Category: Meet Our Members

What Members Are Saying About Mace Training

Steel Mace Training at Elevate Fitness in Dewitt

Guest Post by Elevate Fitness Member Meenu B.

When I first heard about the mace I was attracted to the idea of it being a powerful weapon but to control it you first control your movements and to control your movements, you control your mind. Something I realized in myself years ago when I was 10 or 11 is that I always wanted to fight what was happening whether a situation or struggle in life or pushing myself to stay awake all nights to get a higher grade on an exam or physically prepare myself to stand up to other girls who were looking to push you down. I knew I was a Sikh and that Sikhs were warriors who fought for freedom for all but the fact that my internal fight was called something is what I realized after I read about the mace. I now know it’s the warrior spirit.

We all have that spirit in us. We just do not realize it or do not know how to use it so we can push past our limits to see. Every time I lift the mace I am overcome by this force that tells me to push past the pain, the fatigue and remain steady. It also brings out the honesty cause when we are fatigued we want to avoid the push or pull for each movement but the mind is at such a high level of focus and intensity that you want to embrace the pain with honesty and push through. This is true of life too. So many daily struggles, situations require that we understand that “the only way to get out is by going through it”.

Yesterday while working with the 15 lb weight I realized that conquering our ego helps us become stronger…always! I strive to be humble as much as I can and that mindset goes hand in hand with the mace. In order to do the dragon lunge with extension, I knew I had to master the 10 lb first to get stronger. So it was humbling and fulfilling because I was able to do the extension fully and feel my shoulder working hard to get stronger.

Everything we do starts with our intentions. Our intent each morning should be to better ourselves as we see ourselves in our minds. And to do that discipline has to take precedence. The discipline to commit ourselves to make small goals and to work toward them. Yesterday I listened to this woman say instead of committing 1 hour to your morning routine, start with something doable like 10 mins of a good morning routine. Maybe just meditate or just yoga or just a walk. It’s not about the next person on social media or the athlete or millionaire we think achieved great things, it is about our own achievements no matter how small they may be.

Learning to Walk Again

Learning to Walk Again at Elevate Fitness in Syracuse

Elevate Fitness Liverpool member Paul initially started working with his personal trainer, Michael Meola but then training sessions were stalled when Michael had a freak accident during a workout breaking both his legs.

By the time Michael had recovered enough to return to work this past April, Paul had no motor control and couldn’t walk with the help of a walker and cane.

“Do you think it’s realistic for someone my age to be able to do this again?” Paul asked his trainer.

“Absolutely,” Michael replied, knowing first hand how to train the body to perform essential functions again after losing them.

Paul and Michael met twice a week for an hour doing a lot of corrective exercise drills and strength training on the machines.

After just a couple of months like this, Paul discarded the walker entirely and increased the intensity of his drills. “You’re wearing me out” he’d always say while continuing to put in the hard work and effort.

But it paid off and just last week he took his first walk without the walker or the cane. He described the moment as being overcome with emotion because back in April he didn’t think he was ever going to walk on his own again. He walked from the pool to the front door of Elevate Fitness all on his own.

It was a touching moment for all who were lucky enough to witness it. Touching, but not surprising. After all, if anyone knows how to learn to walk again its the trainer who broke both his legs.

Want to try a complimentary session with an Elevate Fitness Personal Trainer? (Some restrictions apply.)

Featured Athlete: Roc

July Featured Athlete for Elevate Fitness Dewitt: Roc


We’re very excited to share July’s Featured Athlete from our Dewitt club with you: Roc. Roc (aka Norman Ray) can frequently be found training with a group of friends he acquires and inspires as he goes along his own fitness journey which led him to a weight loss of 65 pounds!

Every Body is an Athlete at Elevate Fitness!


