2020 Fittest Loser writer: Three areas my trainer has attacked

  • Dick Quagliano, the Daily Herald's Fittest Loser insider, is training with Push Fitness owner Joshua Steckler.

      Dick Quagliano, the Daily Herald's Fittest Loser insider, is training with Push Fitness owner Joshua Steckler. John Starks | Staff Photographer

By Dick Quagliano
Posted3/8/2020 7:28 AM

It is time to get fit.

I have always known the value of exercise. But just because I knew what I was supposed to do, didn't mean I necessarily participated.


I have worked out on and off throughout my life. I had equipment in my basement and joined various health clubs. The one thing I have not done in a very long time was work out with a personal trainer.

I had one in high school when I was playing football. I got into the best shape of my life. At 18.

I'm 63 now. Out of shape. Hamstrings and other muscles and tendons as tight as drums. While my lungs are nice and clean, it has been some time since they got a real deep breath.

Not anymore.

Thanks to the Fittest Loser Challenge, I have the chance to work out with a personal trainer and do all the things the contestants, Barbara Simon, Van Dillenkoffer, Jennifere Lux and Neil Madden, get to do.

Josh Steckler, owner of Push Fitness in Schaumburg and one of the sponsors of Fittest Loser, was assigned to be my trainer.

Coming in, frankly, I was bit worried. I knew I had never been successful working out on my own. but the thought of having a trainer brought me back to my football playing days. I grew up in the '70s when coaches would run you until you dropped.

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I never coached that way. Sure, I was tough on my players, but times and training techniques change. We worked hard, but smart. And I always made sure I never hurt anyone.

From my first workout with Josh, I immediately knew this would be a great fit.

Josh told me, "For someone who's new to exercise or just getting back into it, we focus on establishing good movement patterns. Full range-of-motion, balance and core activation are great foundation builders."

It is just what I need. I can say with the utmost certainty that all three phases were in dire need of a complete overhaul.

I knew my range of motion was way off because I have some shoulder issues. I've noticed I have lost about 50 yards on my golf shot.

My core was like chewy caramel. And my balance, well, I could hardly stand on one leg for any amount of time.

The workouts last about 45 minutes and I go twice a week. Josh has focused on all three phases, as he said he would.


In addition, I go Saturday mornings to Fittest Loser "boot camp." These have been run thus far by Michelle Jeeninga and Steve Amsden. They are two of the Push Fitness trainers with whom contestants have been working. I am also looking forward to working with trainers Patrick Stille and Nicole Caliva.

Boot camp, is well, boot camp. The trainers work us hard, but give us time to recover. More about that in later column.

On my off days, I am walking on the treadmill at home at a very fast pace. I also take walks with my wife, Debi, and our dog.

Josh has been very patient with me and I have heard compliments about the patience of the training staff at Push Fitness from the four contestants. Working with a trainer makes a tremendous difference.

I also have begun to do yoga, which I have always wanted to try. Miranda, who is the instructor, and the rest of the class have been extremely patient to a guy who can't do a tree pose (I guess they call it Vriksasana).

I really like it and hopefully one day soon, I can do a Vriksasana without tumbling off to the side like a fallen tree.

Why haven't I done this before?

The reason I always gave myself was lack of time. I work in sales and write on the side. That accounts for a lot of time in my day. Add in family, friends … well, excuses, I know.

The realization finally hit me is that my days could be limited unless I changed what I was doing. So, I rearranged my schedule to do something this important.

I have a great gift here. I am going to make the most of this extraordinary opportunity.

• Dick Quagliano coached youth football for 32 seasons and has been a freelance high school sports writer for more than 40 years, the last seven with the Daily Herald. In addition, he maintains his full-time day job as a packaging salesman. He and his wife, Debi, have two adult sons, Michael and Anthony.

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