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Healthy Habits 2018- Change Your Life With the Power of Movement

Exercise has changed my life. Blah blah blah, said every workout freak/personal trainer ever. But seriously, I mean it. And not just in the changes I’ve seen in my body or how I feel physically or in the mental clarity I receive after sweating out half my body weight. Exercise has brought me to some of the coolest, most unique, most down-to-earth people I could have ever wished to meet. They have taught me things I never would have otherwise learned, and just been there for me to act as a sounding board. Because that’s what’s great about people who take care of themselves, they care about others and want the same for them too.

Lucky. That’s really the only word I can think of to explain how I feel to have met and be surrounded by such incredible people in my 22 (almost 23 now-yikes) years of life. I always talk about the power of communication, and it really is so true. Only through communication could I have ever been introduced to Andrew Shoen, a personal trainer at Elevate Fitness, and without my interaction with Andrew, I never would have found relief through massage with Missie Schlegel. These two have really changed my life for the better in such a short amount of time, both through their advice when it comes to exercise and stretching, but also just through the conversations I’ve had with them. It’s always such a breath of fresh air to talk to people who think like you, who see the value of living a heathly life and setting aside the time to take care of your body.

Taking a page out of their own book, I knew immediately after my massage with Missie and workout with Andrew when I was home over break that I could not hoard this information and keep it to myself. I want to share everything I’ve learned from them with all of you, and give you the opportunity to experience all they have to offer for yourself. I asked Missie and Andrew both a series of questions I’m hoping will help motivate you to keep up with your New Year’s resolutions as February draws nearer, and with any luck, change your life entirely the way I changed mine!


J: How/when did you decide to become a personal trainer?

A: About 6 years ago, I moved back to Syracuse. I had been through a teaching career and relationships that didn’t work out as planned, and realized I was nearly starting over at age 30. It was just as good a time as any to attempt to do something I always wanted to do, and something I felt passionately about. Fitness had changed my life in such positive ways, and I wanted to do the same for others. I spent that summer studying for training certification, and when I had passed, I asked the Gold’s Gym I belonged to for an opportunity, and I never had to look back from there.

J: What does a typical day look like for you?

A: I typically get up very early each morning (4am) to start my day, and usually am involved with working in some capacity until about 8pm. It is certainly a very long day but one that is very rewarding. I also like the aspect of managing my own business. I train on average from 5am until noon or 1, working with clients of all different varieties. Then I try to take a few hours away to recharge for my evening sessions, either by just eating lunch and taking a quick power nap in my car, or by going to get a massage or sauna or float tank treatment. I am big advocate of self-care!! My body goes through different stages, and at the moment it seems late night workouts have been my best. Believe it or not I somehow have lots of energy at the end of my long days, and my workout helps me unwind at the end.

J: What is your favorite part about working with your clients?

A: My absolute favorite part of my work has to do with the very close interpersonal relationships that I develop with many of my clients. I think this has helped to get them results not only in the gym, but outside of it as well, transcending the mere accomplishment of achieving fitness goals. There is nothing that could be more rewarding to me!!

J: If you had to condense everything you believe about healthy living into a motto, what would it be?

A: Simply put, I would tell people to “be their best” both in fitness and in life, and to find and allow themselves to experience happiness, whatever that may be for them. I find a great correlation between what we accomplish in the gym to its application in daily life. When people achieve great things in our workouts, they then are able to tackle the world (jobs, relationship, etc) with a newfound confidence.

J: If you could give one piece of advice to people looking to make healthy changes in their life, what would you say?

A: We are given this one body, and oftentimes don’t take care of it. Why is that?! People take better care of their cars and lawns than the very vessel in which they reside. You don’t have to settle for getting by every day. Do things that make you feel great. Make your body a priority, the biggest one, and you will develop the health and drive and longevity to do all other things you want to do. Im not talking about looks or six-pack abs; I’m talking about training and developing your body to be strong, conditioned, mobile, flexible, balanced, and pain-free. When that is the prime focus, your health will greatly improve, and you will be able to do the things you wish to do. The aesthetics will come along as they will as you reach whatever genetic potential your particular body possesses.

J: What would you tell people who say they don’t have time to meal prep/workout/etc.?

A: I challenge everyone to take an honest look at their day and time spent and see where they can find even one hour a day to something for themselves and their wellness. I bet it’s there and can be taken from something that doesn’t best serve them. You don’t have to obsess and be a bodybuilder and strive to get your 12th cut in your abs to be worth something and to look good. Life and happiness is truly about balance.

J: What does your daily workout look like?