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Featured Athlete: Michelle Cronin

Elevate Fitness Liverpool July Featured Athlete Michelle Cronin

We’re very excited to share July’s Featured Athlete from our Liverpool club with you: Michelle. Michelle trains with Jonas and takes tons of group fitness classes. And in her spare time (!!) she runs half-marathons. Michelle is an inspiration and we couldn’t be prouder of her and her accomplishments!

Every Body is an Athlete at Elevate Fitness!

Here are Michelle’s own words:

“This back of the pack runner just finished my 5th and fastest half-marathon. It was HARD! It was in the Colorado mountains, the oxygen was scarce, the road was icy and my feet were wet. Despite all of that, I felt strong, healthy and athletic thanks to my coaches at Elevate Fitness: Jonas, Jason, Diane, Renee, and Jenn. These beautiful people are helping me realize my biggest goal, and that is to be stronger than yesterday. Thank you!”

Congratulations Michelle, we’re all so proud of you and inspired by your journey, your positivity and your athleticism – keep on doing amazing things, we’ll be right here cheering you on!


Want to join our team of amazing athletes? Try Elevate Fitness for FREE!

Winning With the Weight Loss Challenge

See what one Elevate Fitness Syracuse member has to say about the Elevate Fitness Six-Week Weight Loss Challenge:

“I absolutely love this fitness challenge. It is great to workout with a group of people that have become friends. I look forward to class and let very little get in the way of my attendance…I HIGHLY recommend the Fitness Challenge and the Shepard men are great instructors. Thank you for this opportunity. It has really enhanced my workout regimen!”

Learn more about the Weight Loss Challenge by clicking HERE.

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The Weight Loss Challenge Results are IN!

The inaugural Elevate Fitness Weight Loss Challenge has ended, and the results were spectacular! Our Liverpool winner, Nicholas, lost 32 pounds during the six-week challenge, and our Dewitt winner, Tim, lost 20 pounds!

While the winner’s results are obviously not typical, all the participants happily reported seeing results. The most common feedback, though, wasn’t about pounds lost. It was about the friendships built during the challenge. The bonds that formed are lasting beyond the challenge with many of the participants continuing to workout together and with many of them even opting to participate in another challenge together!

Here’s the Liverpool winner, Nicholas, shortly after finding out he’d won:

We’re looking forward to another challenge (starting March 18th with a kick-off event on March 16th) and if you’re interested in being a part of our next cycle, stop by the Member Service Center in the club, or visit this page to learn more. Not a member? Not a problem – the Elevate Fitness Weight Loss Challenge is open to members and non-members alike!

Meet Husna, of The Kumon Math and Reading Center

Husna Lapidus, who has been a member of Elevate Fitness for over a year now, is the owner of The Kumon Math and Reading Center in Dewitt.

Husna Lupidus, Member of Elevate Fitness in Dewitt

Husna Lapidus, Member of Elevate Fitness in Dewitt, photo by Laura Marino

We asked Husna to tell us about the center:

60 years ago, the Kumon Method was created by a dad who wanted to help his son develop a love of learning and do better in school. Today, Kumon is the world’s largest after-school math and reading program, helping millions of children reach their full academic potential. My center, Kumon of DeWitt, serves the CNY area.

Kumon’s mission is to unlock the potential of children, from preschool through high school, so they can achieve more on their own. The learning method uses an individualized approach that helps children develop a solid command of math and reading skills. Kumon assignments build solid study habits and help students progress their academic skills through daily practice.”

Q: What led you to this career?

A: I am fascinated by human motivation and brain plasticity, and I’m constantly faced with opportunities to motivate young people and to elevate their skills. What I do truly develops a child’s confidence, character, and attitude toward learning. There’s nothing more satisfying than that.

Q: Your business has a lot in common with Elevate, you promote intellectual fitness. Tell us about that. 

A: That’s true – at Kumon we even use the word “elevate” a lot when referring to training the minds and attitudes of our students. Just like at the gym, my students come “as they are,” seeking to become better versions of themselves. My job and my passion is to provide students and their families an avenue for elevating their skills and abilities, to feel better about themselves and gain confidence. What you’d notice about Kumon students is that these young people have incredibly strong character in addition to a solid academic prowess.

