Handing over the Fit for Life baton
By Michilea Patterson
This week, I say goodbye to the community as the director of the Fit for Life initiative. I helped to start this initiative more than three years ago which was made possible through a partnership between Digital First Media and the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation. It has evolved into a full community resource that’s free to use. There are articles on various healthful living topics, free community events and a website full of information.
The project will continue to be part of the local community, in the meantime, please contact Aixa Torregrosa-Vázquez for any Fit for Life related matters and story ideas. She can be reached by email at email@example.com.
A local trainer is making fitness accessible and convenient for her clients through an app that uses video call sessions and goal-setting practices to make the change to a healthier lifestyle that much easier.
Fabienne Daniel, 36, is a working mother that resides in Temple. In 2015, she started a fitness journey that led to a total body transformation resulting in a 60-pound weight loss.
“My transformation attracted so many people to me,” Daniel said.
After people started seeing the positive changes in Daniel’s body, they contacted her wanting to know what she did and how she did it. Daniel, now a certified personal trainer, created an app to help lead others on their path toward better health just like the one she took two years ago. In November of last year, she created the Fabz Fit app. The app allows Daniel to work with clients throughout Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey, New York and Maryland. She even has a client in The Bahamas.
Daniel said working on creating a healthier version of yourself should be an enjoyable process and the goal is for people to achieve that through the app. She said people have busy lives with work, children and other responsibilities so the Fabz Fit app is a convenient way for people to get in better shape. Through the app, people realize the gym isn’t the only place you can get results at but it can be done from home as well.
“The process is not supposed to be stressful. The minute it becomes a stressful situation, it’s hard for the body to lose the weight,” Daniel said.
She said the app helps to eliminate the stress factor because it accommodates a variety of lifestyles and schedules. She said the flexibility and convenience of it helps people to enjoy the process of transforming instead of dreading it.
To begin, app users create a personalized profile then schedule a session with Daniel where she will get body measurements. They find out what their body fat percentage is and what their current weight is. Then Daniel will work with a client to set up a plan for fitness and healthy eating that fits into their individual lifestyle. The food diary app, MyFitnessPal, integrates with the Fabz Fit app so people track their meals. App users can also set individual goals and track their workout progression. There’s even a place for progression photos. Anytime an app user has a question then they can easily contact Daniel through the messenger feature on the app.
Daniel said the mission of the app is for people to connect their mind and body to stay consistent so they can make a true healthy lifestyle change. She said no one wants to put in all the hard work of regular exercise and changing their eating habits, only to fall back into old habits later. Daniel said the app is not about relying on a specific program or even another person because then it will be easy to revert to old ways. She said it’s about making the change within yourself so that you will continue to overcome obstacles.
Daniel has been practicing Buddhism since 2008 and said it’s a way of life that helps people deal with real life challenges.
“With Buddhism, we truly believe that you have this innate potential to really overcome and change whatever it is that you struggle with,” she said.
Daniel said the app uses those same type of principles because it forces people to look at their own behavior and encourages them to make healthy changes for themselves, not for anyone else.
“It’s a relationship between you and yourself in a way,” she said.
Daniel said the app still has an accountability feature since she is there with the clients every step of the way but it allows people to figure out how they need to change their own behavior to start new, healthier habits.
One of Daniel’s clients also practices Buddhism. Kevin Sherman, 43, of Collegeville, knew Daniel before her transformation. Her journey to a healthier lifestyle motivated him to have one of his own. The two of them meet regularly to study Buddhism and discuss challenges they are facing. Sherman said the practice relates to health in several ways.
“Everyone has their own potential and life is about unlocking that potential. Obstacles are your opportunities,” he said.
Sherman said he was never athletic and started believing that being 215 pounds was just normal for him. When he saw Daniel go through her weight loss and overcome challenges then he knew he could as well. He started training with her through the Fabz Fit app in March. By July, he was down to 185 having lost 30 pounds. He has continued to keep the weight off since then. Sherman said he’s done other weight loss programs in the past but would still feel terrible and ended up gaining back whatever weight he lost.
“They told you how to get to a weight loss goal but they didn’t really teach you how to transform your life,” he said.
Sherman works from home. He is also a husband and father of two so the convenience of the app was a big benefit. He can fit in exercises according to his schedule. He does a lot of the workouts at home using weights, resistance bands and his own body weight. He said Daniel uploads videos of the workouts to the app so people know the correct form to use.
Daniel said during her video calls with clients, she also discusses the importance of proper breathing during exercise.
“If you’re not getting enough oxygen in then you’re not really doing anything … You got to breathe through the movement,” she said.
Sherman said through the workouts and the consistency the app helped him to keep, he is now able to run an 8-minute mile. He has also made improvements in his nutrition. He’s cut out the white rice and bread and replaced it with items such as sweet potatoes. He now eats on a more regular schedule by having a meal or snack every two to three hours.
“In the first week, I increased how much I was eating which was very counterintuitive,” Sherman said.
For more information about the Fabz Fit app, visit the website at fabzfit.com or email Daniel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more healthy living stories including recipes, visit the Fit for Life website at www.pottsmercfit4life.com.