A: Because I myself am very busy, I do workouts that maximize the use of shorter time intervals. Of prime importance is stretching, foam rolling, myofascial release and mobility training. As I get older (35) I’ve come to appreciate this; it doesn’t matter how I look when I can’t move freely and effortlessly, nor can I best perform my workouts. In the workouts themselves, I use a combination of powerlifting, functional multi-joint movements, and high intensity intervals to get the most out of the time I have. I don’t have time anymore to do an hour on the elliptical, arms day and then an ab circuit. Not only was this time consuming, but it also created dysfunction in my body. I’m now getting so much more out of my workouts, and doing so in less time, which is a necessity when trying to balance a heavy work schedule, family, and my own health/wellness and overall enjoyment of life. Again life is about this balance; where one aspect gains another suffers, so all we can do is find the best balance of all that works for us as individuals. But the prime focus has to be on health, because nothing is possible without it.

Interested in a personal training session? You can find Andrew at Elevate Fitness, located at 7455 Morgan Road, Liverpool NY. 


J: How/ when did you decide to become a massage therapist?

M: I became a massage therapist 2 years into working at Upstate as an occupational therapist. I was seeing the lack of actual healthcare… we were providing sick care. Like sticking a Bandaid on a wound instead of properly cleaning and healing it. Then I developed shoulder impingements, which brought me to seek treatment, in Canada, at the Myodetox Clinic. They changed my life so much, and I wanted to give other people what they had done for me. I was living with chronic shoulder pain for about 2 or 3 months. I started noticing that I was becoming severely depressed because of the pain. That’s another huge reason why I do what I do, pain management and prevention, because it’s crucial for people’s mental health.

J: What does a typical day look like for you?

M: I typically start my day at 5 a.m., take the dog out, eat some vitamin gummies and make it to CrossFire for the 6 a.m. class. From there I eat a high protein and carb breakfast, and start the day. I’ll typically see between 3-6 clients per day, fitting in food and water where I can. Sleep is highly important to me- I try to be in bed by the latest at 10 p.m. every night.

J: What is your favorite part about working with your clients?

M: I love when my clients text me about working out pain free, feeling good or hitting a PR. It’s also amazing to be able to facilitate the healing process for people, bringing awareness to areas they didn’t realize were tender or causing pain in other areas. I also love teaching people proper breath work with movement. I can literally watch someone melt into themselves, giving them a calm state of mind.

J: If you had to condense everything you believe about healthy living into a motto, what would it be?

M: If you invest and take care of yourself now, aging will be easier (by investing I mean with meal prepping whole foods, exercise and regular bodywork.)

J: If you could give one piece of advice to people looking to make healthy changes in their life, what would you say?

M: You have to love yourself no matter where you’re at. We all fluctuate, that’s normal. If you don’t love yourself when you’re 10 pounds overweight, you won’t love yourself when you hit your new goal weight either. So start by being kind to yourself, and meal prep. When your meals are already prepared for the week it’s a lot easier to stay on track. Also, fitting little treats into the week is doable. I use MyFitnessPal to track my meals. It’s made me have a much healthier relationship with food.

J: What would you tell people who say they don’t have time to meal prep/workout/meditate?

M: You have to make time or it’s not important to you. I’ll usually tell people to cut out social media before bed and get their asses on the floor to stretch out. It helps you get into a meditative state and sleep like a baby. As for meal prepping- crockpots are your best friend! If you dedicate 1-3 hours one day a week you can have a full week’s worth of lunch and dinner prepared. For breakfast, I like to do gluten free oats and protein with fruit. It tastes like cake and it’s super fast and easy. If I’m on the run, Wegmans sushi is always a safe go-to. Be mindful of small snacks when you’re hungry, like protein bars low in sugar, or hard boiled eggs, which are also great options.

J: What do your daily workouts look like?

M: I do CrossFit regularly. I usually arrive 10-15 minutes early to wake my body up with gentle movement and stretching. I refer to myself as a “lifestyle crossfitter,” adapting the workouts as I see fit to keep my wrists and hands healthy for my massage clients. After the workout I’ll spend more time in static stretches, holding them for a longer period of time. I will also incorporate imbalance days on my own to work on isolated muscle groups to maintain balance between working with a barbell. Yoga most nights before bed. Movement is the most important thing we can give to our bodies. People have to find what works for them. I hated Crossfire for a good three months, then fell in love. I’ve been doing it for over four years now. Walking is also one of my other favorite forms of exercise. It’s great for fat burning and is low impact on the body.

Interested in a massage session? You can find Missie in her Movement Love studio in the Delevan Center, 501 W. Fayette St., Suite 235, Syracuse NY OR follow her on Instagram here.

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