About two weeks ago I saw a new flier at the gym. It was one of the trainers whom had gone through a remarkable transformation, Randy Knipfel. It was really astonishing. Randy happens to be my son’s age and they may have played opposite each other in football games in their Junior year.
His story is much like a lot of us, we get in a routine, life happens, we really haven’t looked in the mirror and then pfft, what the heck. Randy did something about it and lost 100 pounds. Yep, he did. He looks “badass”. I think I can say that.
Randy happens to be one of the trainers at the gym I go to. Trainers like to inspire members to make lifestyle changes that will benefit their long term needs through training. With training you have someone to be accountable to (because we all need that), and you learn a cadre of exercises that will help you build strength with the added benefit of redefining your body at a faster pace.
I want you to think about this a little bit, how much strength do you have today and compare yourself to an earlier you. I’m going to tell you, you’ve lost a lot. Studies have proven that even small changes help to increase bone density, increase strength and in a short time. I’m referring to Dr. Miriam Nelson’s studies in her book, Strong Women Stay Young.
I write inspirational stories to first celebrate the individual for all their hard work, and secondly and hopefully, you the reader, will be inspired to make a healthy lifestyle change too.
So here we go:
Randy, what is your background?
I was born and raised in Crystal Lake, IL. I started playing sports at the age of fifteen months and continued playing team sports all the way through college.
Where did you go to college and what did you study?
When I graduated from Prairie Ridge high school in 2005 I went to Harper Junior College from 2005-2007 to play football. While at Harper I started every game as an offensive lineman and also earned academic All-American honors in having a GPA over 3.0 every semester attending Harper College. After my years at Harper College I earned a full scholarship to play football at Marian University in Indianapolis, IN. While at Marian I was team captain and started every game there as well, in which not too many athletes can say they have started in every game in their college career. I graduated in 2010 with my Bachelor of Science in Sports Performance earning a cumulative GPA of 3.14.
What inspired you to start a new lifestyle change?
I was always overweight because I needed to be for football. Eating fast food all the time and not watching what I ate continued after my football career. Bad habits caught up to me fast and got me in the worst shape of my life. I topped at 290lbs, the most I have ever weighted. My friends actually inspired me to start a new life and change it to a healthier one. All my friends were losing weight and getting into the best shape of their lives. I decided to join them and see how far I could push myself to get that body I have always dreamed about.
What drew you to become a trainer?
While at Marian I also coached football and was the Asst. Strength and Condition coach. While doing both of those jobs I developed a passion for teaching and coaching others in getting better on and off the field. Seeing the changes I was making for them, helping to develop their skills which led them to getting into the best shape of their lives, I knew the fitness industry was the perfect fit for me. Once you have changed one person’s life, in some way, training others becomes a passion and something you never want to stop doing.
How long have you been a trainer?
I have been training for four years and have trained many clients. Their combined weight loss is over 500lbs.
What drew you to come to Algonquin?
Nick Hunt drew me to Fitness 19. He is a personal friend and has been a personal trainer there for years. Nick and I played football together in high school and have always kept in touch. He would always tell me to come and train there, so one day I came in and handed in my resume to the manager. I have been there ever since, which is about 8 months. I couldn’t be happier with the people I work with and the club I train at.
What would you say to others to help them lead a healthier lifestyle?
I would tell people to have a positive attitude when you walk into the gym, don’t give up when you’re not seeing the results you want, just keep working hard every day, don’t be overwhelmed, and ask as many questions about cardio, diet, and resistance you can to develop a foundation to build a better and healthier lifestyle. Living a healthier lifestyle can help you prevent health risks such as strokes, heart attacks, diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and stress. Why would you not want to start leading your lie into a healthier direction NOW?
What have you noticed since working out that you do better or what are the surprises you’ve noticed since working out?
The thing that surprises me since I started working out is how quickly your body can change once cutting out all the pop, candy, and fast food. Also how your body reacts to certain foods, strength programs, and the cardio you perform. Fitness is a lot about trial and error and seeing what works for you and what doesn’t.
What is your favorite exercise that you get the best results from?
My favorite exercises that I see the most results from are squats and deadlifts. These exercises work the whole entire body to develop overall strength and endurance.
What’s your favorite saying when working out?
My favorite saying is “Let’s go, finish strong for me”
For the person just deciding to get into a fitness routine, what would you suggest for them?
I would suggest to the person who is just starting to work out that it’s not about how much weight you can lift but using proper technique to prevent injury. Strength and results will not come without proper technique. I would also recommend to perform functional movements such as squats, lunges, burpees, sit ups, pushups because you can do these at home as well at the gym with different types of equipment (dumbbells, med-balls, and barbells). By performing functional movements you will burn more calories because you are using your body weight and performing with just body weight is much harder than using weights.
What is your philosophy for clients?
My philosophy is you have to want it and be dedicated in achieving it. With a commitment to your workout and making good choices, you can achieve anything and everything.
When you’re not working what are you up to?
If I’m not working or at the gym, in which I’m usually there most hours of the day I’m hanging out with my family and friends.
Given what you do, is there a client that you feel you’ve helped to turn their health around?
It’s really hard to pick just one client that I have change their life into a healthier one because all my clients have made huge progress in so many ways, but if I had to pick one it would be a client who had both knees replaced, spine problems and pretty out of shape. Since then the client has lost over 50lbs and just broke a personal best on the leg press of 300lbs for 12 reps. At the beginning the client wasn’t physically able to press 70 pounds.