Q: The Kumon Center isn’t a tutoring center, in fact, what you do has a further reaching benefit than tutoring. Can you tell us why?

A: Tutoring certainly has its place, but what sets Kumon apart is our time-tested methodology for developing self-learners. We don’t teach or tutor in the traditional sense; rather we focus on the development of habits and skills for life-long learning. Our math and reading curriculums are the catalysts for achieving that. We want our students to leave the center feeling accomplished and successful every time. It takes patience and humility to put aside my own ego and abilities to allow the students to realize their own potential and feel they are responsible for and capable of their own learning. When a child has a question or they feel stuck, we absolutely do help them, but instead of teaching them step-by-step how to solve the problem, we tap into the skills s/he has already mastered to draw out the correct answer. This way, the child – not anyone else – is the one who deserves the credit for his or her own learning. That feeling of pride in one’s self is what drives these kids to want to keep achieving more and more.

Q: Who are your services intended for?

A: Our students range from age 3 through high school. Some families seek our service because they have children who are struggling in school, some start early so their child never experiences struggle in school, and others want to provide an additional challenge for their child who is already advanced. We don’t limit our students to their age or grade level; in fact, most of our students begin working one-grade level ahead within 6-12 months, and many reach 3 or more grade levels ahead of their school grade.

Q: How can families benefit from Kumon?

A: Families benefit from having confident kids. Confidence does so much for a child. We all know that kids who are bullies lack confidence in themselves. With self-confidence kids become kinder and more compassionate toward others. They become leaders in their classrooms, and they tend to not need tutors down the line. They start being able to finish homework super-fast, which frees them up to do other activities like tennis or swimming lessons. My kids and so many of my Kumon students participate in these services at Elevate Fitness. It’s so important. These days the top colleges and universities look for more than just good grades – they want a well-rounded student. If you’re struggling academically, or if you lack confidence, you’re less able to pursue extracurricular activities that give you that competitive edge.

Q: You’re also a parent, tell us how you’re able to balance everything without sacrificing taking care of yourself. 

A: In my first year of business ownership, I unexpectedly got pregnant with my third child. I was so busy, overworked and exhausted that my health really suffered. I gained too much weight in my pregnancy, and although I was working harder than ever before, I beat myself up for “letting myself go.” I knew I needed to do something to get back on track but managed to find every excuse to delay or avoid the work necessary to find health and fitness again. Finally, I decided that I deserved better than how I was treating myself and my body. My husband and kids deserve healthy wife and mom, my students deserve an energetic instructor, and my community needs strong leaders. When I got my priorities and goals aligned, I could start manifesting those rewards. I can’t say my balance is perfect, but it is something I feel good about. Now I’d recommend to anyone struggling with work-life-balance — lay out your priorities and goals on paper. Come back to those daily, weekly, monthly, and you’ll soon find it effortless to act in pursuit of your goals wholeheartedly.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who’s considering entrepreneurship in Syracuse?

A: Do what you are passionate about. If you truly are passionate about your field, the copious amounts of work will fill you up rather than drain you. If you can finish your day’s work and be simultaneously exhausted and blissful, you’ll know you’re doing it right.

Q: What’s one thing you wish you knew before you opened your own business?

A: I was happy to open a business where I didn’t have to report to anyone other than myself. I wish I had known how tough a boss I would be. I expect a lot of myself, I always seek ways to improve, and that means I work very hard. Knowing that before I opened the business, I wouldn’t have chosen not to do it, but it would have been nice to be prepared.

Q: You work with a personal trainer, Jeff, how has that helped you get more out of your Elevate membership. 

