Testimonal No.12- Meet, Kim Beitz

When did you start training with Donovan?
I started training with Donovan about a year ago.
What led you to “Train With Donovan” and why?
I slipped a disc in my back and had a injured shoulder. I wanted to train with someone to help me strengthen my back.
What were some of the things you’ve sacrificed to make your training a priority? Why is your training important to you?
I sacrificed time with my family. Training is important to me because it keeps me healthy in mind and body.
Have you worked with a trainer before? If so, how does your current experience with Donovan differ from past experiences? If not, what are some of the positive experiences you’ve had so far?
 I have not had a trainer before but Donovan has always taken the extra time with me if I ever had any questions like explaining what to eat and when and why it’s important to different stretches and exercises that would best benefit my body.
How do you feel now compared to when you first started training with Donovan?
I feel stronger with my mind, body and soul after training with Donovan.
Would you recommend training with Donovan to others, and why?
I would highly recommend Donovan to others. Donovan helped me regain the strength in my back and my shoulder pain is completely gone. He is a professional that took the time to listen to my needs and knew what to do to help me. He also made working out fun!!
What do you look forward to in the future with your training?
I look forward to continuing to get better with everything from my mindset, form and strength.

Power Surge 2017 Write-Up

This past weekend, I competed at the USPA Power Surge 2017 Powerlifting competition in Carol Stream, IL. It was at a Holiday Inn. In a conference room.

 

The Weigh-In and Post Weigh-In Meal

 

I’ve been keeping track every day the week of the meet to see how much I need to dial back on the sodium and carbs. The last few days leading up to the weigh-in are the hardest, especially when you have to do a cut. I’ve been walking around fluctuating between 215-225lbs when I train. Since I know I will weigh-in between 9am-noon, I’ve checked once or twice each day between those times to get a realistic idea of what I might need to do if I’m over the 220 limit.

Though after years of competing I know that I lose water weight fairly fast when I stop lifting (when prepping for the competition). I chose to weigh-in in the morning so I can have the rest of the day to eat.

I drove 2 hours North to weigh-in and headed back to my apartment so I can sleep in my own bed. To me it was worth it and far less expensive (hotel + meals + gas). Plus, it was a nice day out and I enjoy driving. It’s calming for me…once you get off the Dan Ryan and out of Chicago!

After weighing-in at 219 I planned to have a protein shake with Magnum protein powder, fruits, peanut butter, OJ, oats and some ice cubes. I also had Pedialyte I picked up from CVS and had my awesome clients make me a batch of protein balls to snack on.

Lunch was a sammich with chips totalling easily over 2000 k/cals and 2 dinners: 2 rolls of sushi and a sirloin steak with 2 sweet potatoes.

 

Competition Day

My dog hates it when I pack to go places. It makes her nervous and so she defecates, urinate and vomits all over the place and won’t use the bathroom outside. She’s smart like that. Waking up not knowing how it was going to go, I was under some stress. I was also burying my grandmother 2 days after the meet.

Fortunately, I had 2 hours of driving early enough to watch the sunrise. It was just what I needed. Got to the hotel. Checked-in. Set up camp. Rules meeting and then the lifting begins.

One thing I’ve been focused on getting better at was competition-nutrition. Making sure I had enough of the right foods to keep me from cramping and have enough energy to push 100% every lift. Foods high in sodium would keep me from cramping and simple sugars/carbs that are fast acting would keep my energy up when I need it. However, I’m notorious for vomiting before I lift, but I made sure that I wasn’t too full of food coming into the meet. 

I made myself another shake for breakfast, loaded with calories, but easily digestible. Especially over a 2hr car ride. I got nervous as I always do, but I didn’t get sick. Diaphragmatic breathing and focusing on being in a parasympathetic system when I’m not about to lift really kept things calm and the food down.  My body felt amazing thanks to my Wellness Team: Erica Hartman Massage, Mitchell Family Chiropractic and my Life Coach, Rick Longstreth.

Here’s a video of the full meet:

 

Squat

Squat has become my least favorite lift. With a history of back issues and lack of confidence to go with it, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. But. I had goals. Sure enough, I fought like hell to get that third lift and I was super excited. It was a 17lb PR.

Bench

Bench had become one of my favorite lifts. Mainly because it was my weakest. I had a lot of fun training to get better at it because I knew I would improve dramatically. The best lift in the gym I’ve had was 350 (with a slight pause) a couple years ago shortly before I got injured. I knew I had more in me, but I had goals and I wanted to stick to the plan. I know I’ll achieve another personal best in next years competition whenever that may be. Until then, I’m going to be throwing up some big(ger) weights in the gym [finally].

