These are ordinary people, just like you.  We all have a champion within!

Personal training in Blue Ash resulted in weight loss

The awakening moment for Susan was when she reached size 12.  It was then that she decided to make a change and “never go back” and chose private personal training…..

Read her story….


Kate Thesing.  Orthopedic surgeons could not help her.

Many things can happen unexpectedly due to letting other responsibilities weigh one down and take over. Something that you think would never happen to you…but when not paying full attention…it can happen….putting on too many pounds while focusing on everyone and everything else, but yourself as time moves on.

Unfortunately, I let that happen to me from 2005 until 2013. I put on too many pounds while taking care of my elderly parents 24/7 and along with my two little children at the time. Thus, becoming overweight and out of shape then, I wasn’t the same, healthy Kate anymore. I got injured snow skiing too as a result of the weight gain and being out of shape. That more than likely happened because of all the extra weight and lack of strength.  Click to read more.

Patti M

Patti McElroy.  Back surgery loomed.

In her 60s, Patti was facing a seriously invasive back surgery that she feared would slam her quality of life.  6 months after the surgery, she climbed to the top of a mountain in Europe with her husband.  She chose semi-private training and had remarkable results. Read more….

Lisa Olson.  Transformed in her 50s.

In her 50s, Lisa saw what the future offered with a less than healthy lifestyle, and decided she wanted something better.  She came to us as a private personal training client.  To read her incredible story, click here.

elderly fit man

Dick Thomas.  Started exercising at 91 years old!

Dick Thomas came to us after his daughter and Sensible Fitness client Sally Hayes (and granddaughter Emily) thought it would help with his mobility.  At 91 years old, you just don’t get around like you used to!  Dick’s doctor agreed and thought that exercise could help his COPD (chronic onset pulmonary disease).  Read more…

Farah Robinson.  Fighting Scoliosis and more.

I was officially diagnosed with Scoliosis at age 16. I adjusted to the imbalances of my body and remained physically active. My lifelong back troubles did not end there.  I was diagnosed with Spondylolisthesis at age 25, a condition when one vertebra in your spine slides forward and out of place.  This impacted my daily activities by requiring frequent rest breaks due to pain.  Read more…


Kathy Dubbs.  Obese with multiple orthopedic issues.

Retired, morbidly obese carrying over 200 lbs in excess weight, with two total knee replacements, neuropathy, arthritis, and developing back issues.  I had lost over 100 lbs on a 20 week medically supervised diet of meal supplements with no exercise or lifestyle changes.  It was 5 years before I gained it all back.  Read more about the results of her private training by clicking here.

healthy senior citizens

Warren and Gretchen Hensel.  Maximizing quality of life.

It’s hard to believe that we are beginning our sixth year semi-private personal training at Sensible Fitness.  As we began to get older, we often talked about really needing to get serious about exercising…and then a few weeks later, we would have the same conversation again.  I discovered Doug’s Sensible Fitness program on TV and was impressed with his knowledge….Read more…

Trevor lost 90 pounds

Trevor Phelps.  Lost 90+ pound and quit smoking.

Trevor had been living a sedentary lifestyle when he came to Sensible Fitness as a semi-private client. He habitually enjoyed many of the “usual’s” such as soda, junk food, and eating out. He also had very little physical activity. Like many people, he got moderate activity such as walking or lifting while at work, but lacked real exercise in his life. Read more…

Angela Nickel.  Her incredible spirit while fighting Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body.  Angela Nickel suffers from MS and came to Sensible Fitness, choosing private personal training, to improve her quality of life.  This is her story…

sensible fitness champion

Ryan Davis.  Facing the challenges of dwarfism.

Ryan Davis faces the challenges of dwarfism head on, and certainly does not let it hold him back.  Besides being an Eagle Scout, and a Rescue Scuba Diver, Ryan played football through his entire high school years.  He has received the Award of Courage and competed in the World Dwarf games where he…read more…

Mainville personal training client Colleen
Colleen, Mainville, OH

Colleen is a semi-private personal training client from Mainville that has Multiple Sclerosis but it does not stop her from achieving a higher quality of life.  Here is her story….

My husband Marty and I started working with Sensible Fitness back in February and my main goal when I started this journey was to improve my overall health.