A: Jeff keeps me accountable. When I have “training with Jeff” on my calendar, I always show up. The best part is that he takes the thinking out of my training. Knowing he has the perfect workout planned just for me, to help me reach my goals – that’s one less thing I have to plan out for myself. I always feel great after my training sessions with him because I know I made the best use out of that hour that I possibly could. For someone as busy as I am, efficiency is absolutely key.

Q: Anything else you’d like to share with Elevate Fitness members?

A: I love seeing so many of my students and their parents at Elevate. When I’m training, I really do keep them in mind. It feels great knowing that I follow the very same advice I give them by trying to better myself, and to work hard to achieve my goals. I think when my students see me there, all sweaty and breathless, they realize I’m a regular person just like everyone else out there struggling to improve, and that’s just one more thing I can connect with them about.

Q: Final question: what are your favorite and least favorite exercises?

A: I’ve learned that my least-favorite exercises were the ones I felt least confident doing. Now I’ve adopted the attitude I expect of my own students – we have to work to get good at things, and when we get good at them, we start to love them. For that reason, I don’t have a least-favorite, but my absolute most favorite is unequivocally the Turkish Get Up. 


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Member Success Story: Alicia Whitmore

Elevate Fitness Personal Trainer David Cruz Trains Client Alicia Whitmore

Elevate Fitness Personal Trainer David Cruz Trains Client Alicia Whitmore

Alicia is a member of Elevate Fitness Club in Dewitt, who trains with world-class Personal Trainer, David Cruz. She’s also the kind of person who’s always on the lookout for the next friend or family member she can motivate to change their lives, having referred multiple new members to Elevate Fitness (thanks, Alicia!).

So, why listen to us, when Alicia can so easily articulate what she loves about training with David and training at Elevate Fitness. Here’s her story in her own words:

“Hi! I’m pumped to finally be training with someone so dedicated to his work. Each training session that I have with David I learn something new. I’ve been working alongside other trainers for the past 2 years, but David is great! Currently, I am training for a figure competition in Rochester. I told him on day one that my goal was to win the Northeast Showdown. After our first session, I told him trusted what he had in store for me and it’s been nothing but awesome since. When I’m not with David I use the gym, and it’s never too packed, I almost always can find a stair stepper, and the people at the front desk are always welcoming. This is a great place to work out and I try to tell all my teacher friends about how great it is!”

Elevate Fitness Member Alicia Whitmore trains as her personal trainer, David Cruz, looks on

Elevate Fitness Member Alicia Whitmore trains as her personal trainer, David Cruz, looks on

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The Liverpool Lob-sters win Sectionals!

The Liverpool Lobsters Tennis Team from Elevate Fitness

The Liverpool Lobsters Tennis Team from Elevate Fitness

The Liverpool Lob-sters, a junior tennis team made up of nine local high-school students, and coached by Lisa Pento at Elevate Fitness Club in Liverpool, have won their sectional championship in Central Park in Schenectady, New York last weekend. This win for the intermediate, eighteen and under group follows regional and local wins and means the Lob-sters will be heading to Nationals at the USTA Tennis Center in Lake Nona, Florida this November 8th through 11th.

The Lob-sters are Antonio Marsallo (Baldwinsville), Matthew Manara (West Genesee), James Plunkett (West Genesee), Brandon Davis (Liverpool), Brooke Tutor (Baldwinsville), Justine Stanejko (Solvay), Grace Delpino (Christian Brothers Academy), Mikayla Manara (West Genesee) and Katie Viau (West Genesee).

Photos courtesy of team Coach, Lisa Pento. For more information about our Junior Tennis programs click here.

Interesting in learning more about the tennis programs at Elevate Fitness? Fill out the form below!

