Archive for the ‘Guest Blogs’ Category

Guest Blog Thirteen – Patty Lillie

Posted: September 4, 2015 by dannytwoguns in Guest Blogs

Big things have been happening at Twoguns Training Systems, which has taken some time from the blog time. Stay tuned for all of the announcements of our new programs and new fun we have starting this fall and how we continue to change the way fitness is done in Erie.

In the meantime, we have a great testimonial and guest blog from Twoguns and Fit in 42 success story, Patty Lillie. I got goosebumps a couple of time reading it. Super proud of Patty for all her hard work and dedication. Looking forward to the future and continued progress. I’ll let her take over…

“When Dan asked me to write a guest blog about my story my first thought was, ‘Oh shit, my whole story?’ Don’t worry, this isn’t the whole thing, but this is the most important part.

In my early twenties I suffered from anorexia. I was the product of a lifetime of ridicule from peers and strangers. I was also in a very unhealthy relationship that encouraged and insisted on my behavior. I became very ill and in about 10 months had lost over 100 lbs. I was a heavy woman at the beginning of my illness, but not so much that losing this amount of weight could be healthy.

I spent several hours a day doing cardio, obsessed over what food went into my body, and became addicted to diet pills and the attention I received from my weight loss. But being skinny didn’t mean being healthy for me. And with everything else came severe depression and I didn’t eat for several days at a time. I was killing myself.

I am thankful every day that I was able to gather what little strength I had left and check myself into a rehabilitation center. I met with counselors for private sessions and we had group sessions several times a day. I quickly learned how important it was to know that you’re not alone and that you have support. I recovered, with some lapses, but I found self worth again.

I left the facility and started rigorous counseling. I went to counselors who ingrained the idea that I had to eat eat eat. The problem with the counseling I experienced was that they never taught me moderation. And unfortunately, as time went on, I bounced the other way. I kept gaining weight and the thought of going to the gym now gave me anxiety because of the association with my disorder. I don’t know which is worse, feeling like you’re starving to death or eating yourself to death, but I know I’ll never be on the road to either again.

Patty Bra B&A 1

During Fit in 42 Patty lost Patty lost 27 pounds, 5% bodyfat percentage, 6 inches off of her waist, 4 inches off of her hips. This doesnt include the 9 pounds, bodyfat and inches she’d lost prior…

I joined Twoguns Training Systems in March of 2015. A few weeks before this I had slipped and fallen on the ice in one of our never ending winters. I thought I broke my leg, but was lucky to escape with just very deep bruising.

The weeks following were depressing and eye opening. I was out of shape. At 27, I felt old and unable to recover from injury. I weighed more than I ever had, was the biggest size I had ever been, and was doing nothing to reverse that. I’ve served and tended bar for the past 10 years, and unfortunately with that lifestyle comes late nights, too much alcohol consumption, and too few home cooked meals. I worked two jobs and went to school full time. I convinced myself that I didn’t have time to workout or cook healthy meals. I didnt know that working out actually have you more time and you dont have time NOT to.

Patty Bra B&A 2

So as I was laying on my couch with my busted knee, feeling bad about how I looked and my overall physical health, I came across a “before and after” picture of my friend Mandi on Facebook. It was a Fit in 42 Erie post. Mandi was always an athletic girl; strong and outwardly confident. But seeing these pictures, my jaw dropped. I thought, “If this program can do that for her, I can only imagine what it can do for me.”

Mandi_FB_Quote

And for once in my life, I took the initiative and sent her a message asking about the program. She ranted and raved about Dan and Dawn and the entire Twoguns team and how it changed her life. I was still skeptical. My experiences regarding gyms and weight loss still gave me anxiety.

In my head the only options were taking it too far or failure, thoughts that still remained from my past. But I got Dan’s contact information and set up a time to come talk and do an evaluation. I expected something totally different than what I walked in to…

I thought Dan would test how far I could run or how much I could lift. He didn’t. He tested my mobility, stability and movement patterns. He wanted to know how I moved so he would know how to help me move better. That’s what we all want at the end of the day, isn’t it? To feel good about what our body is doing.

So I joined Twoguns Training Systems. My knee was still hurt and Dan did everything he could to help me find ways to move my body while still letting myself heal. When I joined, the next Fit in 42 program (the initial reason I wanted to join) didn’t start for another month, but I figured a head start wouldn’t hurt. It definitely made me more confident in my abilities and the staff made me feel like part of a family.

Patty_FB_Comment

When Fit in 42 started, I was anxious. It involved 6 weeks of grueling workouts and a strict diet – full immersion, full commitment to change. That meant NO alcohol and NO fried foods. If you have ever worked in the food service industry, you feel my pain. Serving pizza, wings, and beer when you can’t have any is torture.

But because of the amazing support group, I never faulted.

Dan or Justin were always there telling me I can do one more. And then one more after that one. During Fit in 42, Nate suffered through personal workouts when my work schedule didnt allow me to come to the normal time, letting me drag him across the gym so I could get stronger.

And as I’m writing this, I’m thinking about how sore my quads and glutes are because Dawn kicked my ass in the best possible way yesterday. You can look at my numbers and see the actual calculated results, but the more important factor is how I feel. I get compliments from everyone I know asking what I’m doing and I’m more than happy to brag about the hard work I’m putting into myself. I can lift more and move faster. I’ve learned new skills and changed my eating habits. Before this experience I weighed myself down with negative thoughts. Never in my life did I think I would have the discipline to eat healthy. I learned that if I’m putting the right foods into my body not only will I feel healthy, I won’t feel guilty.

Patty Bra B&A 3

I’ve been going to Twoguns for 6 months now. It’s hard to believe it hasn’t been longer. My mindset and body have changed so much. I had never done a deadlift in my life. Kettlebell swings? Had no idea.