I was apprehensive when I started because I have MS and really wasn’t sure what I was going to be able to handle. I am not someone who let’s my disease define me but never pushed myself when it came to exercising and fitness. With help of my personal trainer, it turns out that I was a lot stronger than I thought. While my 25 lbs weight loss isn’t anywhere close to Marty’s 70 lbs, I do see changes. Over the past couple of weeks, I had a couple of events that validated my progress and commitment to this lifestyle. The first was during a business trip to NYC, I was able to climb to the top of ‘The Vessel’. ‘The Vessel’ is a new tourist attraction in NYC that you can climb to the top to get great views of the city and is 18 flights of the stairs to the top. I would have never had been able to climb to the top if I hadn’t committed to changing my lifestyle back in February. The second was during a family event where I had so many people mention that I looked great and for the first time in awhile I actually liked how I looked in the pictures.

I can’t wait to see how I feel and look after the next 6 months. Thanks for having such a positive impact on my life.


personal training client Marty, holding dumbbell

Personal training client, Marty, has lost over 50 pounds and 5 pant sizes since he started with us, less than 6 months ago!  When he started, his ankle arthritis was a huge limitation to his quality of life.  It was difficult to even walk without pain.  Today he is walking 30 minutes a day, and being encouraged by his personal trainer to start bumping up the speed and incline on the treadmill.

Congratulations on your weight loss and improved quality of life Marty!

Personal training client Ryan with parents

Congratulation is in order to personal training client Ryan Davis!  He just graduated college with a degree in Civil Engineering from Valparaiso University.

Many of my long-term clients have seen Ryan grow up before their eyes, as he came to Sensible Fitness as a freshman in high school when he started personal training to prepare him for football.  Those that have been around Ryan know that he is a motivated and ambitious man.  Before he even graduated high school, his list of accomplishments is longer than what most people acquire in their entire life.

~ Rescue scuba diver

~ Eagle Scout

~ Lettered in 4 years of high school football

~ Award of Courage from the National Football Foundation

~ 2nd place in power lifting at the World Dwarf Games, competing at age 16 against men of all ages.

And now he is a graduate of  Valparaiso University!  He will be working for Michigan Department of Transportation, and living in Kalamazoo.

Bobby after losing 50 pounds

Bobby Revis is pictured here after losing 50 pounds.  He left us for awhile but emailed me a few days ago and said he was in a hospital bed getting ready for surgery the next day for a broken femur he suffered in a fall.  He was asking to return to Sensible Fitness after his surgery and continue his journey to better health.  I told Bobby that we would make the rest of his life, the best of his life.  Sadly, Bobby died from a blood clot after this surgery, just hours after he emailed me.

Bobby will be remembered by myself and others for his huge heart and comical nicknames he had for a variety of exercises.  “Rolling Thunder” was the bag flip, pulling the tire was a “Drag”, and the list goes on.  I always called Bobby “Champ”, and he was just that.

Personal training in Blue Ash resulted in weight loss

Cancer survivor, Susan Ernst, came to Sensible Fitness to become healthier and to live a higher quality of life.  The side effect of every day healthy habits is weight loss, and as you can see the results are dramatic.

Local 12 news picked up on her story and invited us down to the studio so her story could be shared with others.


Cincinnati personal training client who lost weight

Lisa came to us in her 50s and has since totally transformed.  Proof that it is never too late!

To learn more about her story, you can click here.


If I had to pick one person to represent the success of Sensible Fitness, it would be Jeremy Hedman. Hands down. Nobody else comes close.

Imagine waking up in a hospital of a foreign country, missing an arm, needing a ventilator to breath, unable to communicate, and not remembering anything from recent history. This is only an abbreviated version of injuries to Jeremy who was in a tragic industrial explosion, while working in Brazil for a local company. But from Jeremy’s life changing tragedy, comes a story of triumph and inspiration.

In 2008, Jeremy was admitted into a Brazilian hospital, after an industrial furnace he was working on exploded, traumatically amputating his right arm, crushing his trachea, causing head/brain injuries, sternal fracture, two collapsed lungs, ruptured jugular vein, trauma to his aorta and subclavian arteries, and damage to his spine. Others were killed.

