Dr. Tiffany Springer June Member of the Month

Dr. Springer and her partner in crime

Dr. Tiffany is a 40-year-old Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Galesburg District #205.

Q: What got you started working out?
A: I was approaching two major milestones-completion of my doctorate in educational administration and turning the big 4-0!

Q: How many days per week do you typically work out? What groups are you a part of?
A: I exercise 3 to 4 times each week and am part of the Warrior Strong group!

Q: What’s your favorite exercise?
A: My favorite exercise has to be squats! I started out loving inchworms until they showed up in a deck of cards workout…haha!

Q: What’s your favorite post-workout meal/snack?
A: Special K Chocolate and Peanut Butter Protein Bar

Q: What do you find most challenging about working out?
A: I have three very busy teenage girls and a job that demands a lot of my time. Scheduling workouts into my schedule used to be an afterthought. Now, I proactively schedule workouts ahead of time so that I’m certain to fit them into my routine.

Q: What keeps you motivated to work out regularly?
A: I like feeling strong and am motivated by my best friend, Nichole. We started this journey together and have kept each other motivated and accountable. I’m proud of how far we’ve come and how much strength and flexibility we’ve gained!

Q: What advice do you have for someone who’s thinking about getting started in the gym?
A: Just get started! I also would say that you’ll likely be sore the first couple of weeks but the intensity of the pain does dissipate over time. Keep pushing through and drink lots of water!

Q: What is something you couldn’t do when you started, that you can do now?
A: I couldn’t do a full body push up when I started and now I can do them in sets of ten with breaks in between. It’s a great feeling!

Q: What fitness accomplishment are you most proud of?
A: I’m proud of maintaining my fitness plan even after my beach vacation was over! I look forward to working out!

Q: What goals are you working on now?
A: Maintaining my fitness plan and following my macro plan.

Q: Tell us a random fact about yourself that people might not know:
A: I love to sing and I get the privilege to sing on the praise and worship team at Bethel Baptist Church.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about working out at The Strength Collective?
A: The empowering and supportive environment created by the women at the gym is refreshing! I love encouraging others and hearing others motivate one another! Plus, we’ve got some pretty amazing coaches with Jen, Gin, Katrina, Heather, and Tara!

Melanie Rice-Weik May Member of the Month

Melanie is a 44-year-old Deputy County Clerk.

Q: What got you started working out?
A: I’ve always worked out in group cardio/ fitness classes but really wanted to learn more about strength training.

Q: How many days per week do you typically work out? What groups are you a part of?
A: At this point I work out 3 days a week and attend the Barbell Group.

Q: What’s your favorite exercise?
A: Anything Core related. Core exercises help make me feel solid and strong.

Q: What’s your favorite post-workout meal/snack?
A: I really like overnight oats with peanut butter and fruit, Select Protein shakes, Quest bars, Select Amino IV drinks

Q: What do you find most challenging about working out?
A: The most challenging for me is pushing through a hard day at work and getting myself to the gym. Once I’m there I get into a different mindset and feel so much better after my workout.

Q: What keeps you motivated to work out regularly?
A: I feel motivated to work out on a regular basis because not only do I love feeling stronger but the confidence I have gained. With consistent work out my energy levels are also heightened and am happier overall.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who’s thinking about getting started in the gym?
A: They absolutely should! Everyone at the gym is very supportive.

Q: What is something you couldn’t do when you started, that you can do now?
A: Having the courage and support to lift weights and do barbell training. I was pretty nervous about deadlifting but have started to enjoy it.

Mel deadlifting in class.

Q: What fitness accomplishment are you most proud of?
A: Continuing to have small gains with consistent practice on the barbell work. I’ve always been a yoga, jazzercise and Zumba type of chick so strength training has been challenging but extremely rewarding.

Q: What goals are you working on now?
A: Showing up for myself ….for my physical and mental health. When I feel good then I am at my best to help others, which is so important in my life.