Dan has showed me that I am physically capable of more than I ever imagined.

I am finally coming around to the idea that the number on my scale and my pant size don’t define me as a person; they don’t even define my health. But I will admit that it doesn’t hurt seeing them get smaller. The friends, or better said, family, I’ve made the past 6 months are hands down some of the most amazing people I’ve met in my life. We support each other to grow both physically and mentally. Twoguns Training Systems isn’t just a gym, it’s a fitness community and I’m thankful to be a part of it.”

Our best Fit in 42 success stories, like Patty, train for a month of so before Fit in 42 starts. The next Fit in 42 sessions starts on October 12th. If you are interested send me a message HERE and we can set up a strategy session to see what the best fit is.

For those who follow Twoguns Training Systems and I closely, you know that Geoff and I also co-own Erie Youth Conditioning and Performance where we combine my passion for youth, fat loss, fitness and movement with Geoff’s passion for youth, sport and athletic development and movement to form a program that specializes in training the youth population, ages 6-11/12 for movement, fun, play and life.

Nate Delycure is a coach for both Geoff in Lewis Fitnes & Performance and myself in Twoguns Training Systems but he is primarily the Program Director of Erie Youth Conditioning and Performance and the primary coach of those sessions and he is putting together a series of guest blogs ranging from his passion to education to what drew him to Geoff, our programs and I. The first one up is his Passion for Coaching and Youth Sports. It’s a good read, definitely check it out and let us know what you think.

Nate Rot Clean 1

“Most of my earliest childhood memories revolve around spending time with family and friends playing and watching different sports. I was lucky enough to grow up in a neighborhood that not only had roughly ten kids fairly close in age but also the town’s youth baseball and football fields in it. Needless to say all our summers were spent playing backyard sports.

Once I got into kindergarten, I could finally sign up for T-ball and could play organized ball with all my friends. Baseball was the first sport offered where I was from and I quickly grew to love it. My coach at the time was my neighbor’s dad from right across the street and he was a great youth coach, he included everyone, the kids had fun, everyone did and wanted to play, he knew basic skills of the game and I believe that is what makes you a good coach at the younger level (< 8).

Years later, I remember the day came in third grade which a form went home with us for youth wrestling sign-ups and I remember thinking, “Hey I remember my dad saying he wrestled, I should check this out”. I was hooked after the first practice and after that first practice my dad (he had wrestled at Edinboro University) asked if I wanted to do some more drills at home. I obviously said yes and little did I know that was my first practice with the best coach I would ever have. Up until this point, I had only had good coaches which not only motivated me to get better but also helped me develop a passion for the sports, I had thought until this point that all coaches were like this, looking back I realize that I was “spoiled and wrong”.

My first Little League coach (I was 10 years old at the time) was a tough coach that would yell and not always got along with parents. One instance we had come back in the bottom of the sixth and won a game, and us as players started celebrating after we scored the last run to win and our coach came running into the dugout and yelled at us “This was a win but it wasn’t a win”, he followed up with a speech about how we shouldn’t of won the game and everything we did wrong but I wasn’t paying attention to him because I was trying to decipher his first statement.

Bad Coach

Even at a young age I thought that winning is the ultimate goal of any sport and we had done that. I didn’t understand why he would try and take it away from us. Even though we were a good team that won a lot of games, I wasn’t enjoying it like I used to, it was the same sport, same field, same rules, and mostly the same outcomes (wins). But it was a Passion Killer.

I could also tell you about the time he allowed his son to throw 23…yes 23 walks in an inning without pulling him. I was the catcher for this and I can tell you it was the worst half an inning of my life and I’ve been 30 runned in slow pitch softball. The difference here was a coach that could not communicate with the athlete to allow them to enjoy the game and develop a passion for it, even though he was very knowledgeable of the game of Baseball, he was not a good coach since he couldn’t transfer that to his players. This made me stop playing baseball for a season.

My first real taste of coaching came when I was a senior in high school, one of our graduation requirements was a graduation project where we had to complete 50 hours in job shadow/project type assignment and present on it. I decided to coach in our town’s youth football league (4th-6th grade).

I saw it as a chance to give back and help out the league that had started my football career. Long story short, I ended with over 100 hours, an undefeated team, and the realization that this is something I really enjoyed.

Following football season, wrestling season was starting and within the month I was diagnosed with was essentially a career ending shoulder injury. Now, I had begun to receive college interest my junior year to wrestle past high school (which had been a goal since third grade) but now that was no longer in the picture. Even though this had crushed me for a little bit I had to think about all the coaches, especially my dad, and teammates who helped me tremendously along the way to get to where I was. It was then that I realized that I wanted to help other athletes achieve their own dreams/goals.

After my injury, I was no longer able to participate and having many new and inexperienced bodies in the room, I became sort of a “student coach.” Even though I physically could not be out on the mat and help out the team, I could still use the many years and training and learning to help the team. That year, we had gotten a new coach and one of the first terms he used with us was “I am not a cookie cutter coach”.

Then he explained that each wrestler is different and unique with different style and he to be coached to take advantage of each wrestler’s strength. (This is something I have always thought and one of the reasons I stayed with the team I am now). I had grown up with this approach but no name to it with my dad as my coach but a former coach thought otherwise. His model was the 103 pound kids will be coached and taught the same techniques and moves as a 285 pound wrestler. Now, most people will realize from a size and movement perspective, 103lbs to 285lbs is a huge difference, not including experience and style. I feel that this cookie cutter approach should have died out with the dinosaurs.

Throughout the years I have competed in many sports with different teams, clubs, and most importantly coaches. While there was many different forms of conditioning and strength building exercises from each coach, many of them had the same answer (I always questioned on why we did things, I needed a purpose as an athlete) as to why we were doing that particular drill/exercise. Somehow most of the coaches had the same answer in “because/ I said so”.