After spending a lengthy term in a Brazilan hospital, he was transported to Cincinnati, where his hospital stay continued. To add insult to injury, it became apparent that Jeremy had suffered a stroke at some point in time, causing catastrophic loss of muscle control throughout his body, which disastrously included his only remaining arm.

Without the use of muscles in his left arm, Jeremy’s independence and quality of life would be minimal.  The muscles that straighten his elbow, and the muscles that control his wrist and fingers were non-functional.  This means that Jeremy could not perform the simplest of tasks.  Imagine not being able to straighten your elbow or to use the muscles in your only remaining hand.  You could not reach for and pick up a fork, a toothbrush, or a tissue to blow your nose.  You become dependent for everything.

To increase his functional ability, Jeremy underwent a series of surgeries to transfer muscles in his left arm.  The biceps, a muscle that bends the elbow, was detached and moved to help assist in straightening the elbow.  Other muscles were also moved that gave him minimal control of his wrist. Still more were moved simply to allow him to move his fingers.  While these surgeries increased his ability to move his elbow, wrist, and fingers in some directions, it hindered his ability to move in others.  Simply put, you cannot rob Peter to pay Paul when it comes to function….something pays the price somewhere.  None-the-less, the surgeries were the lesser of two evils.

After post-operative physical and occupational therapy, Jeremy was discharged, while still being severely limited in his ability to perform many of the daily tasks that you and I take for granted.  He remained largely dependent on others, and had a diminished quality of life.

This is when Jeremy’s employer, being dedicated to his full recovery and providing all means necessary, brought Jeremy to Sensible Fitness.  Knowing of our education and experience, and also that we embrace challenges, hoped that something else could be done to help him.

Jeremy walked through our doors barely able to walk to the bathroom independently, and had the simplest of goals. He wanted to be able to walk through Wal-Mart without getting tired, and he wanted to fasten his own seat belt.

Putting together a plan of attack for Jeremy’s program was not easily done. It took a few sessions to simply figure out which muscles were working and which were not, as his medical records did not agree with the reality of what I was seeing from a functional sense. Jeremy jokingly said that his medical records should simply say, “broken”.

Exercises for Jeremy had to be uniquely designed, because of his compromised functional ability. When muscles that gives your body a certain motion are not working, you have to strengthen accessory muscles and find other means to accomplish the task at hand. More and more exercises were developed as Jeremy’s fiancée (now wife), Amber, shared her thoughts on improving his day-to-day function, as she was witnessing his struggles first hand.

Jeremy had horrendous balance issues from his injuries. He also could not pour his own glass of milk, or even get up from the floor independently. As time went on, Jeremy’s list of goals increased, yet remained simple goals of performing daily tasks. Weeks into his program, Jeremy was gaining more function, as his muscles were getting stronger. As he got stronger, more advanced exercises could be added, that further enhanced his abilities. The goal of fastening his seat belt was reached, and a new goal of being able to drive was established.

Jeremy had no use of his chest muscles, and was unable to completely turn a steering wheel to the right. Again a series of unique exercises were developed, which included turning a 100 pound suspended weight plate that mimicked a steering wheel.


P1000419 - Version 2


Today, Jeremy is not only fastening his own seat belt, but he is also driving independently.  He is getting up from the floor independently (with weights added), and pouring his own glass of milk.

And what about Jeremy’s goal to walk through Wal-Mart without getting tired?  To date Jeremy has completed four 5K (3.1 mile) walks, and recently celebrated a belated honeymoon in Yellowstone that included much walking.  Amber also says he is not dropping and breaking dishes like he used to, because his grip/arm strength is greatly improved.

Jeremy is in continual total-body pain from the trauma to his central nervous system, and he never speaks a word of it.  He will have this pain for life.  Even though he is always hurting, Jeremy comes to every personal training session and does everything that we ask of him, without complaint.  He is happy to have the ability to perform the exercises we give him.

Jeremy is an amazing man, and has humbled many clients at Sensible Fitness, as the modest ache or pain does not seem worthy of complaint after seeing the challenges he overcomes each and every day.  He demonstrates incredible courage and bravery….you know, the stuff movies are made of.  I am proud to say he is my most incredible client ever, and my friend.

blue ohio personal training client

Three years ago this month, Ryan Davis at 16 years years old, crushed a 160+ pound bench press and won a silver medal
at the World Dwarf Games.  The international field of seasoned veterans included men
twice his age with many years of training under their belt.

sensible fitness champion

Helping him reach this incredible accomplishment, and actually seeing it unfold was one of the coolest things
I have ever experienced in my professional career.