My Tennis Journey at Elevate Fitness by Scott Friedberg

My Tennis Journey at Elevate Fitness

by Guest Blogger, Scott Friedberg of Gilded Social

Sports were a big part of my life growing up, but once I graduated high school and entered college, my athletic days seemed to be a thing of the past. I always enjoyed competition but I struggled to find an opportunity to enjoy the thrill of sports again. Thankfully, a few years after graduating college, I found a solution…

My company, Gilded Social, works closely with the Elevate Fitness team on digital and in club marketing efforts. Tennis, in particular, caught my eye. I had played a handful of times growing up but never was able to play at an enjoyable level. Tennis can be challenging and I admittedly was not very good!

I decided it was time to start taking Tennis lessons! I was matched up with Naveen, a Tennis Pro at Elevate. After just a few minutes into my first lesson, I knew I was in good hands. Naveen was able to teach me fundamentals without overwhelming me. He made me feel confident in my play and knew exactly how to communicate in areas that could use improvement.

After my 3rd lesson, Naveen suggested I take a break from lessons and play some real matches! I thought to my self: “Wow! After 3 lessons, I’m ready to play?”. Seemed to good to be true, but, he was right. It was time for me to take the fundamentals that I learned and apply them in a real match situation.

The first match I played was tough, but about halfway through, the fundamentals I learned suddenly came together. Every move I made on the court, I was able to think back to the advice from Naveen. I’m by no means an advanced player yet, but after just a few lessons, I can hold my own in a match, and most importantly have a great time doing it!

I now have a great sport to play, and an opportunity to be competitive again – with myself and with friends. I’m excited to continue my Tennis journey at Elevate and to make new friends along the way. I highly recommend you consider picking up Tennis. It’s a great opportunity to make new friends and a sport that can be played all year round (Hello, Syracuse winter!).

Want more information about Tennis Programs at Elevate Fitness? Just fill out this short form:


Member Success Story: Bill Powell

Bill is one of our Hybrid Training clients in Dewitt at our Widewaters Parkway location, and he trains with Ari Palone. This is what he has to say about his experience:


I have been working with Ari Palone in Hybrid training sessions for about a year. Ari is an excellent trainer that will push you to your limit, but with a watchful eye to make sure you don’t overdo. She always encourages you to do your best and she gets results. Even as a 60-year-old man, I have lost weight, lost body fat, gained muscle, am stronger and in better shape than when I started the program. I look forward to our group sessions each week, even though they are hard, because I know I will be encouraged to do my best. I would highly recommend Ari as your personal or group trainer.

Whether you’re looking to lose weight, tone up, or increase your athletic conditioning, the personal trainers at Elevate Fitness are ready to help you reach your fitness goals.

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Member Success Story: Megan Bushneck

Megan shared the following photos with us, with this explanation: “Picture on the left is from January 2017 and picture on the right is from September 2017.” Megan credits Personal Trainer and Stott Certified Pilates Instructor, Raelynn Baumann for her results.

In Megan’s words:

I first joined Elevate fitness in 2007 when my parents told me they were concerned about my health.  Having gone from being a competitive horseback rider in college to a lazy office worker my weight gain was starting to show.  I wasn’t overweight but was quickly approaching what is considered overweight for my height.  In addition to my gym membership at Elevate, I signed up for personal training sessions.  My personal training sessions with Raelynn helped me learn how to properly use the equipment. She also helped me devise a plan to lose the weight I had gained.  We kicked my workouts into high gear prior to my wedding in 2012 and I looked fabulous (at the low end of the scale for my height and fit!) on my wedding day.  Due to a change in circumstances, I canceled my membership in 2013.  

When an injury sidelined me in late 2016, I was again inactive and watched the scale climb to a weight I had never seen before.  After being cleared to workout in early 2017, I reached out to Raelynn again because I had seen videos of her workouts on the Pilates Reformer and I wanted in on those workouts.  I came back to Elevate as a personal training client and have lost all the weight I had gained following my injury. It hasn’t been easy!  There’s been ups and downs and setbacks, but I’ve been encouraged and supported by Raelynn the entire time.  Raelynn asks me what I want to focus on prior to our workouts and then tailors them to fit my needs.  Workouts on the Pilates Reformer have greatly improved my flexibility, posture, and strength.  Even the smallest movements have a big impact.  I’m now in the best shape of my life, am the strongest I have ever been, and I feel great!

