Leslie Aplin January Member of the Month

Q: What got you started working out?
A: Back pain

Q: How many days per week do you typically work out? What groups are you a part of?
A: 4-5

Q: What’s your favorite exercise?
A: Deadlift!

Q: What’s your favorite post-workout meal/snack?
A: Water 😂

Q: What do you find most challenging about working out?
A: Staying consistent when I’m not in the mood for it.

Q: What keeps you motivated to work out regularly?
A: How much better I feel when I do work out!

Q: What advice do you have for someone who’s thinking about getting started in the gym?
A: Quit thinking. Start doing. Trust the process and enjoy the results.

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

Q: What fitness accomplishment are you most proud of?
A: My chin up 😊.

Q: What goals are you working on now?
A: To keep moving consistently during the winter and with a shoulder injury. I’ve had to tailor my workouts around my shoulder. So my main goal is to get back to 100% as I am able.

Q: Tell us a random fact about yourself that people might not know:
A: I have 2 grown children I am so proud of!!!

Q: What’s your favorite thing about working out at The Strength Collective?
A: That there are people of all different ages and fitness abilities in the gym.

Tina White December Member of the Month

Tina is a 59-year-old retiree from Dick Blick.

Q: What got you started working out?
A: After complications with a knee replacement surgery in 2007, and walking with a cane since 2013, I was unable to walk more than 100 feet without becoming very winded and lower back pain. I wanted to feel better & lose weight, now that I’m retired from my desk job.

Q: How many days per week do you typically work out? What groups are you a part of?
A: 3X at semi private training.

Q: What’s your favorite exercise?
A: Various barbell exercises!

Q: What’s your favorite post-workout meal/snack?
A: Fiber one protein bar

Q: What do you find most challenging about working out?
A: It took me time to build up stamina, and I struggled with some of the exercises, especially on the floor.

Crushing KB Deadlifts

Q: What keeps you motivated to work out regularly?
A: Feeling and moving better, I don’t get as “winded” as I did before, and actually walked through Aldi’s last week. Working up to shop HyVee without a motorized cart.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who’s thinking about getting started in the gym?
A: Start small, break your goals down, and don’t freak out when looking at the scale.

Q: What is something you couldn’t do when you started, that you can do now?
A: There are several things that stick out: I can finish most sessions with the others and not fall behind or not finish at all; I have more stamina whether walking or just standing in place; and overall flexibility is so different.

Q: What fitness accomplishment are you most proud of?
A: I started July 5th and I’m still coming! I’ve also lost more weight so far than I ever have before (I normally just added 5lbs every 2-3 years and never really lost before).

Q: What goals are you working on now?
A: Just this week I started 30 minutes of activity at home on at least 2 non training days, and working on floor exercises (or getting up & down which has been very difficult since knee surgery).

Q: Tell us a random fact about yourself that people might not know:
A: My Mom was born & raised in London, England and moved to the US at age 22. I still have aunts & cousins in London, Hong Kong & New Zealand.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about working out at The Strength Collective?
A: The people, both the staff and other clients. The encouragement I’ve received has been very motivating.

Dr. Josephine Swanson November Member of the Month

Dr. Josephine Swanson is a 32-year-old Veterinarian at Knox Pet Clinic!

Q: What got you started working out?
A: I just wanted to be healthier and be more active.

Q: How many days per week do you typically work out? What groups are you a part of?
A: I am part of the Warrior Strong Kickboxing class, and I go to class three times a week.

Q: What’s your favorite exercise?
A: When we get to do different circuits in kickboxing class!

Q: What’s your favorite post-workout meal/snack?
A: Honey Stinger Energy Waffles

Q: What do you find most challenging about working out?
A: Having the motivation to keep up with it and working it into my schedule.

Q: What keeps you motivated to work out regularly?
A: I have lost some weight but I feel better about how I move and have more energy.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who’s thinking about getting started in the gym?
A: I would say try it once because no matter where you are starting from you will get something out of it.

Q: What fitness accomplishment are you most proud of?
A: The fact that I have been able to keep up with kickboxing classes three times a week for a few months.

Q: What goals are you working on now?
A: I’m just trying to stay consistent with my workouts.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about working out at The Strength Collective?
A: My favorite thing is that it doesn’t matter what level of fitness you are at, there is no judgment..

Scott Delawder October Member of the Month

Q: What got you started working out?
A: Needing to lose weight, tone up and increase cardio to excel in my flight tests.

Q: How many days per week do you typically work out? What groups are you a part of?
A: 3-4 days a week, Kickboxing and Semiprivate.