As you can see, I played it calm and cool and
remained stone-faced.

blue ash ohio personal trainer

Traci with her husband

My sister is a massage therapist and has been telling me about her client, Traci Lindholm for years.   I finally had the chance to meet Traci and her husband Curt a few weeks ago. What an incredible couple with an “out of this world” story of inspiration….

In 1986, at age 17, life as I knew it changed in an instant. I was in a car accident that left me on a ventilator and paralyzed from the neck down. Between the ICU and rehabilitation, I spent 6 months in the hospital. Though the doctors were able to wean me off the respirator, I remained paralyzed from the neck down with limited use of my left arm. I had to figure out a new way of living. I was faced with a decision, a decision I have to make every day: sit around and be miserable or live the best life possible.  On August 16th, 2016, I will celebrate 30 years of living with a C2-C3 spinal cord injury and 13 years of marriage to my husband, Curt, who also has a spinal cord injury.

During my rehabilitation, I ended up an outpatient at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, home to one of the best spinal cord injury centers in the world. This is where I began see that part of living the best life possible means staying active. Fortunately, I was able to train my legs using FES (Functional Electric Stimulation).  I purchased an Ergys bike, with my mom’s help, and I have bike shorts equipped with electrodes that allow me to ride.

By staying as active as possible, people with paralysis can experience:

  1. Reduction in muscle spasms
  2. Prevention or retardation of muscle atrophy
  3. Increased blood circulation
  4. Muscle re-education
  5. Maintained or increased range of motion
  6. Prevention of venous thrombosis post-surgery
  7. Other physical and psychological benefits

In addition to staying fit and active–despite my physical limitations–I maintain a sensible diet. I drink a lot of water and NEVER leave home without it.  I love to eat, but I limit desserts and junk foods. I never deprive myself of any particular food, but you won’t find me eating a whole piece of cake by myself. I will typically share a dessert with somebody or simply limit myself to a few bites.

I try to keep my brain active as well. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Drake University with a Bachelor’s degree in finance and my Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling.  I also have a home-based business selling Rodan + Fields skin care products.  Not only have I finally found a product that treats my acne, I’ve also found a business I can work into my life as a quadriplegic.  I am also a big sunscreen advocate after being diagnosed with early stage melanoma in January 2016.

After almost 30 years of paralysis, I have had very few complications. I attribute this to “riding” my bike, twice-a-day range of motion, maintaining a sensible diet, trying to lead a “normal” life, and a supportive husband, family, and friends.  I could not ask for more!

My husband, Curt, sums up life pretty well, “If you can’t change your situation, change your attitude.”

Traci on her bike

Let me remind you of how Kathy Dubbs started at Sensible Fitness. 60+ years old, 2 total knee replacements, and morbidly obese. She walked from her car directly to our bathroom to sit on the toilet and catch her breath. She literally could not walk a couple hundred feet without being exhausted. All her exercises needed to be sitting on equipment because she could not stand for long, and certainly could not get up from the floor if we put her on the ground.

kathy is nearing 100 pounds of weight loss

My how times have change.  Kathy is now closing in on 100 pounds of weight loss. BOOM!  She has progressed from short walks between sets of exercises to a mile long walk before a total body workout with her trainer.  I might add the mile long walk was down Cornell Rd. towards Sharonville and back, which is basically one monster hill. BOOM!

Kathy is routinely on the floor doing exercises and getting up independently, along with bursts of cardio on the stationary bike or race walking between sets of weight training exercises.

In April, she went on a family vacation to Philadelphia that included 2.3 miles of required walking. Before Kathy’s lifestyle change, this would have been impossible. Here are her words:

“2.32 MILES…..ME…..2.32 MILES! I appreciate you and Patty so very much for what you have so patiently done for me …you have given me my life back!  I would have dreaded this trip with walking and could not have participated without the milestones you are pushing me to achieve.  I am beyond thankful for what you have done and will continue to do to improve my health.  My friends are amazed from when I saw them all last April!