Although I’ve worked out at other local gyms, I feel at home here at Elevate.  The staff is welcoming and helpful and the members are friendly and courteous.  There’s no place I would rather be as I continue my fitness journey.      

Whether you’re looking to lose weight, tone up, or increase your athletic conditioning, the personal trainers at Elevate Fitness are ready to help you reach your fitness goals.

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Member Success Story: Ron Ferguson

Ron trains with Mallory at our Dewitt location on Widewaters Parkway.

I have been very impressed with Mallory. She is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. My time with her has been well spent since I am fitter and have lost weight. The main thing about Mallory is her positive attitude early in the morning which can be infectious.

Whether you’re looking to lose weight, tone up, or increase your athletic conditioning, the personal trainers at Elevate Fitness are ready to help you reach your fitness goals.

Not a member yet? Try Elevate Fitness for FREE!

Member Success Story: Michelle Barkley

Michelle shares her experiences training with Andrew Shoen at our Liverpool location on Morgan Road…


After only working with Andrew for the past three months, I could not be happier with what I have gained. Not only have I lifted more weight than I can even imagine, flipped more tires than I could even imagine, but gained a friendship that I couldn’t even imagine. He is one of the friendliest faces at the gym, always greeting you with a smile and going out of his way to make sure you’re smiling too. His passion for fitness is obvious with the workouts he creates, always bringing his refreshing and enthusiastic personality to every session. He goes above and beyond to make his clients feel comfortable, and confident in themselves, leading them to be able to do things they never thought they would be able to do. Before Andrew, I was deadlifting 145 lbs on a good day, and after three short months, with his master craft work, dedication, and perseverance, he had me deadlifting 225, something I never thought was possible. His workouts are individualized, creative, challenging, and most importantly –  fun! Andrew is without a doubt one of a kind trainers, someone that not only cares about your fitness, but genuinely cares about his clients as people, and someone I look forward to not only training with but talking to on a daily basis. Since working with Andrew I have never felt stronger or healthier and would recommend his mastermind to anyone of my friends or family without hesitation.

Whether you’re looking to lose weight, tone up, or increase your athletic conditioning, the personal trainers at Elevate Fitness are ready to help you reach your fitness goals.

Not a member yet? Try Elevate Fitness for FREE!

Member Success Story: Nick Pirozzoli

Nick trains with Andrew Shoen at our Liverpool location on Morgan Road, at 69 years young, Nick has this to say about his training experience at Elevate Fitness…

I started with Gold’s Gym 10 years ago when the Weigh Less Program was first introduced. At the time I was very overweight at 215 pounds and needed help to lose the excess pounds. As a result of doing the two 8-week programs, which also included nutritional training, I lost 35 pounds and was in the best shape of my life in many years. My doctor was very happy with my health and encouraged me to keep it up. Thru the years,  I stayed with gym and used the various cardio and resistance machines to keep the weight off.

After starting with Andrew 3 years ago, and getting involved with deadlifting and squatting with a dedicated trainer that has a thorough understanding of these disciplines, I kept my weight in check, gained muscle mass, a strong core and increased flexibility, all of which are valuable in my line of work as a contractor. Also, the use of the elliptical machines, treadmill and stair climbers are invaluable in keeping my heart strong, sugar in check and blood pressure well within normal limits.

I very much enjoy my time at Gold’s Gym and think of it as a place that keeps me healthy, strong and motivated. To quote a slogan from the past, “Every visit is a Victory”

Whether you’re looking to lose weight, tone up, or increase your athletic conditioning, the personal trainers at Elevate Fitness are ready to help you reach your fitness goals.

Not a member yet? Try Elevate Fitness for FREE!