Q: Tell us a random fact about yourself that people might not know:
A: I continue to carry a CDL license. Once upon a time, I drove a 33 foot Bookmobile Bus in the South Suburbs of Chicago. We brought books and joy to neighborhoods and schools. It was an absolute blast!

Q: What’s your favorite thing about working out at The Strength Collective?
A: My favorite is the support and always feeling welcomed at The Strength Collective. The knowledge I have gained through classes as well as the nutritional aspect is so amazing. I am so thankful to be part of a great place.

Nichole Wright April Member of the Month

Nichole carrying Lil Ricky.

Nichole is a 42-year-old Registered Nurse.

Q: What got you started working out?
A: Honestly I started to work out to lose weight and get back in shape before I went on a vacation. It turned into something that has made me feel so much better physically and mentally. It brought back the motivation I lost.

Q: How many days per week do you typically work out? What groups are you a part of?
A: I work out 4-5 days a week. I go to 3-4 kickboxing classes and also I am in a Beachbody group.

Q: What’s your favorite exercise?
A: Squats

Q: What’s your favorite post-workout meal/snack?
A: I love quest protein bars.

Q: What do you find most challenging about working out?
A: It’s hard to find time and stay consistent.

Q: What keeps you motivated to work out regularly?
A: My best friend Tiffany! We hold each other accountable and it’s always better to do something with a friend.

Nichole and Tiffany after Warrior Strong.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who’s thinking about getting started in the gym?
A: Just get started at what ever level you are at and whatever day it is. I tend to make excuses “if I just lost 10lbs first before I start…..” “I will just wait until Monday…”

Q: What is something you couldn’t do when you started, that you can do now?
A: Proper push ups on my toes!

Q: What fitness accomplishment are you most proud of?
A: The strength and power I have built in kickboxing. Also being able to workout an hour and not feel like I’m dying.(most of the time)

Q: What goals are you working on now?
A: Staying consistent and motivated. Also not just focusing on the number on the scale but instead how I feel.

Q: Tell us a random fact about yourself that people might not know:
A: I’m embarrassed but I love any real housewives show.

Doing RN things.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about working out at The Strength Collective?
A: I love the encouragement as women that we give each other during kickboxing. We build each other up and cheer each other on. The coaches are also awesome.

Charlene Mueller March Member of the Month at The Strength Collective

Charlene during our SC photoshoot

Charlene is a 31-year-old Corrections Officer.

Q: What got you started working out?
A: In 2010, I had my 1st round of Cancer and knew right then it was time for a change! I’m not thankful for the cancer, but yet I am because I don’t think I would have forced myself to change.

Q: How many days per week do you typically work out? What groups are you a part of?
A: I usually do 6 days… 7th being just cardio/ aesthetics.

Q: What’s your favorite exercise?
A: Power Clean (right now… it changes!)

Q: What’s your favorite post-workout meal/snack?
A: Oatmeal, banana, and a green protein shake

Q: What do you find most challenging about working out?
A: Getting discouraged when you fail a lift.

Q: What keeps you motivated to work out regularly?
A: Progress. Results. Seeing how far I have come, and knowing I am going to go so much farther. Plus, I have met so many great people, some who have even become close friends, along the way!

HSPU!

Q: What advice do you have for someone who’s thinking about getting started in the gym?
A: You’ll be so happy 1 year from now you did! It can be frustrating, but use those failures as motivation go gain strength!

Q: What is something you couldn’t do when you started, that you can do now?
A: Pull ups

Q: What fitness accomplishment are you most proud of?
A: Back in 2015, I got certified as a personal trainer and was running my own business by 2016! Unfortunately, I went through a rough divorce and lost it, but I’m still proud and take it as maybe that was supposed to happen for something greater!!

Q: What goals are you working on now?
A: Getting stronger and working on my cardio.

Q: Tell us a random fact about yourself that people might not know:
A: I absolutely am addicted to candy!!😬

Post Workout

Q: What’s your favorite thing about working out at The Strength Collective?
A: Walter!!! 😊❤️ Plus, The owners, and members are so awesome, helpful and help make you feel comfortable!