You are doing so much good Doug….I just hope you realize how valuable what you do every day is for your clients.  Not many careers where you can truly improve somebody’s life like you do!”

Working around the limitations of Kathy’s two total knee replacements have included bumps in the road, but her focus, perseverance, and trust in our guidance have kept her moving forward.  Each time in the gym, she has reached a new milestone.  Although some are bigger than others, they are all milestones and have added up to boomin’ results.  Her hard work and dedication to health was recently recognized by her doctor when Kathy was taken off of a blood pressure medication she has been on for over 15 years! BOOM!

Kathy has now committed to her first 5K walk in July!


This is the unedited message from our client Freddie Thoman regarding surgical weight loss surgery.  Powerful stuff!

Hello and best wishes to the entire Sensible Fitness Family.  My name is Fred Thoman; “Freddie” to all whom know me.  I am sharing this learning from my personal journey back toward personal fitness in hopes that it brings anyone considering Gastric Bypass Surgery/Bariatric Surgery  (GBS) additional information and first hand knowledge from my experience.  I, like so many have fought the battle of weight all my life. Thankfully I have always been rather active and at times and like now; actively engaged in weight training with Dear Friends and Trainers.

Nevertheless, life has its way of creating new challenges and if we are honest with ourselves….how we react to those challenges shape our fitness world.
In 2003 at the tender age of 45, I was tipping the scale (freight scale) at 551lbs (and climbing). Although I was not exhibiting any major health issues (yet), My Primary Care Doc and close personal friend counseled me to consider weight loss surgery. His very trusted opinion could foresee my relatively good health as a fleeting reality.  This “share” in no way replaces the sound advice from your Physician. In many cases this surgery is perhaps a last resort in order to deal with overriding health issues that must be addressed immediately by significant weight loss!


During my experience I have also met and heard the stories of other (GBS) patients who saw this surgery as a “SHORTCUT” to weight loss and really did not fit the profile typically set forth by the (GPS) guidelines (typical profile for GBS candidate was minimum 100lbs over “proper height/weight”).
Many have the surgery while not meeting this criteria.  I am here to tell you that there are NO SHORTCUTS to fitness and good health.  I lost 260lbs in under 6 months (went from size 7X to wearing XL), but doing all the wrong things and NOT properly following the support provided by my (GBS) team. I did NOT enter into a proper workout routine and did NOT change my eating behavior; I basically just stopped eating.

Along with the weight loss went muscle mass, iron, potassium, hydration and assorted necessary nutrients that proper nutrition intake provides. My surgery was a virtually flawless procedure and outcome with “zero” complications but for the ones that I alone am responsible for. Not all patients have this “success”.
Over the 8-10 years following (GBS) that unchanged behavior as well as other stresses brought back most of the weight that had been lost.
My sincere message which has no agenda, is simply this…………………………………..The positive and necessary outcome you seek will ultimately ONLY come from embracing your NEW EATING BEHAVIOR with WORKING OUT.

My journey is ongoing, I am only sharing the wisdom that I found the hard way. I am not nor ever will be perfect but I’m on the right path.  I pray this helps those of you seeking insight; I am happy to freely discuss the (GBS) process from “my perspective” to anyone interested.

I am actively working out each week with Friends at Sensible Fitness and am down 115 of those regained lbs. I have maintained these losses over the past many months and now plan to once again double my efforts with even better nutrition, as I readdress my weight loss plan.  Have that tough but enlightened talk with your Doctor and if approved; make your move to a better, healthier life without surgery!


Sincere wishes for success and great happiness to all considering these major life-altering decisions, Freddie



Freddie after losing weight


LisaOLisa saw what the future offered with a less than healthy lifestyle, and decided she wanted something better.  This is her story…

“I have struggled with my weight and fitness level all my life and have been up and down many times.  In the beginning of 2015 I was approaching my highest weight and body fat… once again.  With some blood work results also showing my numbers going in the wrong direction and my physical strength at a low, I realized it was time to make a change or really face a future of poor health.

I didn’t feel like I could make a change this significant on my own, I knew I needed some professional guidance.  Over the past few years, I had seen information about Sensible Fitness
and it seemed like a great option.