Deadlift

By far my most favorite lift. Not because it’s the heaviest or the last. But because it’s what the audience (and judges) love to see. Brute strength. Picking up dead weight off the ground! It was a bit emotional for me because the image of my grandmother popped in my head. I failed my first attempt but got the second. The second attempt felt good, though it was 13lbs away from my final lift, which was still under my ultimate goal of 625. Nevertheless, I had made my second lift so it was worth taking the chance.

 

Summation

The meet was very well ran. With a lot of mass and broad shoulders. I wasn’t sure where the warm-up space was going to be. If it was in another room or in the hallway outside of the conference room. No. It was 8-10 feet away from the platform (you can see it in the photos). It was interesting. But. It had a “gym feel” to it; close quarters, 2 warm-up areas. Lots of heavy ass lifting and interesting smells. It wasn’t bad!

It helped that I knew all of the judges and saw them 4 weeks earlier when the gym hosted the Illinois State Championships. That and some Powerlifting Legends showed up. It’s pretty incredible all these people live locally and could watch what was one of the best performances I’ve had yet.

I’ve written down my goals on a post-it note several months earlier after my meet in March. I can proudly say I reached 2 out of the 4 goals I’ve set for myself. Check it out.

What’s great is that I still achieved all lifetime PRs:

Previous All-Time Personal Bests:
Squat 512lbs @196.2lbs (2015)

Bench 319.7lbs @196.2lbs (2015)

Deadlift 600.8lbs @177.8lbs (2013)

Total 1416.5lbs @196.2lbs (2015)

Power Surge 2017 Results:
Squat 529.1lbs

Bench 330.7lbs

Deadlift 611.8lbs

Total 1471.6lbs

What’s Next?

I qualified for USPA Nationals in Vegas next summer. I’d like to do a push-pull meet sometime before [for fun]. My Squat is something that I really want to continue to work on as I feel it’s my most uncomfortable lift. This way I’ll have time to get my legs bigger and stronger (sorry jeans…It’s about to get real) so my total can be more competitive and get back into the rankings again. This is another reason why I joined the USPA. For the challenge to push myself to be better than ever.

It had been a couple of years since I’ve been able to compete at a high level, but this meet assured me that I’m on the right track. 

 

                                                Gallery

 

Game. Time. . @uspaillinois @uspapower @trainhylete @hardmagnum #rawpowerlifting #USPApower #powerlifting #squat #bench #deadlift #fitfam

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Testimonial No.11: Gemma Billings

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I was never an athlete.  I still don’t call myself one.  But I do train for a better life, and that’s what I got from training with Donovan.

 

In mid-2013 I had constant, debilitating back pain.  Trips were cut short, housework got ignored.  Most doctors said “Exercise.  Take ibuprofen.  Stretch.”  Okay.  But the light bulb went up when my friend Marisa mentioned that she had a personal trainer and the three magic words: “No back pain.”  Well, sign me up.

 

I have skipped some days.  I have whined plenty, especially on days that were hot.  I have whined that I was too weak to lift a kettle bell.  But I still went and lifted.  Donovan Muldrow does not belittle you or yell at you.  He learns how you move and how you learn, he writes your workout programs, and most importantly, he teaches you what your body is capable of and how to do it right.  And despite my protests before (okay, and some during), I never, ever leave a workout feeling bad.  I am elated, and sweaty, and accomplished, and that is the mark of a most excellent trainer.

 

The back pain is gone.  Granted, it got replaced with a little soreness after leg day, but that reminds you that you worked on something and that something is developing.  I have biceps and quads now.  I move better.  I feel more comfortable in my own skin.  What you get out of training with Donovan is a new sense of self-respect, better understanding of the wonders that your mind and body are capable of, a strong desire to test and push beyond your boundaries, and you get the friendship of one of the best men you will ever meet.

 

As a side note, I noticed while writing this that I had a lot of difficulty finding a “before” picture, because I hated having my picture taken.  There’s a lot more recent ones now to use as “afters.”  That should tell you something.

Testimonial No. 9: Tami Hill Dean

When did you start training with Donovan?

 

I first met with Donovan to talk about training and do a trial session at the end of September 2015.

 

 

What led you to “Train With Donovan” and why?