Q: What’s your favorite exercise?
A: Leg exercises

Q: What’s your favorite post-workout meal/snack?
A: BODYARMOR LYTE

Scott’s motivation for workout out, his planes!

Q: What do you find most challenging about working out?
A: Staying consistent

Q: What keeps you motivated to work out regularly?
A: The results I see and the way I feel!

Q: What advice do you have for someone who’s thinking about getting started in the gym?
A: Don’t expect overnight results, they will come in time.

Q: What is something you couldn’t do when you started, that you can do now?
A: Last the whole hour in kickboxing without wanting to stop early.

Ground and Pound

Q: What fitness accomplishment are you most proud of?
A: Losing 50 pounds!

Q: What goals are you working on now?
A: Getting on track with my nutrition.

Q: Tell us a random fact about yourself that people might not know:
A: I have an Identical Twin.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about working out at The Strength Collective?
A: The owners/instructors and the great folks I meet there.

Hannah Lester August Member of the Month

Hannah is a 25-year-old elementary school teacher.

Q: What got you started working out?
A: My boyfriend Cam.

Q: How many days per week do you typically work out? What groups are you a part of?
A: Between 3-4 days. No groups just train by myself or with Cam.

Q: What’s your favorite exercise?
A: Tricep pull downs or sumo deadlifts

Q: What’s your favorite post-workout meal/snack?
A: Salted Carmel Protein Powder mixed with Mocha Cold Brew Coffee with Almond Milk.

Q: What do you find most challenging about working out?
A: My mentality of thinking I can’t do it.

Q: What keeps you motivated to work out regularly?
A: Cam and my desire to be stronger.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who’s thinking about getting started in the gym?
A: Even when you think you can’t do it, do it anyway because you will feel 110 times better!

Q: What is something you couldn’t do when you started, that you can do now?
A: Bench more than the bar.

Q: What fitness accomplishment are you most proud of?
A: Feeling confident enough to go to the gym by myself.

Q: What goals are you working on now?
A: Training for a Powerlifting Competition in November!

Q: Tell us a random fact about yourself that people might not know:
A: I was a collegiate softball player and a competitive dancer.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about working out at The Strength Collective?
A: It is very non-judgmental gym for all kinds of lifters.

Mary Warnsing July Member of the Month

Mary is a 47-year-old, self-proclaimed, full-time nerd that loves teaching.

Q: What got you started working out?
A: I wanted to feel strong and in control of my health.

Q: How many days per week do you typically work out? What groups are you a part of?
A: I usually attend cardio kickboxing on Monday and Wednesday nights. I also try to walk for 30 minutes twice a week. I also do nutrition check-ins with Jenna every two weeks. I exercise 3 to 4 times each week and am part of the Warrior Strong group!

Q: What’s your favorite exercise?
A: I LOVE a good wall sit!

Q: What’s your favorite post-workout meal/snack?
A: I love a cheese omelette with fresh pico after workouts.

Q: What do you find most challenging about working out?
A: In the beginning, I had this idea that I was not very strong. I specifically said “I can’t do that.” more times than I can count. It wasn’t long and I was flipping tires and throwing Ricky around! I was/am like a five year old, I am so surprised when I can do something new. I often say “Hey guys. I am doing it!”

Q: What keeps you motivated to work out regularly?
A: I have had the results I have been working for and I love that I work out with a great bunch of women. Everyone is supportive and working hard. The ambition to succeed is contagious and I can’t get enough.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who’s thinking about getting started in the gym?
A: Don’t wait! Getting stronger feels so good. Start right now! We are hilarious and we will be your biggest cheerleaders. Two hours a week can change your life! It will be hard at first but it will get easier. You deserve to live your best life!
Q: What is something you couldn’t do when you started, that you can do now?
A: I could not get my punching bag out and put it away by myself in the beginning I used to have to modify everything. I still modify a few things but I can work the whole time.

Q: What fitness accomplishment are you most proud of?
A: I am most proud of how good I feel. I used to take pain meds every day. I have lost a significant amount of weight and lowered my resting heart rate.

Q: What goals are you working on now?
A: I am going to get muscles. Real muscles, that I can flex and see.

Q: Tell us a random fact about yourself that people might not know:
A: I was born in Germany. I have traveled to and lived in many places.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about working out at The Strength Collective?
A: My favorite thing about working out at The Strength Collective is getting to make people laugh. I love how everyone cheers everyone on and encourages each other. I feel like everyone is invested in each other’s success!

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!