In my beginning workouts I was even weaker than I thought – it’s hard to start on the weight machines and not even use one plate! But the trainers were very encouraging and motivating – starting where I was and pushing me to improve with tons of helpful advice along the way.   It has been satisfying to see the weights add on as the months pass.

One more thing I needed to add was more cardio to continue to improve my endurance and burn more fat.   In January of this year, I decided to take up running with a first goal of running in the Heart Mini 5K.  I’m thrilled to say I trained and completed the 5K – my very first one!  I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of Doug and Patty and the progress I have made at Sensible Fitness.  I’m continuing to run and looking forward to the next race too.

It has been a journey so far and along the way I have gained muscle mass and strength, lost weight and the doctor just stopped some medication!    I’m not at the finish yet, I still have a lot of work in front of me.  But it is worth the effort and I would encourage anyone who feels like I did a year ago to just get started – wherever you are.  I have met a lot of other really inspiring people along the way and they have shown me it is just as much about the journey as it is the finish.”

Lisa Olson

Sonya Hughes is a honorable graduate of lifestyle change.  After coming to Sensible Fitness years ago, she has maintained a healthy lifestyle and is still living large today.  This is her story…

I have struggled with my weight since 2004, after I was severely injured in an automobile accident. My most notable injury was a crushed pelvis, which left me immobile for several months. I started in a wheelchair, once I was able to get around with the use of a walker, I continued to receive physical therapy for nearly a year after that. Unfortunately, I let personal issues, and my fear of re-injuring myself, keep me from getting back into shape immediately. For these reasons, I allowed my weight to creep up from an average of 140 pounds to a staggering 200 pounds!

The even scarier thing is, obesity runs in my family, and very poor eating habits. Throughout my 20’s and 30’s, I was very cognizant of this and really worked hard at staying in shape, and keeping my body weight at a healthy range for my height.


Two years ago, my employer initiated a weight loss contest, which helped motivate me into getting back into shape, as I knew that using my accident as an excuse to live a sedentary lifestyle was getting old, quickly! I won that contest, by watching what I ate very carefully and walking an average of 5-6 miles every morning. Just by making those changes, I lost 40 pounds in three months! After winning the contest, I became addicted to walking every day, but very quickly got right back into the eating habits that I had prior to the contest.

While walking every day has helped me to keep my weight from creeping back up, I am really struggling to lose the last 20 pounds, and that is why I called Sensible Fitness. I realize that restricting myself to 1200 calories every day and walking from here to Tim Buk Tu every morning isn’t going to solve my weight issues long term. I need to learn lifelong skills from trainers who know what they are talking about, and are going to put me through my paces, when I start to falter.

This isn’t going to be easy, nothing worth having ever is. This is an investment into my future, and my long-term health. I feel very comfortable at Sensible Fitness, and the trainers have been very insightful and motivating. I am very happy in the knowledge that one day soon, I am going to have the body back that I lost, and took for granted for the last six years.

-Sonya HughesSonya.pig

UPDATE:  Sonya successfully completed the Flying Pig Marathon and maintains a healthy lifestyle to this day!

Kathy Dubbs came to Sensible Fitness a year and a half ago.  These are her words…..

Retired, morbidly obese carrying over 200 lbs in excess weight, with two total knee replacements, neuropathy, arthritis, and developing back issues.  I had lost over 100 lbs on a 20 week medically supervised diet of meal supplements with no exercise or lifestyle changes.  It was 5 years before and gained it all back.  My lifestyle had become sedentary, one of TV, my recliner, take out and restaurant food; if I did cook, I had to sit on a stool in the kitchen.  My body was so weak and out of shape I couldn’t get up of floor, couldn’t actively play with the grand kids, was exhausted and out of breath just walking down the driveway to the mailbox.  I took small steps, bent over, and out of breath.  I always looked for a place to sit, I was exhausted everywhere I went.  I had no energy, no strength.  I was in serious trouble health wise.

I had never exercised or strength trained before.