Even as a kid I know that this was a bulls#$@ reason and I didn’t think I should do something because he said so, I needed to know if/why it made me better. This is one of the main reasons I got into the Human Performance field in college, I wanted to know why you do certain exercises and what they do. Now my goal is to develop the best athlete performance system backed by research and results to develop the best athlete and to be the coach that I would have wanted to have. This is what drew me to Geoff and Dan as they will always have an answer to “why” they do things. They “dont do stupid” and everything they do has a calculated reasoning behind it, as well as of, of course, making clients better and that is exactly what I want to do.”

If you would like more information on the Erie Youth and Conditioning Program, contact us on Facebook and we’ll be glad to help you out. The new summer schedule starts on June 8th.

Guest Blog Twelve – Chari Figurski

Posted: March 19, 2015 by dannytwoguns in Guest Blogs

In mid-February I went to my Results Fitness University Mastermind and Coaching group meeting. It was as productive as ever, especially since I missed the October one because we were so busy in the gym, but one of the notes I had written was, “Get back to putting up guest blogs” when we were talking about client stories.

And considering we’ve had the best results and stories we’ve had ever in the recent year and I’ve slacked on asking for guest blogs, I figured it was time to get back to it. So we will have a few guest blogs in the next coming weeks.

We start off with a great one from success story, Chari Figurski. I’d known Chari a long time and she didnt start working with me until I moved into my own facility and Im definitely glad she made the leap. We talk about fat loss and physical transformations a lot and that is exactly what we do, except it is only part of what we do.

We get those big fat loss and physical transformations through building strength, building confidence and changing mindsets around that confidence and breeding a community of success and Chari is a great example of all of those things and Im exceptionally proud of her. But I’ll let her take over…

Chari Before…

Chari Start

Chari 4 Weeks

“When Dan first asked me to write this blog I was a little hesitant. I am after all the girl who has lost 100 pounds more than once only to regain it. I would do all the work to get there and then quit. But that is never going to happen again because of Twoguns so here it is.

My name is Chari Figurski and I am 50 years old. However, I dont feel anywhere near “that old”. Before I started at Twoguns though, I definitely felt my age. Most days I felt older than I really was. It was a real struggle to carry my excess weight around.

At the time I started with Dan, Dawn and rest of Twoguns Training Systems, I had memberships to two different gyms but I seldom went to either one. I had every excuse there was for not going. Bottom line – I was fat, lazy and uncomfortable. Uncomfortable at both of those gyms and uncomfortable even in my own skin.

I was out to dinner with friends one evening when the discussion turned to Dan venturing out of the gym he was then working out of and opening up his own facility. Everyone at dinner that night knew Dan because we had all worked at the same gym he was at. I hadn’t seen him in a few years and had gained a lot of weight since we worked together.

My friend and I decided to attend Dan’s Grand Opening and Book Signing Party (he is a #1 Best Selling Author afterall…) and see what his new place was all about. I was afraid to go because I didnt want to be judged for my weight gain but I was ready to do something. Finally ready to make a permanent change. When I mentioned the weight gain, I was told that it didnt matter.

The past was the past and it was time to look toward the future and do things right.

I was pleasantly surprised at how welcoming and non-judgmental Dan and Dawn both were. Everyone I met that day seemed truly happy to be there. Dan gave me all the information and I decided to join. I decided if I hated it I could just quit.

I said if nothing else, I would help him out as he was just starting out in the new place. I had no idea at the time how much he and the whole Twoguns staff would be the ones helping me out. I was hooked after the first session.

My personal sessions were great and after the first I was hooked, but when I went to the first group personal training session, I was really nervous. I didnt know anyone, a lot of the people already knew each other and I felt like I was the oldest and the biggest person there. Everyone else was doing advanced exercises and I could barely squat. But everyone in that session was helpful and encouraging regardless of their ability level though.

This was a different atmosphere than some other gyms I had been to where I heard people talking about how someone “like me” should be in a special class and people get looked down on but at Twoguns I could do what I could where it was appropriate and also do exercises that would build me up to the “normal” exercises when appropriate. It was all about you getting better compared to your former self, not someone else. Weight and age have never been an issue from day one.

The Twoguns staff has been absolutely amazing since day one. They have been kind and supportive when I needed it and they have been brutally honest when I needed it too. They are the only place that has given me the confidence to put a dress on and deadlift 325 pounds. They have helped me set goals and than smash those goals in the face. I have done things I had only dreamed of.

Chari Dress DL PR

They were always able to work around my sometimes insane schedule and the many family emergencies I had last year. They were even able to help me stay on track with my workouts when I broke my foot. They have helped me become a much stronger person physically and mentally. I used to back down and never stick up for myself. I doubted myself all the time. Now I will stick up for myself and I refuse to let people or things stand in my way. I have goals and am confident that I can reach them. 2015 is my year!

The Twoguns family is just that, a family. They have advanced programming and all the new equipment that they dont have everywhere else but the family is the true differentiation. Everyone pushes everyone else to be the best that they can be. I have learned that I am way stronger than I ever thought possible. I have learned that I dont have to be perfect but I have to always give my best. I have learned that it is okay to fall, sometimes on your ass when your squat is not perfect, as long as you get back up. Someone will always have your back. I have learned that you can hold steady or move forward but you can not go backwards. I have learned that even though I have lost my weight many times before, I don’t know everything. Sometimes I just have to admit that someone is smarter than me. I am not exactly where I want to be as far as fitness goes yet but I am finally comfortable in my own skin. A self proclaimed force to be reckoned with. Many thanks to everyone for helping me find my “inner beast.” ”

Chari March 2015

Chari USB OHP

For Results Like Chari – Apply for this year’s New Year New You



(From Dan – We have a great guest blog from our of our long-time, rockstar clients Jesse aka JGraff aka “The Artist Formerly Known As Jammin Jesse. He wrote his testimonial guest blog a couple of years ago now and it was actually the first guest blog we ever posted on this blog. You can find that HERE. I’ll let him take over.)