Ben Frisque February Member of the Month

Ben is a 45-year-old Railroad Freight Engineer.

Working hard not on a shoulder press machine.

Q: What got you started working out?
A: [Wanted] More muscles

Q: How many days per week do you typically work out? What groups are you a part of?
A: 3 or 4 days

Q: What’s your favorite exercise?
A: Shoulder Press

Q: What’s your favorite post-workout meal/snack?
A: Steak and Eggs

Q: What do you find most challenging about working out?
A: Not having a shoulder press machine.

Q: What keeps you motivated to work out regularly?
A: Every day I come in I hope to see that shoulder press machine.

Workout buddies for life

Q: What advice do you have for someone who’s thinking about getting started in the gym?
A: Quit whining and do it!

Q: What is something you couldn’t do when you started, that you can do now?
A: Always lifting more.

Q: What fitness accomplishment are you most proud of?
A: Always lifting more.

Q: What goals are you working on now?
A: Convince Kat to buy that shoulder press machine.

Q: Tell us a random fact about yourself that people might not know:
A: No, thanks.


Q: What’s your favorite thing about working out at The Strength Collective?
A: [That it’s a] Laid back gym.

Abby Slagel January Member of the Month

Abby preparing for beast mode!

Q: What got you started working out?
A: I have always been active, but having a desk job and getting home to my kids I was not finding the time for myself. I started working out on my lunch hour and haven’t looked back!

Q: How many days per week do you typically work out? What groups are you a part of?
A: Not every day is a sweat session, but I try to move my body 5 days a week.
Monday and Wednesday are typically lifting/cardio. Tuesday and Thursday are active rest days. Friday is cardio.

I am not currently attending any group sessions, but I have in the past. Lean & Strong over the lunch hour! We had a blast. Aging Strong, I did this with my mother in law a few times. Great group of people! Zumba! I love to dance, I used to participate 2 days a week and can still remember the routines! LOL

Q: What’s your favorite exercise?
A: Squats! I have always had very strong legs.

Q: What’s your favorite post-workout meal/snack?
A: Since I workout over my lunch hour, I get to eat lunch as soon as I am done. Anything with peanut butter is my go to.

Q: What do you find most challenging about working out?
A: Deciding how much weight to start with. This can be difficult when Mary and I are doing a building session, often find ourselves starting WAY to heavy! LOL

Q: What keeps you motivated to work out regularly?
A: My gym partner Mary Foutch! We continuously push each other even on the days neither one of us feel like it. We know if we just go do anything for 30-45 minutes, we are immediately in a better mood and mindset.

Abby and Mary goofing around.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who’s thinking about getting started in the gym?
A: I get it! Walking into a gym can be scaring and intimidating if you have never been in one. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. We all started somewhere. Find the time! You will thank yourself.

Q: What is something you couldn’t do when you started, that you can do now?
A: A handstand push up!

Q: What fitness accomplishment are you most proud of?
A: Never in my life did I think I would say this…… running a constant mile without stopping! This is recent…. like within the past couple of weeks. I loathed running! However, since Katrina has aided us in the training of how to start, and here Mary and I are killing it! 😉

Q: What goals are you working on now?
A: Nutrition!!! Always working on nutrition.

Abby and her family!

Q: Tell us a random fact about yourself that people might not know:
A: Mary and I have been friends for 35 years!

Q: What’s your favorite thing about working out at The Strength Collective?
A: The people you encounter. Smiling, saying hi, encouraging, and giving each other a hard time when we haven’t crossed paths for a few days.

Mary Foutch December Member of the Month

Mary is a 40-year-old Transit Assistant for the City of Galesburg.

Mary and her family

Q: What got you started working out?
A: Actually the question should be who got you started working out and that would be Abby Slagel. A friend of mine for 35 years. She was training with Jenna and talked me into coming and we have been coming together since then.

Q: How many days per week do you typically work out? What groups are you a part of?
A: My goal is 5 days. The Lean and Strong class is where the love of weight training started for me.

Q: What’s your favorite exercise?
A: Deadlifts.