My first day, Doug suggested I arrive early to warm up.  I thought to myself, exercise before I exercise?  I was out of breath by the time I walked across the parking lot. In the beginning months I used to sit and hide in the restroom to catch my breath from the walk in….. then grab a towel and stroll slowly around the gym for my warm up …sweating, hurting, hoping not to get out of breath before my workout even began.  Ten crunches and I was out of breath.  I had to do all my exercises sitting on a bench as I didn’t have the strength to get on and off the floor.  I couldn’t even get my arms over my head for various arm exercises.  Everything hurt.  I couldn’t do more than one exercise standing without having to sit in between and rest before the next exercise.  A walk outside from the back door to the front door of the gym was nearly impossible. I lacked both the balance to sit on a stability ball and the strength to go from sit to stand.  I could only lift light weights.

They continued to challenge and encourage me every workout, making adjustments, trying new things, slowly increasing weight, reps, walks, cardio. Crunches went from 10 to 15 to 30 to 50+.  I was shown techniques to get up and down off the floor, and soon I had gotten strong and confident enough to try, and it worked.  I now am able to do floor exercises, and play on the floor with the grand kids.  I am strong enough and have improved my balance to get up and down off the stability ball, even doing push-ups on the ball.  My warm ups went from hiding in the restroom to rowing, now to 10-15 minutes on the bike.  My reps went from 15 to 20 to now I can even do a more challenging timed interval workout.  And my weights are getting bigger in size!  I actually am having fun in the gym and developing confidence that more is possible.

2 minutes, level 1 on the stationary bike at 30-50 rpm was nearly impossible several months ago.  Each week I have been challenged to do a little more, last week I was able to bike 12 minutes at 80 rpm level 2 and recover fairly quickly.  Now level three is possible for short durations during a ride.  Recently we started on the elliptical, a machine I thought I would never be able to use.  It was a challenging 5 minutes, but we even did it a second time.  Me on an elliptical!  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could exercise like that!

I have taken advantage of nutrition and eating classes offered, and continue to learn ways to eat cleaner in addition to strength training.  I am loosing weight, my clothes are fitting better, taking walks, using my clubhouse gym, exploring new healthier foods, loving cooking standing up, have remarkably improved energy, endurance, and am so much more active overall.  My overall quality of life has improved dramatically.  I have a long and continued challenge to achieve the healthiest lifestyle possible and weight loss, but I have surprised myself looking back how far I have come physically, how much I have learned, how much stronger and motivated and happier and healthier I am…and I’m no longer hiding out in the restroom!


Here is a piece of a recent email I received from Erica Gripp, who earned 1st place in a Master’s Figure Competition.

Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!  That’s me at 60 years young.  Yes, I am in denial because I feel better than I did at 30!

Thank God for the gifts of discipline, perseverance, and commitment. (Having Charlie Gripp as my husband is a huge bonus, too, since he does the majority of the grocery shopping and meal prep.)

Doug, first of all, THANK YOU, for taking such good care of my dear, dear, friend, Debbie!

She loves you guys and I sincerely appreciate all of the support, encouragement, and guidance you give her.

2nd of all – tell your “senior citizen clientele” that they are never too old to accomplish their fitness goals.

And also, tell them that SUGAR IS THE DEVIL!!  These pix are from when I competed in the Monster Mash Competition.

See what you started?!?!?!  A healthy, fit, lifestyle is a good addiction. : -)Erica15a



Doug sets the record straight…

I often hear gals saying the muscularity is not appealing.  Let me school you.

With this type of competition, the contestant gets super lean, through diet and exercise, so that muscle definition is easily seen on contest day.  After going back to a normal healthy lifestyle, a thin layer of welcomed fat covers Erica’s muscles, and then she goes back to merely looking incredibly smoking hot.

So don’t be a hater and say “I would not want to look like that”.  Trust me, you would.

Look ya’ll, no bra bubbles!

Jerry Rape came to Sensible Fitness in 2009, when he was 66 years old and has since turned his health and quality of life around full circle.  His story is quite inspirational, and he is kind enough to share it with us.

Jerry came across our TV program a couple of times and it caught his attention, but he was not interested in pursuing a healthier lifestyle at that time.  “It was much later.  I was not sick but I felt sluggish all the time, and I was also dealing with greif from losing my wife, so I decided to make a change”, Jerry recalls, “that is when found you on the internet and emailed you.”  After sending the email, he thought he would not hear back from us, but he got a response within just a few hours.  Jerry remembered saying to himself “These guys are either really good, or else business is really slow”, and he jokingly says today “that obviously business was slow”.