 

I had not been happy with my fitness level for awhile when I came to first meet with Donovan. I felt like the person in the mirror wasn’t the person I had known most of my life. I had tried other diets and exercise choices in the past and due to “life” I had to quit what I was doing. It had been some months since I had done any regular exercise. I missed the feeling I got from working out and feeling good. It was something I did for myself and I missed it. When I started on this journey, I had not ever tried a personal trainer before, but I thought that it was worth a shot to see what I could get out of it. I sought out Donovan because some other people I know were always writing positive things about him and their workouts on my Facebook feed. After our initial meeting where Donovan listened to me talk about what my goals were, my thoughts about my body and exercise etc., I felt like this was the next step in my exercise journey. I left feeling like this was about my whole self and not just a weight or exercise routine.

 

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What were some of the things you’ve sacrificed to make your training a priority? Why is your training important to you?

 

Sacrifice seems like a negative word to me. I would rather say that I have purposefully chosen what is important to me. I firmly believe people find or make the time or money for people, things and/or experiences that are important to them. This is true in all aspects of life. I have chosen to make myself a priority; I have made financial decisions/choices to make training a priority. I could look at less shopping or eating out, etc. as a sacrifice, I suppose, but I have chosen to attempt to be as positive as I can in all areas of my life. Training is important to me because of how it makes me feel about me. I feel strong and happy. It has helped me come back to my true self in my life journey. I had honestly lost me for awhile, but now that I’m back I don’t see training leaving my life as a priority. I recently had someone ask me about my training and the cost. I answered, it is so important to me I am willing to forgo other luxuries in my life to make it happen. I can’t imagine training not being a part of my life.

 

 

Have you worked with a trainer before? If so, how does your current experience with Donovan differ from past experiences? If not, what are some of the positive experiences you’ve had so far?

 

I had not worked directly with a trainer before Donovan, so I don’t have anything to compare my current experiences. However, I will say that Donovan pays attention to me and has gotten to know me as a person. He can tell when I’m tired. He seems to know just when to push and add some weight. He will have you do things you didn’t even think were possible. Sometimes life sucks; when I need to use my workout to lose some steam, he accommodates that. I would say that I miss my sessions if I have cant come to one. I try not to miss at all; that is how positive my time with Donovan has been. Another important positive experience from this is that my kids get to see how important this is to me and I can model healthy body image and care.

 

 

How do you feel now compared to when you first started training with Donovan?

 

I feel amazing! I can see and notice the changes in my body and abilities. I can tell that I am more fit. I always think the most interesting thing to me is when I notice something that used to be difficult at the beginning, I now can do with ease. Overall, I am sleeping and eating better. I am a happier person. All of these things connect back to getting in my training sessions. I can say when I first started I was probably weighing myself more than I should. And while I was always wanting to be strong, the scale would still come to try to tell me a different story. As I’ve been on this journey I now focus on how my clothes fit and how I feel now rather than the number on the scale. I actually put my scale away. I haven’t weighed myself for 6 weeks. I have no desire to anymore. I have had a lot of people comment on “how much weight I’ve lost”. I’ve honestly lost around 2lbs. It isn’t about the weight. I don’t even have a weight goal anymore. It is about the leanness of my body and how I feel. I’ve dropped a pant size and am close to the next size. At the end of the day, I feel great about what I’m doing and myself. And, I’m totally in love with my new shoulders. 🙂

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Would you recommend training with Donovan to others, and why?

 

I have and will continue to recommend Donovan to anyone because he is fantastic at what he does. He builds you up and you don’t even know it. There is always a method to his “madness”! At the end of the day, when you come to training and are consistent, you will see improvement.

 

 

What do you look forward to in the future with your training?

 

I look forward to continuing to build my strength and push myself in ways I hadn’t even thought of doing before. I’ve only been on this journey for 6 months. I can’t wait to see where I am another 6 months from now.

 

Testimonial No.8: David Frahm

When did you start training with Donovan?

March 17, 2015

What led you to “Train With Donovan” and why?

I have a few friends who had been doing group training with him for a number of months, and just watching their transitions over the course of those months made me think “I should do this. I owe it to myself.” I was never in it to lose weight. I knew that probably wouldn’t be the best goal for me. Instead I simply wanted to get in better shape, and be more fit and in tune with my body. I knew that as I did that, I’d burn the fat, even if the weight didn’t disappear. Over time, I haven’t actually lost a lot of weight in pounds but, my pants waist has shrunk somewhere between two and four inches and my shirts feel significantly more loose, especially around the belly. I’ve definitely lost fat and put on muscle.

 

What were some of the things you’ve sacrificed to make your training a priority? Why is your training important to you?

