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updated: 4/1/2013 11:11 AM

Trainers keeping contestants motivated, accountable

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  • Trainer Wade Merrill times Fittest Loser Greg Moehrlin holding a plank.

       Trainer Wade Merrill times Fittest Loser Greg Moehrlin holding a plank.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Fittest Loser Megan McCarthy-Cook is all in with the help of her trainer, Steve Amsden.

       Fittest Loser Megan McCarthy-Cook is all in with the help of her trainer, Steve Amsden.
    Bob Chwedyk/bchwedyk@ dailyherald.com

  • Trainer Brodie Medlock is setting up Fittest Loser Mike Paulo for success after the competition ends.

       Trainer Brodie Medlock is setting up Fittest Loser Mike Paulo for success after the competition ends.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Trainer Tony Rinehart may not be Fittest Loser Marianne Costales-Roman's best friend, but he is her biggest encourager.

       Trainer Tony Rinehart may not be Fittest Loser Marianne Costales-Roman's best friend, but he is her biggest encourager.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Teaching Fittest Loser Joe Gundling to hang tough is the work of his trainer, Tony Figueroa.

       Teaching Fittest Loser Joe Gundling to hang tough is the work of his trainer, Tony Figueroa.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Trainer Michelle Amsden intends to keep Fittest Loser Karen Castillo "uncomfortable" for the remainder of the competition.

       Trainer Michelle Amsden intends to keep Fittest Loser Karen Castillo "uncomfortable" for the remainder of the competition.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
By Gerry Alger
galger@dailyherald.com

The Fittest Loser contestants and their trainers have been working together for two months. In that time, the personal trainers at Push Fitness have gotten to know their contestant's strengths and weaknesses and they're using that knowledge to motivate them for the remainder of the competition.

Karen Castillo/Michelle Amsden

Trainer Michelle Amsden sees a familiar pattern with Karen Castillo.

"I can see the difference in motivation between the first four weeks of the competition and the second four weeks we just completed," Amsden says. "It's easy in a competition like this to be motivated in the very beginning. What counts is the motivation through the entire 12 weeks."

So Amsden's goal is to keep Castillo uncomfortable and regularly remind her why she entered this contest in the first place.

"If she gets too comfortable now, she'll do the same after the competition," says Amsden, who has seen it happen before with past contestants. "They finish the competition, they get comfortable and end up back where they started."

Greg Moehrlin/Wade Merrill

Greg Moehrlin's focus when he started the competition, according to his trainer Wade Merrill, was to learn how to change his daily lifestyle habits and how to exercise properly. That

lasted for the first month.

"In the past four weeks, Greg has found a new gear," Merrill says. That original focus has morphed into a resolution.

"Before I would tell him what to do and he would do it," Moehrlin's trainer says. "Now, I tell Greg what to do and he asks me, 'How much time do I have to complete it?' so that he can crush the time limit.

"Greg is achieving goals he never thought he'd reach. His tenacity in our workouts and his desire to go the extra mile is inspiring!"

Megan McCarthy-Cook/ Steve Amsden

Megan McCarthy-Cook has Steve Amsden breathing down her neck and she's hanging tough.

"Every time we train together she surprises herself and me with the exercises she can do," Amsden says. "Last week she did box jumps (squatting down and jumping onto a box) without wavering, complaining or questioning. She just sucked it up, trusted me and did it."

Amsden regularly reminds McCarthy-Cook that if she's not happy with the results she's getting, she needs to do more, work harder and eat cleaner.

"The results you get from your training will be proportionate to what you put in," says the trainer.

"Megan went from struggling to push herself through simple workouts, to training and pushing her limits like an athlete,"Amsden says.

McCarthy-Cook's work ethic will serve her well because Amsden promises her training will get tougher heading into the last month of competition.

Mike Paulo/Brodie Medlock

"Mike is a very willing student," says Brodie Medlock, Fittest Loser contestant Mike Paulo's trainer. "He's very willing to put in the work to achieve his goal."

Medlock wants to instill in Paulo an understanding of what it takes to keep his progress rolling.

According to Medlock, it's very easy for Paulo to do what he's made to do when I'm in his ear.

"What will happen when he's on his own?" the trainer wonders.

"Mike is already a leader, a winner, a man of integrity, a father, a husband, a coach," Medlock says. "The goal is to become the best version of all those roles."

Joe Gundling/Tony Figueroa

"Joe is a good kid who trains hard," says trainer Tony Figueroa of contestant Joe Gundling.

Although, according to Figueroa, it wasn't that way at the beginning.

"He thought he could do whatever he wanted. He's a teenage kid who didn't understand the work that needed to be done," Figueroa says.

A thousand burpees and 300 sit-ups later, Gundling started to understand the point his trainer was trying to get across.

"I'm teaching Joe to respect himself, me and his family," he says.

Gundling gets that right and Figueroa promises, "Joe will surprise everyone."

Marianne Costales-Roman/Tony Rinehart

Sometimes the trainer-contestant relationship can be a bit contentious, especially when both parties have had a long, busy week. At least that's how trainer Tony Rinehart explains the disagreements between he and contestant Marianne Costales-Roman.

"They mostly happen late in the week," Rinehart says. "It's very early in the morning and we're both grumpy."

Rinehart is quick to say that Costales-Roman is an extraordinarily hard worker. In spite of a hectic work and personal life, from the beginning of the competition her commitment hasn't wavered, but she was getting a bit too content for Rinehart's comfort.

"There was a point in the competition where Marianne was content with what she had accomplished the previous day and felt she didn't need to work as hard the next," Rinehart recalls.

"Nothing fires me up more than someone who is content, especially when they're presented with an opportunity like the Fittest Loser" he says. "Marianne and I had a few words and needless to say, she's no longer content with being content."

Rinehart's clear that his purpose is not to be Costales-Roman's best friend but rather to provide knowledge and guidance.

"I'm not there to hold her hand," he says. "I'm there to make sure Marianne realizes that her best today can always be a better tomorrow!"


Karen Castillo, 37, Carpentersville

Starting weight: 206

Current weight: 194

Weight lost this week: 2 pounds

Total weight loss: 12 pounds, 5.8 percent

Marianne Costales-Roman, 37, Carol Stream

Starting weight: 222

Current weight: 191

Weight lost this week: 6 pounds

Total weight loss: 31 pounds, 14.8 percent

Joe Gundling, 18, Hanover Park

Starting weight: 264

Current weight: 233

Weight lost this week: 8 pounds

Total weight loss: 31 pounds, 11.7 percent

Megan McCarthy-Cook, 33, Hoffman Estates

Starting weight: 282

Current weight: 253

Weight lost this week: 3 pounds

Total weight loss: 29 pounds, 10.2 percent

Greg Moehrlin, 39, St. Charles

Starting weight: 245

Current weight: 219

Weight lost this week: 2 pounds

Total weight loss: 26 pounds, 10.6 percent

Mike Paulo, 59, Woodridge

Starting weight: 294

Current weight: 267

Weight lost this week: 4 pounds

Total weight loss: 27 pounds, 9.1 percent

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