Medlock
Brodie Medlock is a licensed chiropractor and NASM-certified personal trainer with a bachelor's degree in exercise physiology from the University of Oregon and a doctor of chiropractic degree from Parker College of Chiropractic.
Medlock, a lifelong athlete, has competed in soccer, basketball, football and track. He currently enjoys participating in CrossFit competitions, sprint triathlons and myriad adventure races to stoke his competitive fire.
Medlock implements the latest exercise and nutritional research into his clients' programs to enable them to realize their greatest potential for living. He utilizes a wide variety of fitness modal to build fitness levels while maintaining peak client focus on constant goal setting and achievement.
Wade Merrill, who trained the winner of last year's Fittest Loser Challenge, Michael White, is a certified personal trainer and boot camp instructor with seven years experience. He and his wife, Joanna, enjoy running, biking and training together.
ACSM-certified, Merrill specializes in weight-loss training, high-intensity boot camp training as well as stabilization training. Seeing the evidence of a changed lifestyle is Merrill's favorite part of personal training.
Tony Rinehart, an ACSM-certified personal trainer, received a bachelor's degree in kinesiology from Western Illinois University. While in college, he developed a passion for training and healthy living.
Rinehart combines functional strength training with high-intensity interval training and flexibility.
"I believe that with positive mental alteration, physical change is within reach," he says.
Personal trainer and owner of Push Fitness in Schaumburg, Joshua Steckler received a bachelor's degree in kinesiology from Indiana University. He is ACSM certified with 15 years experience.
Steckler, who trained the winner of the 2011 Fittest Loser Challenge, Bob Pearson, specializes in high-intensity, total-body and functional training styles to enhance fat loss and muscle density and enjoys combining ballistic movements with functional exercises to improve body composition, strength, balance, power and stability. He enjoys training in the gym, but really loves getting outside and staying active through running, hiking and mountain biking.
Steckler is training "Our Fittest Loser," Daily Herald copy editor Melynda Findlay.
-- Gerry Alger