The biggest sacrifice is time. I’m pretty busy, between being an active member in one community, a leader in another, and maintaining my relationships with friends and loved ones. I used to go to karaoke once a week; on one of the days that I train now; and I rarely have the energy to make it out after our workouts. Still, I wouldn’t trade my training back for it. It’s important to me because of how it makes me feel. I’ve wrestled with a lot of body negativity issues. I’m a big guy. I will never not be. But I can choose whether it’s just me being the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, or if I can actually build some strength and muscle. Training with Donovan leaves me feeling empowered, even if a bit sore. It’s also amazing at fighting off my depression, and the stresses of the day. Nothing feels quite as cathartic as the physical exertion on days where work is just a little too stressful.

 

Have you worked with a trainer before? If so, how does your current experience with Donovan differ from past experiences? If not, what are some of the positive experiences you’ve had so far?

Donovan was my first trainer, and he’s been phenomenal to work with. He’s always encouraging, which is great on the good days, and even better on the bad. He encourages not just lifting the weights, but also building a positive attitude, and treating your body right. Whenever it’s a “bad day” in the gym, he always asks “How’d you sleep? What have you been eating?” and encourages you to be more mindful in your choices. This, plus seeing the gains from week to week and month to month have always left me feeling more empowered. I feel like whenever he sees me doing things a little to easy, he encourages moving up the weight, and when he sees that I’m struggling on a day, taking some off. It’s not always about hitting the number, it’s about building a strong and consistent habit of doing the work, so that when you need to take a breather, you’ll come back in just as good.

 

How do you feel now compared to when you first started training with Donovan?

I feel significantly stronger, more flexible, and empowered physically and mentally. One of my more amusing litmus tests from when I started training was being able to lift my girlfriend. When I first started with Donovan, I couldn’t really pick her up without struggling. I could do it, and hold her for a bit, but she always felt insecure with it. Now I can just pick her up and walk away with her, and it usually leaves both of us laughing. When I talk about being empowered, one of the metrics of success that I have with Donovan is to make my bad days today be where my good days were yesterday. It’s incredible to actually see it and have the numbers. Just a couple of weeks ago, I had a day where I was feeling about 80%, tops. I slept like crap, ate like crap, and struggling with depression were all leading to me having a bad day. Still I was pounding out some floor presses, and I was working with a weight that was below where I had done it last time. Donovan saw how I was working, and actually encouraged me to do better than my last time. I listened to his advice, and was still able to push myself through it at the higher weight. He saw that, even on a bad day, I could do more than I thought I could, and encouraged me to push myself I still remember, less than a year ago, when I first deadlifted over 100 lbs. I felt so strong and so proud, because I wasn’t sure I could do it. Now, that weight is less than where I start my warm-ups, and I’m less than a year in. I’m still feeling strong and proud, I just work with bigger numbers now.

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Would you recommend training with Donovan to others, and why?

Absolutely, and I have. He’s good at paying attention to you, your needs, and your body. If something isn’t working right, he’ll find a way to change it. If you’re incapable of doing something, he’ll find a way to work around it. One of the people in my group can’t really lift weights over her head, so he has her do something else to work those muscles. Another can’t handle rapid up and down motions, things like jump squats, and so Donovan gives him an alternate thing. He finds what works for you, and always has tips on how to make it better.

 

What do you look forward to in the future with your training?

Making my bad days tomorrow be where my good days are today, and to make my good days tomorrow above and beyond that.

 

-David Frahm 3/1/16

Testimonial No.7- Ted Reynolds

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When I first came to Donovan I had already been lifting for a few years and had worked with other trainers before so I thought I knew quite a bit about lifting. Came into my first session and immediately he changed the game. He’s got every step broken down to a science and the man knows what he’s talking about. Through my sessions with him I learned new and more effective ways to lift to not only get stronger, but put on size at the same time. The energy he brings to every session was everything anyone could want out of trainer. Working with Donovan didn’t just benefit me when I worked with him but he taught me so many things that I still utilize today with my lifts. Without doubt I am a better lifter today because of him.

-Ted Reynolds

9/3/15

Testimonial No. 6: Sarah Bauer

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Donovan asked me to write about my fitness “journey”. At first I struggled with that, as to me, I haven’t quite met with what I define as success so my journey wasn’t worth writing about yet . Then he posted this quote on his Facebook training page “Success is not the destination. Success is the journey.” . And I realized that my success is that I am still on the journey!

I’ve seriously and consistently worked out for more than a dozen years in some capacity. Everything from extreme body shaping, boxing, and cardio fitness classes like Zumba – you name it, chances are, I’ve tried it. I’ve suffered through videos (yes, actual VHS tapes) from Jane Fonda, Richard Simmons and a whole host of Beach Body hotties. I’ve worked out with friends (and made some great ones along the way), strangers and alone. I’ve got my sweat-on at home, at various gyms, outside, at hotels and even at work! Some of these things were fun, some were effective and some were just not the right fit.