“I’ve never done this sort of thing before, so bear with me.  Confession is hard to do.

I guess we’re supposed to talk about our journey right?  I was always a big kid. I wore “husky” jeans from Sears when I was a kid, but I don’t think I was your stereotypical fat kid.  I was highly active and solid.  My Mom is a nurse so for the most part we were aware of what was healthy and what wasn’t growing up, and candy was a real treat.  Moreso, fast food was a luxury.  In hindsight I don’t know if that was simply because it was bad for us, or if my parents just hated buying food?  Regardless, the rare trip to McDonald’s or Burger King was a joy.  As I recall, I was about 190 lbs heading in to High School, I played football and rode BMX constantly.  I had, however at that point, already started smoking.

During Freshman year I decided I didn’t want to play football any more (regret that one).  I thought it’d be a lot more fun to hang out with friends and get in trouble.  I still rode my bike everywhere, until the day after my 16th birthday when I got my license and became obsessed with driving.  In case you don’t know that’s what I do for a living, I have a trucking company.  Anyway, I’m pretty sure that’s where I took a turn for the worse weight wise.

By the time I graduated I was probably over 220, I don’t really recall specifically because I didn’t care very much.  I was mostly sedentary, spending my free time either with my girlfriend (now wife) or (video) gaming with friends.  We’d play to the wee hours of the morning and hit Eat N park for a greasy breakfast and a thousand cups of coffee and cigarettes, head home as the sun was rising and sleep to the afternoon.  You can obviously see that’s not a healthy pattern, and really didn’t last more than a year or so but it was a significant enough time that it drove the nail in the coffin of my fitness.  Because I survived that, and in my youth believed that I felt good, I was impervious and could do whatever I wanted to, eat and drink whatever I wanted to, without repercussion.

At 20, I was about 240 lbs.  I noticed the weight gain, but thought I felt good.  I had gotten a place with friends and we partied like it was our job.  I turned 21 and really took a liking to this whole beer-and-wings business!  To sit and drink a pitcher of beer and eat 20 wings was common on Thursday nights at Greengarden, then at the end of the night hit Taki’s for Greek grilled cheese sandwiches.  I’m not exaggerating, and that was just Thursday.  I began to balloon, shortly after I was married at 24 I tipped in at 300lbs.  At that point I met a guy at work who had a similar story, and he helped me cut a ton of weight using a modified Atkins-style diet as that was trendy at the time.

In the years since, I had see-sawed in weight but still remained heavy.  I’d tell people “I’d rather be fat and happy than skinny and miserable”.  Now we get to the fataholic part of this conversation, because that’s absolutely no different than saying “at least when I’m drunk I feel good” or “I’d rather be stoned and happy than sober and sad”.  The reason that through all of those years when I ate quad stacker burgers from BK on the regular and drank a case of beer a week was that it was the food making me high, and I had to maintain that high to feel good.  I never came down from it, ever, but that required more and more and more and more food all the time.  I know now that foods, especially energy dense foods that are high in sugar and fat affect the brain in exactly the same way that heroin, cocaine and opium do.  We crave dopamine, and food makes it.  It makes us feel good.  Studies show that obese people have naturally lower levels of dopamine in a fasting state; drug addicts have the same condition.  Did we start out with low levels of dopamine?  Probably not, because the more you compensate most any body chemical, the less your body makes of it naturally.  You begin to require that boost to reach the proper level.  You need the boost to feel good.  You need the bump in the morning.  You need that first smoke.  You need a shot of whiskey in your coffee.  Or do you?

Exercise produces dopamine.  Lots of it.  Stable, regular and sustainable dopamine (along with other happy-hormones like serotonin).  When I started with Twoguns, I quit smoking after 20 years.  Cold turkey, flat out.  January 20th will be two years.  Many people were flabbergasted that I quit and started working out but I don’t think that I’d have been able to quit WITHOUT working out.  It replaced that craving, the dopamine production.

But this isn’t about smoking, it’s about food.  Another thing I quit when I started was fast food, which was another challenge.  I was still “feeling good” from food and had to learn how to eat right.  I know now how to eat right but implementing that is a heady challenge that I struggle with way, way more than I ever had to fight a craving for cigarettes.  It’s not even in the same ballpark for me.  Given the option to eat an entire pizza or smoke a few cigarettes, I’m taking the pizza.  All day, every day.  It doesn’t take much to relapse.  Just a long work day, when I’ve run out of food in my lunch box but I’ve been at it for ten hours straight and I’m hungry and tired and I need a boost and can’t stomach any more water.  Then the next day it’s because I didn’t get up early enough to pack lunch.  Then the next day it’s just oh well I’ll stop eating fast food next week.  I begin to feel crappy without it, and it saps my motivation to go to the gym and get my work in.  It’s so easy to eat.  So easy.  Then, I get up at 5:15 and go work out, and I feel so much better than I do from eating.  I don’t feel like garbage afterwards, it doesn’t make me want to take a nap, it doesn’t make me want to drink.

I am a fataholic, and that’s something that I never understood when I was fat.  I’d hear studies on food addiction and scoff, but it’s real.  I have a problem with it, and that’s the first step to recovery.  I hope if you’ve read this whole thing, maybe you’ve seen something in common, and it clicked for you, and I’ll see you at the gym while I try to sweat off this weight I’ve slowly put back on in the past six months.”