Jerry made a commitment to living healthier.  He drove from downtown Cincinnati, to us in Blue Ash, three times a week.  He also started riding a bicycle regulary with his nephew and totally restructuring his eating habits.  Jerry follows the nutritional guidance of Dr. Furhman who is an author of many books on improving your health through lifestyle changes.

Jerry then moved to Santa Rosa, CA for a few years, where he continued his lifestyle with yoga, bike riding, strength training with a personal trainer, and a faithful dedication to healthy eating.  Nothing is more rewarding for us than when a client fully commits to a healthy lifestyle outside of Sensible Fitness.

Now, we are blessed that Jerry has moved back and returned to us at Sensible Fitness.  Jerry is still bicycling over 50 miles per week, strength training with us, and also playing water volleyball regularly.  He has been seeking out new adventures that are afforded him from the higher quality of life that healthly living brings.  He recently went soaring in a glider.  A glider is towed a mile high into the sky by a motorized plane and then released to glide back.  “It was an incredible experience.”  This autumn Jerry plans to go zip lining.  At 72, he does not plan to start acting his age anytime soon.

Check out Jerry’s soaring flight…

Roger Neff is an Evendale firefighter that had a mandatory fitness test lurking in his future. A big problem that faced him was a terribly painful knee condition known as Chrondromalacia. A part of his fitness test is carrying a heavy load of gear while going up steps, and with this painful knee condition it would make that impossible.
Chondromalacia is when the underside of your knee cap becomes irritated and extremely painful. Often times the cartilage is wearing awayRoger.Weight.loss because the knee cap is not tracking properly in the groove of your knee joint. Going up and down stairs is one of the worst and most painful things you can with a knee that has this condition.

Roger turned to us for help in passing his fitness test, because with a failing grade, his job was in jeopardy. And I should mention another problem that was challenging Roger was that he was overweight and a smoker, putting away a full carton of cigarettes a week! This was going to also make the stair climbing aspect of his test outrageously difficult from a Roger after weight loss from a cardiovascular standpoint. He was going to be wiped out after the stairs, which is the first event…how could he possibly go on and conquer the push-ups, sit-ups, and overhead ladder lift (only to mention a few)???

With only 10 weeks to go from his test, Roger committed to us for 2X per week. We established a program that would strengthen the muscle around his knees in order to get his kneecap tracking properly. We also focused a great deal of attention all the various muscle groups that would help him with the other events. We encouraged him stay after his workout and ride the stationary bike to increase his cardiovascular endurance, while also promoting weight loss.

So how did he do? Roger’s story has a two-part happy ending. First off, Roger passed his fitness test on the first attempt. This in itself was an incredible accomplishment, as Roger completely transformed his fitness level in 10 short weeks. But the best part of Roger’s story is where he is at presently.

Roger is still with us today and continues to move his lifestyle in a healthy direction. He has cut his smoking down from a full carton a week, to a pack a week. He stays after every workout and rides 30 miles on the bike, a total of 60 miles a week! His knee is much better, he has lost weight, strength and endurance are greatly increased, and he reports higher energy levels along with a drop in his waist from 40 to 38. When I asked him to list all these results he just shared, he ended with the best words a trainer can hear from a client…”overall better health”. That is the magic stuff!


You may have heard Kate’s story before, but I just cannot resist giving you an update.  Kate came to us years ago and was obese and literally unable to tie her own shoes.  Her daugther had to tie her shoes for her because of a painful hip condition that two orthopedic surgeons could not help her with.  This hip also stranded her in the middle of Jungle Jim’s, where she could not take another step and had to call her family for rescue.

With a well planned strength and flexibility training program, along with attention to her eating habits, Kate has lost 80+ pounds and just finished her 3rd half marathon (13.1 miles) in the Grand Tetons National Park.  Kate invested in health care (lifestyle change) rather than sick care (doctors and drugs) and has a new life that she is running with.

What I love most about Kate’s story is that she made a decision not to be a victim of her medical condition.  She got off her ass and did something about it.  With the majority of disease being from lifestyle choices, millions of people can learn from Kate.  Your lifestyle and your quality of life is 100% in your hands.  Take charge.


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11145 Luschek Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45241
513-530-LEAN (5326)

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