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Natural Awakenings Lehigh Valley

Outer Fitness Starts With Inner Strength

Jan 29, 2016 04:52PM ● By Elisa Smith

Like many brides, Wendy Strohl, C.P.T., C.N.C., dieted to fit into her wedding dress, successfully shedding 70 pounds before the big day. Growing up in an Italian- American family meant food was plentiful, but not always healthy, and as a result she had been overweight for most of her life. Though the diet was successful, the results didn’t last, and she regained those 70 pounds and more after the wedding. But when her second child was born 10 years ago, she decided to make a change. “I didn’t want my kids to grow up that way. I wanted them to be healthy,” says Strohl. Soon, she began taking fitness classes in an effort to get healthier, and liked them so much that she became certified - first as an instructor, then as a personal trainer, and finally as a nutrition coach. In March 2014, she decided to open her own business, Inner Strength Fitness Studio. Now 90 pounds lighter, she says, “I love doing what I do! Helping people become healthier is as rewarding for me as it is for them.”

Strohl believes that her former struggles with her health and weight help her to better identify with her clients’ similar issues. “Many gyms can be intimidating,” she admits, “but here we are welcoming and non-judgmental. Because I was once overweight, I understand coming from that place.” Strohl isn’t the only one who can relate. Her business partner, Shanen Hoke, G.F.I., credits her fitness regime with helping in her recovery from thyroid cancer.

Strohl is certified through the International Board of Fitness & Nutrition Coaching and National. Founder Mark MacDonald - author of the best-selling books “Body Confidence” and “How Kids Make You Fat … And How to Get Your Body Back” - developed what Strohl calls a “real world” solution to healthful eating based on blood sugar stabilization. She says the key is to eat small meals throughout the day, with the proper ratios of protein, fat and carbohydrates at each. Examples might be an egg-white omelet with vegetables and avocado for breakfast, or steak and asparagus for dinner. Strohl advises clients to keep a journal to track how they feel after meals. “Fueling the body with the right foods, with whole foods, wards off hunger and provides lasting energy,” she says, emphasizing that the plan is not a diet, but a lifestyle approach to health.

That lifestyle includes movement, and options abound at Inner Strength Fitness Studio. As expected from an owner whose path to fitness began with classes, there are many to choose from, beginning as early as 6:00 a.m. and extending as late as 7:30 p.m. Strohl says the most popular class is R.I.P.P.E.D., which combines cardio with free weights to upbeat, high-energy music. “People will often say, ‘I could never do that class,’ but we tell them to just come in and move. It’s all about having fun and moving. I have 70-yearold women doing R.I.P.P.E.D., so I know anyone can do it,” Strohl maintains.

Another class, called willPower and grace, uses body weight only, and is done barefoot to strengthen the feet and challenge the vestibular system, which controls balance. Strohl describes it as “yoga and Pilates meet cardio.” Basic yoga and Pilates classes are also offered, along with Strength & Stretch, Strength & Tone, POUND (cardio, combining light resistance with simulated drumming), Zumba, Cardio Kickboxing, willPower Ignite (interval training) and Inner Strength Fit Camp. Most classes are 60 minutes in length.

Whether clients choose to attend classes or move in other ways, Strohl advises doing at least 30 minutes of cardio each day (walking counts), and strength training two to three times each week. She also offers one-on-one personal training or coaching, as well as small group training for two to six people, which provides personal attention at a more affordable rate. She and partner Hoke will assemble small groups from individual clients who are interested in that option. Those who are committed to rapid results can join the Transformation Challenge, an eight-week food and fitness program that rewards accountability with prizes, including a cash prize for the Challenge winner.

To Strohl, fitness is more than her business; it’s a way of life. She has completed several 5K Runs and Sprints, a Half-Marathon, a Tough Mudder, and an Olympic Distance Triathlon. She also is a Lead Instructor for the Kellyn Foundation, a non-profit whose mission is to encourage family and community physical and emotional wellness by focusing on healthy lifestyles. Its Schools division teaches students in third through fifth grade how to eat healthier by making better food choices. “Adopting healthy habits is so much easier when it begins in childhood,” notes Strohl.

She invites anyone with a desire to get fit to visit Inner Strength Fitness Studio just once. “We have all levels here, and provide modifications for every exercise, so it really doesn’t matter what fitness level someone is starting from,” says Strohl. “Here, we genuinely care about our clients and believe any day is a great day to begin the journey to better health.”

Inner Strength Fitness Studio is located at 2485 Willow Park Road in Bethlehem. For more information, call 610-419-6133 or visit See ad, page 20.

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