(I first met Jesse two years ago this month. I was working out of a gym in the area and they were running a challenge they called Rock Your Rolls Off with a local radio station in which each of the 4 trainers/fitness professionals on staff would train a contestant for free for two months and then the winning contestant (who lost the most fat even though it turned out to only be overall weight) would get a free 1 year membership to the gym and a bunch of assorted prizes that were donated. The only issue was that the trainers including myself were independent contractors who didn’t work for the gym, we worked for ourselves and weren’t paid by the gym, we actually paid rent to the gym to run our business there, so the gym telling/asking us to do this, not paying us and giving us no real initiative or reason to do so was more or less obnoxious and they had no legal way to “make us” do this and I was busy so I wasn’t going to.

But I am glad I changed my mind and Im thankful I got to meet Jesse, help him transform his life, be part of his journey and am proud to call him a Twoguns success story and friend. Happy 2 Years brother.)

Guest Blog Eleven – Valerie Corrales

Posted: July 24, 2014 by dannytwoguns in Guest Blogs

Digital Camera

In this weeks guest blog, we have one of my longest Erie clients who has been with me since I started officially training here, Valerie Corrales, telling her story and her amazing results with Twoguns Training Systems. I know I say this often but this one is one of my favorites and an amazing success story that I am very proud of and honored to be a part of with her.

I first met Valerie in the very beginning of what would become my official professional venture into the fitness profession. It was before I even officially knew that it is what I wanted to do and where I wanted to do it.

The day I met her was shortly after my then roommates and I, on a night that involved a little too much Captain Morgan (this is why I don’t drink anymore haha) all dyed our hair bleached blonde, using the same box of whatever it is exactly that strips your hair of its color. And my head is way too big to be shaved so for a while my hair was looking less than stellar, blonde and a little patchy.

I met Valerie while she was doing a leg press machine that we were supposed to be moving at the gym I used to work at and train out of. I asked her how many sets she had left because we needed to move the machine and the first words out of her mouth to me were…

“That hair is not working for you at all…” She was right so I couldn’t really be too angry but nice to meet her as well. But so it began…

If you had told me at that moment she would be one of the best client success stories I would have I don’t even know what my response would have been. But alas, she absolutely has been and we’ve developed a great friendship in the process.

Im going to let Valerie do the rest of the talking for this post…

Valerie Before…

Digital Camera

“Hello I’m Valerie, I’m 27 years old and I began my journey with Dan and Twoguns Training systems approximately 4 years ago. I remember first meeting Dan with awful blonde hair in the halls of the gym he used to train out of and that I used to go to, as he kindly gave me tips on which machine(s) to use, or rather not use, to get the best end result. From that moment on we were inseparable.

I always had issues with weight growing up and with that came low self-esteem. Fitting into society was always a struggle and whether I was sad, angry or overwhelmed with happiness, food was always my escape. Throughout my teenage years I was a hefty girl who smashed big foot pizzas to the face, embraced nicknames like “Valerie Celery” and bullied my sister by locking her in the bathroom, well because it was funny and I was bigger than her.

My family physician was concerned and decided to lend a hand in hopes to help lower my weight and lead me down a healthier path. Without exercise and any change to my eating habits I was amazed on how I was actually able to drop some weight.

Years later life threw me a few curve balls that led me down a very dark and depressing road and my only comfort was food. I quickly gained any weight I had lost back and hated the person I saw in the mirror. I became bulimic, thinking this was a wise decision and fought many demons to overcome that battle. I chose to take the first step and join a gym in 2010 with hopes of positive reinforcement. Shortly after that, Danny Twoguns entered my life and since then I’ve never looked back.

I looked forward to the gym and enjoyed the group sessions Dan had designed for us, though after each completed workout I still felt something was missing. I realized I wasn’t really accomplishing the goals or targets I wanted to; I was only working out what I was in taking on a daily basis. I was ready for the “next level.”

Stuck in this plateau I felt, “Will I ever see any more results?” Is there a purpose in continuing this journey? Should I throw in the towel?” Then Dan challenged us all with the 6 week Muffin Top Meltdown. It seemed like the push I needed but I will admit I was mortified when he handed us each a packet. Inside this packet it explained the course of this challenge, and how our eating habits would change, workouts would be more intense, we would teach our bodies how to fast. At this moment I broke down lost all hopes in myself, felt as though Dan was purposely seeking out the weak and knew I was not going to be successful in this challenge. I DID NOT BELIEVE IN MYSELF, but Dan did. He even completely handled it when I broke down and cried because I didn’t think I could do the diet and the training.

Dan quickly proved me wrong and stuck by my corner. Not only was he my trainer, he was my mentor and a true friend I could lean on and learn from. He was patient and kind and answered all and any “silly/crazy” questions I threw his way, and trust me there were many, all while never judging or laughing at me. He motivated me and pushed me far beyond places I ever dreamed were possible. I slowly started seeing results again, and noticed my clothes were fitting loosely. 6 weeks later our challenge was up and tears of joy consumed me as I never in my wildest dreams thought I would ever see the results that came from this challenge. I lost 17 pounds in those 6 weeks alone. I had finally REACHED my GOAL weight something I previously thought I was not humanly impossible. I had definition, a waist and most importantly a BUTT!

I was finally proud of the woman’s reflection that was staring back at me in the mirror.

When I started with Dan, I was just below 200 pounds and depending on the clothes between a size 18-22. The last time Dan weighed me in I was 135.5 and I’m currently wearing a size 8!

As I write this I am filled with lots of emotions, as this journey has not been an easy one. Dan has coached me and taught me a better way to live life and enjoy it. Joining the Twoguns family was the best decision of my life and as stated, it’s a family, my FAMILY. Here at Twoguns Training Systems, it doesn’t matter your size, shape, color, strength ability, fitness level etc. They welcome all with open arms and guide you in becoming a better YOU.

