Success Stories

Before taking Rachel’s Senior Strength class Michele’s back was very weak. She could barely lift a gallon of water, her movement was limited and hiking uphill was slow and difficult.  In July 2014, she began taking Rachel’s Senior Strength class. During class they perform a variety of functional exercises including the Kinesis wall, stability ball, and core and strengthening exercises.  Now, since faithfully coming to Rachel’s class, she can easily lift a variety of things including a 15 gallon propane tank! Her body is more flexible which allows her greater ease and agility in her everyday movements. And hiking is fun again! Michele can hike uphill with a strong and quick pace.

Michele credit’s Rachel for being very patient, kind and every attentive, always making sure that each exercise gives maximum benefit with no stress or harm. Senior Strength is from 2-3pm on Tuesday and Thursday and 1-2pm on Wednesday.

- Michele Browne

 

This last year Brittany Williams lost over 80 pounds through diet and exercise at The Wave.  She credits her success to a supportive husband, sustainable diet and dedication to her goal.  

 At the end of 2010, Brittany weighed 154lbs.  In 2011, Brittany lost a few of her extended family members as well as a dear friend. Needless to say, this was a huge stress in her life. She became less active and quickly gained weight.  In a few months she had gained 15 pounds. Then, in the spring of 2012 Brittany became pregnant with her third child. Throughout her pregnancy she gained 70 pounds.  After the birth of her daughter in December of 2012 she weighed 240 pounds.

Brittany’s weight gain affected the whole family; her husband also gained weight and her 2 older boys became less active. The family ate junk food and frozen meals.

Things changed in July of 2013. Brittany saw recent pictures of herself and decided it was finally time for a change.  She gave herself a year: September 2013 to September 2014 – to turn her life around.  Brittany began a diet consisting mostly of whole foods: fruits, vegetables, grains and lots of protein. She cut out all processed foods and increased her daily water intake. Water not only fills her up but allows her to stay hydrated and energized throughout the day.  She does not eat after 6pm but if she does it is a protein shake.  She has gone from eating 2,500 calories a day to 1,700.

Brittany works out at The Wave 5 mornings a week for an hour, often with her husband. Her workouts vary, from cardio to weight training to her favorite activity, swimming in the lap pool.  This September she achieved her goal of turning her life around. She has more energy and enthusiasm. Her whole family has changed their diet and is more active as well.

Her next goal – from September 2014 to September 2015 is to continue to tone her body, as well as begin a program to become a personal trainer.

- Brittany Williams

This past March, Whitefish policemen Mike Ferda,  Shane Erikson, Bridger Kelch, David Baker and police chief Bill Dial began working out together. They started a program called SealFit, a military fitness training program.  They have lost inches, gained strength and shed pounds.

SEALFIT was developed by retired Navy SEAL Commander Mark Divine for the unique and specialized needs of professionals seeking to reach their fullest potential, for first responders, industrial athletes and military forces and life-long warrior-athletes to perform their jobs and come home safely.” –sealfit.com

Their training program is 3 fold: each session is 4-8 weeks and each session builds on the other. Workouts are modified for each individual.  The crew is currently in their 3rd session.  Even though they are at various fitness levels, they always work out together, which helps them stay motivated and push further. Their motto is “Better Every Day.” Find a way to get yourself to The Wave every day

To be SEALFIT is to embody the character traits of discipline, drive, determination, service, self-mastery, honor, integrity, courage and authentic leadership.” –sealfit.com

Through their commitment to exercise, Mike, Shane, Bridger, David and Bill have become close; a band of brothers who lead active lives, always striving to become better. They are the only police department in the state with a mandatory fitness test, which means the Whitefish Police Department is fit!

They credit The Wave for being an innovative, inviting facility that meets their fitness needs. You can catch them performing all kinds of crazy workouts any day of the week!

- Whitefish Police Crew - Band of Brothers

Meet John Disney, dedicated Wave member who has lost over 70 pounds!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born and raised here in the Flathead Valley.   In 1996, I joined the military and spent seven years in US Army.   Throughout those 7 years I lived in Georgia, Arizona and Kuwait.  I moved back to the Valley in 2003.

What inspired you to lose weight?

After my time with the US army I became pretty sedentary.  I was tired of how I felt and the way I looked.  I could not enjoy the things I used to do.  The decision to change had been building, as I was emotionally tormenting myself.  I finally joined The Wave in January of 2012. I thought, “John, if you are going to join a gym then you better use it!”