Q: What’s your favorite post-workout meal/snack?
A: Typically something with chicken.

Q: What do you find most challenging about working out?
A: Keeping the workouts fresh and fun so we stay motivated is the most challenging part of working out.

Q: What keeps you motivated to work out regularly?
A: Accountability! Having a workout partner helps. The days you don’t feel like going you go because you know the other person is expecting to go.

Workout buddies for life

Q: What advice do you have for someone who’s thinking about getting started in the gym?
A: Join a group, get familiar with the exercises, and meet the people. Give yourself time. Once you get into the habit of going it just becomes a part of your routine.

Q: What is something you couldn’t do when you started, that you can do now?
A: Squats! I’m fairly tall and I was so worried about hurting myself that I didn’t even want to try. I joined the Lean and Strong class where we got familiar with weight training and by taking it slow and learning the proper way to do it I’m now able to squat without much worry. Do I like doing squats? No but I definitely can.

Q: What fitness accomplishment are you most proud of?
A: I can do some pretty amazing things in the gym that I didn’t even know I could do but I think what I’m most proud of is that Abby and I keep going. We are busy with all kinds of activities with our families and we have busy jobs but no matter what we go! We may not always get the best workout in but we always try to make it to the gym.

Q: What goals are you working on now?
A: I’m working on some nutrition goals now.

Q: Tell us a random fact about yourself that people might not know:
A: I’m a crazy sports mom!!

Q: What’s your favorite thing about working out at The Strength Collective?
A: THE PEOPLE!!

Connie Christianson November Member of the Month

Connie’s flex game is strong.

Connie is a 38-year-old Management Analyst or the Army National Guard and a Detachment SGT for a Finance Company.

Q: What got you started working out?
A: I was at my highest weight and wanted to change it. A friend of mine (Amanda Sanders) told me her friend was doing a 4 week challenge for the new year so I joined it.

Q: How many days per week do you typically work out? What groups are you a part of?
A: I typically do 5-6 days a week. I am part of Stronger together virtually since I live in Springfield, IL. I also do Warrior Strong, I had to take a small break due to training for a marathon.

Q: What’s your favorite exercise?
A: I really don’t have one.

Q: What’s your favorite post-workout meal/snack?
A: Lately it has been popcorn.

Q: What do you find most challenging about working out?
A: The hardest part when I started was keeping it going. Now it is just trying to make sure I can work my other crazy parts of life around it.

Q: What keeps you motivated to work out regularly?
A: My health and my job. I really feel like working out helps me stay sane. I take my frustration out in my workouts whether it be in lifting or in kickboxing. I also have to be physically fit for my job.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who’s thinking about getting started in the gym?
A: Take it one day at a time. Each rep even, if it is one more than the last time, is better than nothing. You have to start somewhere.

Q: What is something you couldn’t do when you started, that you can do now?
A: Deadlift!

Q: What fitness accomplishment are you most proud of?
A: Handstand pushups, deadlifts and kickboxing. I have always wanted to do handstand ups and I have been able to do them. Kickboxing and lifting has always been something I was told I couldn’t do, do to restraints of some injuries but I have push passed all of that.

Q: What goals are you working on now?
A: Running a marathon in Jan of 2022. Not losing what I have gained with my muscles!

Q: Tell us a random fact about yourself that people might not know:
A: Most people know I am in the Army National Guard, but most don’t know I aspired to be in the Guard Band growing up and I was for 9 years. I have spent the rest of my 21 years in Finance and pay!

Q: What’s your favorite thing about working out at The Strength Collective?
A: I love the environment, everyone is family whether or not when I get to come to the gym or virtually. I love the support. I am grateful for the virtual members! Christina and I want more to join us on Monday and Wednesdays!

Jack Harlan October Member of the Month

Jack is a 45-year-old retired Army veteran and current Detective with Knox County Sheriffs Department. He’s also running for Sherriff of Knox County.

Q: What got you started working out?
A: I always loved fitness, but didn’t really start weight training until I joined the Army.

Q: How many days per week do you typically work out? What groups are you a part of?
A: I usually workout six days a week.