I first trained with Donovan when I was pregnant with my now 4 year old. I pushed a car across the gym parking lot at 6 months pregnant! And yes, I do mean “train”, not “work out”. Train for what, you ask? Life. Donovan helps me train to live my best physical life. I returned to Donovan last year after a kickboxing and cardio jaunt, taking a break from being a cardio queen. Six to eight hours a week of cardio had left me tired and bored with an injured knee and foot. It was getting me nowhere! I started partner-training with Donovan (another secret to success in the gym – have an accountability partner) and hit a much better groove.

At the beginning of this year, I switched over to small group training with Donovan and three other women. We work on our individual goals in a group setting while providing support and motivation for each other. Our training sessions provide stress relief (slamming a tractor tire with a sledge hammer will do that), muscle building, and camaraderie.

While the numbers on the scale don’t move much, other goals have taken priority. I’m stronger than I have ever been (I can deadlift more than my body weight!).  I have more energy, my knee and foot no longer hurt.  I can keep with my kids.  My health numbers (blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol etc.) are fabulous.

And, last but not least, a funny thing happened that I didn’t expect… I have always associated having body confidence with attaining a big weight loss. This last year of training with Donovan has changed my mind on that. I discovered that when I’m training, and I’m stronger, I’m more the person I’m meant to be. I no longer associate body image with a clothing size. I’m currently in best shape, both mentally and physically, that I’ve probably ever been. The journey isn’t over, but I can finally call it a success.

-Sarah
5/8/2015

Testimonial No.5- Sandee White

As a 70+ adult female, I feel it is very important to stay as healthy and fit as possible. For over 4 years Donovan Muldrow has been my Personal Trainer. I have been amazed at the amount of strength I’ve built. More importantly, I’ve been able to maintain it at my age. With him beside me, I have the confidence that I will not injure myself, but at the same time he encourages me to lift, push or pull, way more than I could ever imagine having the ability to do!

Uppermost, also knowing that I am doing the exercise properly, thus getting the most benefit from each piece of equipment! Having the strength and health to enjoy life at its fullest, is the most important to me. Giving me the ability to enjoy activities with my grandchildren, golfing with friends, as well as just housekeeping and lifting groceries! Being stronger keeps us safer and makes the activities much more “fun”!

I enjoy the fact that each day I work out with Donovan; the exercises are varied, so I am never bored with redundancy. In addition, if for some reason I have pulled a muscle and am quite sore “somewhere” on my body and I share this with him before starting that day, I will feel much better by the time I head home!

My investment for working out (hard I might add) 3 half-hour sessions a week are definitely not only enjoyable for me, but it’s great for my insurance policy keeping me from going to doctor appointments regularly and often to cure ailments! In addition to that, I have a new friend to share my life events! Cannot beat that!!

Sincerely,

Sandee White

Testimonial No.4: Alison Fahrenkrog

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I have struggled on and off with my weight since I turned 30….yikes a decade ago (almost). I travel on the road daily for work ,over the course of a year gained 30 lbs. My weight loss journey began in May 2014 and it was exactly that. A successful weight loss journey. I lost 25 lbs and was happy but thought what’s next?

I have had the privilege to know Donovan for the last 4 yrs and saw that he was doing boot camps. I figured I would give it a try, knowing years past I had excellent results working with Donovan. Only thing that ever got in the way was my excuse to quit.

I started attending bootcamp in December one day a week. In January, additional times were added which fit my schedule giving me the opportunity to up my game to 2 or 3 days a week. My results have been incredible. Thanks to Donovan’s focus on strength training and conditioning  I am currently in the best shape of my life.

I am strong. I am confident. And I feel amazing! Did I mention I quit smoking 4 months ago and haven’t gained a pound?!?!

My motto as I approach 40 this year was “40 and fit not 40 and fat”…..due to my new mindset the motto is “40 and Ripped”. I am on my way!

I highly recommend Donovan’s Personal Training and Bootcamps! Donovan is a true pro. I trust him 100% to guide me to ensure I use proper form to avoid injury. I trust that every morning that I hit the gym he will push me to my limits and beyond. I know that we will always have a great time and laugh! Most importantly I believe in me because he eliminated the word try from my vocabulary. With Donovan I AM getting the work DONE!

 

Thanks D! You are changing my life!
Alison Fahrenkrog

3/1/15