We support each other, and leave no man/woman behind. It took one person to believe in me, to have faith that I am worth something and that person was DAN. With that being said I want to say THANK YOU DAN from the bottom of my heart for never giving up on me and always sticking in my corner. Because of you I have confidence, strength, energy, pride and a new purpose LIFE. I will forever be grateful to you and your wonderful team.” – Valerie Corrales

Valerie After…

Val After 2

7 10 Valerie Lateral Lunge

For Results Like Val – Apply for this year’s New Year New You



It is one of our core values, if not the most important core value at Twoguns Training Systems to constantly be learning and improving. In an industry and profession growing so rapidly, it is important to always be a student, always be learning, getting better and improving so continuing education is always a priority.

Up until recently, all of that continuing education involved me traveling to seminars, certifications and events to get better then brining the information and knowledge back to our train, reviewing and information with our team and implementing what was applicable. Now as our team expands and grows, earlier this month, I had the honor of sending one of my coaches to the DVRT Level I and II Certifications at Body Space in NYC with my mentor Josh Henkin and the great DVRT System.

I asked Dawn if she could write up a little lessons learned/recap of the weekend and she did a great job. I’ll let her take over from here…

DVRT Level 1 DB

“On March 1 and 2 of this year, I was lucky enough to travel to NYC and attend DVRT Certification Level 1&2 as a coach of Twoguns Training Systems and Danny Twoguns. For all of you who are not yet a part of the Twoguns Family, DVRT stands for Dynamic Variable Resistance Training. This was a thrilling opportunity for me, since I love coaching and the fact that I am newer to the fitness industry.

Wow! What an eye opening experience it was! I was instructed by leaders in the industry Josh Henkin, Steve “Coach Fury” Holiner, and James Newman among others.

Working for Twoguns Training Systems, I am extremely lucky to be mentored by Danny, who is infamous in this group. (Dan note – In a good way I hope haha) I felt I was adequately prepared for the two day course of instruction. Wow… Just when you think you are ahead of the curve, you learn so much more!

This seminar taught me to think completely different about this type of training. I am comfortable demonstrating and coaching these exercises because DVRT is the culture at Twoguns, but what I did not expect was to learn so much more about why we may do the exercises we do. The instruction was not only hands on and role playing, Josh really took the time to explain body mechanics and function and how this all integrates with the movement patterns.

The exciting thing is that there are regressions and progressions for every movement, a lot not even involving increasing weight, so any fitness level can benefit from these functional training patterns. The fact that most exercises all have a basic foundation of a few movements that we will eventually build upon to help us move better, which in turn gives us the ability to build muscle, strengthen our bodies and turn them into fat burning machines without using just machines and dumbbells.

I think the most interesting part to me was learning that using unstable implements (like Ultimate Sand Bags or USB as we call them) actually will help you build more strength than your standard barbells/dumbbells. Your body has to work harder to stabilize an implement like a USB because each movement will not be the same and cannot be replicated. Your body actually uses more muscles, because it has to stabilize! Very cool stuff!

DVRT Cert 2

Overall, a great weekend with a great host in a fantastic gym, great coaches and one hell of a workout. As you learned all of the movement patterns, you had to demonstrate them all and learn by doing as well as coaching each other. For those of you that know me, I am surely not afraid of a hard workout, but wow. I was whooped. We did have a physical test as well as a written test. The physical portion was administered half way through the first day. Definitely a humbling experience. I am fortunate however, as I practice the exercise we were tested on and had a good teacher at it, so I feel I had an advantage.

I passed with flying colors and actually completed it in record time. I also passed the written portion as of this past Monday. I am now a DVRT Level 1&2 Certified Instructor! How lucky for our clients – they receive training that is ahead of the industry from highly skilled coaches in a state-of-the-art facility.

I couldn’t have done it without you, Dan. Thank you so much for having faith in my abilities and giving me the opportunity to have my dream job. I also want to thank all of our clients. You all keep me inspired to do what I love to do. I LOVE MY JOB!”

Guest Blog Nine – Genevieve DeRose

Posted: February 14, 2014 by dannytwoguns in Guest Blogs

Today we have our newest installment in the guest blogs series with “Pilates Gen” DeRose. She is a great success story and one I am particularly proud of because it took a lot of time and effort to convince her that lifting weights would not make her “bulky.” She claimed that any time she had in the past, she had gotten too muscular and “manly.”

She had resided to the fact that was she was doing currently wasn’t working but initially wasn’t ready to admit that the solution was lifting weights… and lifting heavy ones at that. It was a battle but we made it through and she is definitive proof that lifting heavy and responsibly (that is just as important) will not make a woman “bulky,” in fact it can and does make them smaller.

I’ll let her and her before picture(s) take over…

Gen Before

“So, here it is. Two years later, and I am finally ready to admit that I was wrong!

When I first met Dan, he was working on the floor at Nautilus. I was in the midst of my “normal” routine—triceps, abs, run. He stopped me and asked if he could show me some things. In typical Gen fashion I resisted…and then reluctantly let him show me an exercise.

Now, I KNOW better. I am also a fitness professional. I KNOW why trainers are important, and why it is essential to keep your body challenged. However, I had fallen back into doing only the exercises that I wanted to do. I was getting nowhere, fast. I was overweight. I wasn’t making any progress. I was unhappy and frustrated.

Gen Middle

I resisted pretty much EVERYTHING Dan wanted me to do. Pull-ups? No way! Deadlift? Heck no! I’m too old to care to do any of those exercises, plus I don’t want to get bulky. Sound familiar ladies???