Q: What’s your favorite exercise?
A: Dumbbell Incline Press.

Q: What’s your favorite post-workout meal/snack?
A: Haribo Gummy Bears.

Q: What do you find most challenging about working out?
A: Stopping. I always want to do one more set. [It] can make for a long night.

Q: What keeps you motivated to work out regularly?
A: Multiple things keep me motivated such as my family, job, and self. I want to stay healthy and fit so I can be here for my family and see the next generation. Stay fit for my job so I can perform the best that I possibly can. And working out for myself, just feeling good is just a great feeling.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who’s thinking about getting started in the gym?
A: Set realistic goals (don’t try lifting the whole gym the first day): Stay consistent: (results come when you put constant effort, get away from I’ll do it tomorrow): Grab a workout partner to hold accountable.

Q: What is something you couldn’t do when you started, that you can do now?
A: Still not the best at it, but a snatch. I really never worked on power moves, I just worked on moving a lot of weight. It was a big eye opener starting cleans and snatches and I still don’t like them. Lol

Q: What fitness accomplishment are you most proud of?
A: Being able to maintain and out lift my son Noah. I love when he comes back and thinks he can out do the old man and I have to put the smack down on him.

Q: What goals are you working on now?
A: Just want to maintain and help others achieve their goals.

Q: Tell us a random fact about yourself that people might not know:
A: I’m married to the Love of my life Frannie, we have two handsome boys and four dogs, a God fearing man, and I love this Great Country. Oh and I’m running for Knox County Sheriff!

Q: What’s your favorite thing about working out at The Strength Collective?
A: I love that it’s a no judgement gym! The people who go are all there for the same reason, to get better or maintain. No one is stuck up, you can be yourself, and the owners are there to help with whatever! It is true to their motto “We Grow Strong By Lifting Others!”

Diane VanHootegem September Member of the Month

Diane is a 60-year-old retired educator.

Q: What got you started working out?
A: I had recently retired and I was looking for things to keep me moving and make my retirement productive; plus I wanted to become healthier.

Q: How many days per week do you typically work out? What groups are you a part of?
A: I work out a minimum of 2 days a week. I am an avid participant in Aging Strong, as well as I hit kickboxing when I can.

Q: What’s your favorite exercise?
A: I like the rowing machine…its works on many parts of the body at once.

Q: What’s your favorite post-workout meal/snack?
A: I enjoy a protein shake after a workout.

Q: What do you find most challenging about working out?
A: I love Aging Strong because the workouts change every session. There is always something quite challenging in every workout… like Atomic Sit Ups.

Q: What keeps you motivated to work out regularly?
A: I enjoy the people in class. We give each other a hard time, but we get the job done. The trainers always make the workouts interesting… I never know what’s coming until I show up! I also like the results…toner muscles, more energy, and my clothes fit better.

Aging Strong Group

Q: What advice do you have for someone who’s thinking about getting started in the gym?
A: The first thing you have to do is show up! I LOVE The Strength Collective because everyone is friendly and helpful. My classmates in Aging Strong are accepting of all ability levels and are very encouraging. The trainers are very knowledgeable and will assist you in meeting all your health goals. Show up and give it a try and then keep showing up… even if the muscles hurt.

Q: What is something you couldn’t do when you started, that you can do now?
A: Multiple pushups, side planks, box squats with heavy weights…most everything.

Q: What fitness accomplishment are you most proud of?
A: I would have to say that I am most proud of participating in Jenna’s Fitness Challenge in January and learning a great deal about nutrition and what my body needs to perform well. I also learned that I can eat anything I want if I plan for it; eating healthy does not always mean going without that dessert or cheeseburger. It has literally changed my life.

Q: What goals are you working on now?
A: I want to continue to work on core and upper body strength.

Q: Tell us a random fact about yourself that people might not know:
A: I am a certified scuba diver…which is not all that useful in West Central Illinois.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about working out at The Strength Collective?
A: My favorite thing has to be the people! They are fun, encouraging, and motivate me to do my best.