After some persuasion, I agreed to start seeing Dan once a week in his TRX group personal training session he had at the time. I quickly realized how much I enjoyed Dan and his systems. I progressed to two days a week–one personal session, one group. Over two years later, I am now seeing Dan three personal days a week.

Dan treated me with kindness…and patience. Which wasn’t an easy task. I can be a terrible client—kind of the like the doctor being a bad patient.

Two years later, 25 pounds later, and the smallest (and least bulky) I have been in 15 years—I am a very happy girl. I deadlift. I lift heavy. I do pull-ups. I do more one-legged push-ups than I ever thought possible. Most of all– I feel confident.

Dan has not only helped me find my pre-baby body, but he has helped me push through the negative mind space I was in after a divorce. I honestly never in a million years thought I could be where I am right now again—physically and mentally.

For those considering a major lifestyle change…DO IT! Every person’s story is different; struggles individual, but Dan and Twoguns Training Systems works. You WILL persevere and achieve success!”

Gen After 1

Gen After 2

Getting Gen to agree to after pictures was no easy task so be sure to comment over on Facebook and let her know how great her progress has been and as always be sure to let me know what you think. Thanks for reading, talk to you next time.

Guest Blog Eight – Mary Clark

Posted: January 23, 2014 by dannytwoguns in Guest Blogs

The New Year New You has kicked off with a bang and I couldn’t have ask for better turnout and progress. Here we have a guest blog from one of the current New Year New You participants, Mary Clark and her story about how she found success in simply losing weight but how it didn’t get her the body she wanted until she started focusing on the strength training aspect of fat loss. Great story from Mary and proud of her. I’ll let her take over…

Mary Before

“I’m Mary, a 25 year old who turned to food way too much in college. Since I was 4 years old, I danced. Tap, Jazz, Soft shoe ballet, Pointe, hip hop, you name it- I’ve done it. What started out as dancing one day a week, quickly turned to five days a week, not only taking my own classes, but instructing dance as well.

My weight was never an issue until college. I was so proud of myself freshmen year- I avoided the “Freshmen 15”, only gaining 4 pounds my first year. The late night drinking and eating of sophomore year started catching up with me, and I noticed that my pants gradually were fitting a little tighter each day.

My junior year, I was chosen to be a Resident Assistant. Usually, I was stuck in a dorm building, taking most meals to go, so I could be in the building. I had to stay up late at night twice during the week and turned to snacking to keep me awake. Candy and pizza were my late night snacks of choice. It wasn’t just late night though, I’d have 2 or 3 Starbucks Frappuccinos during the day. Going into school I was a pant size 6, coming out of school I was a size 12, probably more like a 14, but refused to buy another size larger…

It wasn’t until one day in 2011 I realized how out of shape I had become. My best friend wanted me to go run the track with her. Begrudgingly I went, but had to walk almost the entire time. My knees hurt. My feet hurt. I was embarrassed. I was angry with myself. But it was exactly what I needed to get my motivation.

I started my healthier lifestyle January 1st, 2012, but this New Year’s Resolution stuck. I started eating better, got plenty of cardio in, either going to group fitness classes, running or using an elliptical. I was able to lose about 35 pounds by September. I felt good about my improved body, but not great. My skin felt loose and couldn’t get the definition I’ve wanted for so long.

Mary

I had become friends with a lot of Dan’s clients, and they finally convinced me to just try a few sessions. I remember how sore I was after that first session. It had been months since I’d been that sore- and it felt GREAT! I knew that I found something that was really going to help me tighten and tone my body. I lost inches and pounds with Dan’s help and now fit into my high school pants, except I need a belt, because the waist is too big!

Dan has always been patient with me, answering any “silly” question about form I have. But he’s also pushed me to places I never thought were possible. My guy friends couldn’t believe I was swinging a 28kg (62+ pound) kettlebell, and neither could I. A few months ago, I actually beat one of my guy friends in an arm wrestling contest!

I feel like I ask Dan a million questions every time I see him, “I need to increase my draw weight for hunting, what can I do?” – “I’d like more definition in my quads, what can I do?” – “Do I really have to give up my coffee?”, and he always gives me a truthful answer. I finally have a body I’m proud of. It’s not perfect, I still have stretch marks and sure, there are inches that can be pinched, but it’s mine, and I worked damn hard for this.

I’m so glad that I chose Dan and Twoguns Training Systems as my trainers. I don’t tell him enough how much I appreciate his training and how much faith he has in me. Together Dan and I set realistic goals that can be achieved, and that goal setting has helped me lose just shy of 50 pounds. Every time he increases the amount of weight, he always assures me I can do it. I look forward to seeing more positive changes in my body, new PRs (personal records), added flexibility, and what Twoguns has in store for me next!”

Mary After

Mary is continuing to crush it in the New Year New You and I look forward to the continued progress. As always let me know what you think and be sure to give Mary a shout out over on Facebook.

Guest Blog Seven – April Blum

Posted: January 15, 2014 by dannytwoguns in Guest Blogs

We have another client success story and guest blog from rockstar client, April Blum. I always use April as an example when people try to use the time excuse for not being able to work out. April has 8 kids and a full time job as a teacher. If that isn’t time constraints, I don’t know what is, but she still finds time to crush it in the gym and achieve fantastic goals.

I’ll let her takeover from here.

April Before…

April Before

April Before 2

(April’s first day of school, right before the Back to School Transformation Challenge)

“Hi, my name is April Blum. I am a 40 year old mother of eight (ages 21 to 2), who recently started the Twoguns Training Systems program. I gained quite a bit of weight when I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism seven ago and had not been able to get it off. I am a busy woman with my children and husband, participating in many activities and organizations, working, and with all the running around and walking I’ve done I still could not lose any weight.

In the summer I would be so uncomfortable going for walks because my thighs would rub together and chafe. I wore loose clothing and was a “casual dresser” so I could be somewhat comfortable in the activities I did.

I had arthritis in both my knees, which was managed by taking large doses of pain meds three times a day. Walking or standing was painful, making the idea of “working out” an impossible thought. I had become resigned to the idea that I would be heavy the rest of my life, just like many members of my family. My grandmother passed away at 50 from complications from being morbidly obese. Many members of my family have diabetes, so it was simply a matter of time for me.

Then something happened…

Four months ago Dan challenged me, the other teachers, and principal at my school to a “Back to School Transformation Challenge.” I thought there was no way I would participate in this program, but when Dan spoke to us he had me at, “You do not have to run, or do extreme cardio to lose weight.” I took the opportunity and support of my family and jumped into the challenge.

My first day was fun, not easy, but NOT HARD either, not anything like what I thought it would be. Come to think of it, all the exercises we do at Twoguns Training Systems are not what I had psyched myself out for when I agreed to start the challenge. What amazed me from the beginning was the positive support and encouragement from the Twoguns team and how many different fitness levels were working together and allowing each person in the groups to attain success.

I found myself ENJOYING my workouts; what’s more, I actually LOOKED FORWARD to getting to the gym. Little by little I found that my clothes were fitting more comfortably, my energy levels were increasing, my pain was actually decreasing, and my mood was even better. I learned I didn’t need to eat 47 times a day (something I never would have been able to do) to lose weight. I ate foods I loved; I didn’t have to put a meal plan together, eat foods from a box, and take any diet pills, shakes or “sprinkles” to lose the weight.

April After 11-11

April After 2 11-11

(April’s After Pictures for the Back to School Transformation Challenge)

I won the challenge with a total loss of 25 pounds in 8 weeks and was hooked! I have lost 40 pounds to date since starting with Twoguns and am down 6 SIZES!!!!! I now see how my body is transforming into a leaner and stronger me I haven’t seen in over 20 years! I could never thank Dan or his team enough for giving me the ability to carry my two year old up and down the stairs to bed each night pain free, or the relief that I no longer need to take the pain medication for my arthritis that came with its own long term side effects.

My hope and encouragement goes out to all those who have similar circumstances to mine. Take the opportunity and transform, not just your body, but your life by joining Twoguns Training Systems!”

April After 1 14

April After 2 1 14

(Current April – 40+ pounds and many inches later)

April completely changed her life and started her true fitness journey all with an 8 week transformation challenge. It isn’t too late for you to do the same. Our next 8 week transformation challenge starts on January 30th. Apply here for this year’s New Year New You




.

Guest Blog Six – Candy Kemp

Posted: January 9, 2014 by dannytwoguns in Guest Blogs

It has been a little while since we have had a client’s guest blog/testimonial up and we have a couple of good ones lined up. The first is Candy Kemp. Candy didn’t join the Twoguns Training Systems family because she wanted to lose fat or dress sizes like the majority of our clientele. She joined because she had osteoporosis and could no longer do the things she enjoyed without pain or simply being unable to do them. She wanted to get stronger and she wanted to fight her osteoporosis as best she could. And she has definitely killed them both.

This first time I ever spoke to Candy, the first thing she said to me was “Listen, Im old, (she was 60) and I cant do things a lot of things and things everyone else can and Im okay with that.” To which I replied, “Age is simply a number that doesnt matter to me in the least. We judge what you can and cant do by assessments and what you actually can and cant do, not by what an arbitrary numbers tells us. And I guarantee you will be able to do things you think you cant with strength, practice and commitment.” She gave me a funny look that was scared but interested/excited at the same time and it all started from there. A great journey and great friendship.

But I wont give too much more away and I’ll let Candy take over…

“Lifting has never been part of my fitness routine; but, after three months in a nonweight bearing foot cast, I was weak. Add to that a diagnosis of osteoporosis; I was anxious. I knew weight-bearing exercises could improve both, but I lacked confidence, and I believed I was too weak and too old to make any progress. However, one afternoon in December, on a whim, I hired Danny Twoguns as my trainer.

I repeatedly told him, “I’m weak and old, and I have a newly healed broken foot.” His response was that age doesn’t matter–anyone can improve strength, and that he’d watch out for the healed foot. “Let’s go have some fun, CandyKemp!” he said. FUN? … YIKES!

After two sessions, I knew Dan was not only knowledgeable in his corrective instruction technique, but he had an intuitive ability to adapt a program for my needed gains in strength and stability. I continued with Dan and his system, hoping for change. My foot responded well, but the conclusive test came in April—the DEXA scan. My results were so encouraging. I no longer had osteoporosis! I had moved into the osteopenia category. My physician was pleased and said that if more women would engage in weight-bearing exercise, osteoporosis could be managed with little to no medication. (BTW: I have never taken any medication.)

That was almost two years ago.

Though bone mass is the most important gain, I have gained so much more than bone mass. Confidence, strength, and hope cannot be seen with a diagnostic machine, yet I have them.

I look forward to active senior years. Dan’s coaching style inspires me to believe I’m strong because I see the proof, and instructs me on the reason behind the exercise so that I trust my program. Although gardening can still strain a few muscles, completing two triathlons, a few 5K’s, and a half-marathon posed little problem. I’m looking forward to lifting my kayak to the roof of my car next spring so that I can go have some FUN. Oh, did I mention my eighteenth month old granddaughter? Well, she and I play and play, and dance and dance.

Thanks, Dan and the Twoguns Training Systems team.”

CandyKemp

Great story from Candy, I hope you enjoyed it. I’ll be posting another client guest blog next week as well. And of course, if you are interested in changing you life and finding out how we change the way fitness is done, the New Year New You transformation chaillenge is a perfect starting place.