How did you create a workout routine?

I began with cardio, abs and the elliptical machine.  Lots of cardio! For the first year I worked out 7 days a week.  I did cardio every day.  I started with 15 minutes and within a few weeks I worked myself up to 30 minutes.  As of now, I can do up to 90 minutes!

Also that first year I lifted weights every other day. I completely wore myself out!  Now I work out 5 days a week with 2 rest days. I still do cardio, free weights and some light shoulder exercises.  I work hard on proper form.  It feels so good when I leave the gym after a great workout.  For me, working out provides clarity and stress relief.

What are your current fitness goals?

I would like to get down to the weight I was when I was in the military, 180 pounds. But I’ve put a lot more muscle on, so I want to hit 200 pounds.  Twenty five more to go!

How has your diet changed?

I used to eat a big breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Now I try not to overeat. I don’t count calories, but I definitely have better control over my diet.  One of the biggest changes has been eating lean meat. I’m a bass fisherman so I love to eat fish.

What advice would you give someone who is looking to make a lifestyle change?

Be active every day.  At least doing something.  Start with exercise; it’s good for the mind and body.  Start small. When you set a goal, take small steps and stick with it. Don’t overexert until your body’s capable of being pushed. 

- John Disney

Susan and her husband have lived in New Mexico for the last 20 years. They moved here on a whim 9 years ago while they were on a road trip visiting ski towns throughout the West. They fell in love with Whitefish and are proud to call it home.

How did you come to join The Wave?

I had been working out with other trainers throughout the Flathead Valley and was not getting any results. This past February I joined the Wave and began working with Personal Trainer John Sullivan. He is my 5th trainer and by far the best!! John keeps our workouts fresh, fun and is always pushing me and encouraging me. I love his positive attitude. One of the aspects I like most is John’s attention to proper form. He makes sure I am using the right technique to get the most benefit out of my exercises.

What are your fitness goals?

My goal is to feel good every day and stay as healthy as I can. I love to ski and ride my horse. When I began training with John I could hardly throw a saddle on my horse. Now I have to make sure I don’t toss it over too far! Strength training has made ALL the difference. My balance on my horse and on snow skis is so much better.  I have also lost about 10 pounds, which is a bonus!

What do you like to do on the days you are not working with John?

I enjoy the group fitness classes here at The Wave. I like taking Zumba, Yoga and Pilates. They are a nice balance to my cardio and strength training.  I also participated in the Inches A Way program in April and May.

“I always look forward to my training sessions with John. It is so great to see results. Success breeds success.”

- Susann Blackman

Parkside Credit Union - Corporate Fit Challenge
 
The Corporate Fit Challenge is a great opportunity for co-workers to get fit, eat healthy and lose weight together in a supportive environment under the expert guidance of The Wave’s fitness staff.  The program is six weeks long.  At the kick-off, everyone gets weighed and measured.  During the first week of the challenge, participants meet with their personal trainer to learn a work out and discuss how to overcome their barriers to success.  Two additional half hour training sessions are scheduled throughout the challenge for exercise program modification. Participants also receive online food coaching from their trainer and email support encouraging them to continue to work towards their goal.  A group workout is scheduled once per week to allow everyone to try different types of exercise in a supportive environment.  At the end of the challenge, The Wave hosts a party to celebrate everyone’s success and award prizes to participants.  
 
Parkside Credit Union recently participated in a Corporate Fit Challenge and together they lost 95.5 pounds and 76.6 inches.  Here is what some of the participants had to say about their experience:
 
Corporate Fit was a great way to get back into living a healthy lifestyle. Working with teams of people I know and trust gave me the extra motivation I needed to make and maintain the changes toward living better. Having help from a knowledgeable trainer was a huge step to my success as well. My trainer held me accountable, motivated me, and gave me the knowledge I needed to build my diet as well as understand and feel comfortable using all that the gym has to offer.  I would suggest this to anyone who seriously wants to get back into shape, and for those who have made the change already it's a great way to change things up a bit! -  Michael
 
First of all, it was fun to come out and exercise with co-workers in a friendly and competitive challenge.  It was great working with professional trainers who really cared about us, and pushed us to realize how far we could extend ourselves.  And for me personally, it created a good habit.  Eating sensibly and exercising regularly is a good habit to develop.  After six weeks, doing these things is part of my daily routine that I look forward to every morning.  I would recommend the FIT challenge to anyone who is serious about being physically fit, and wanting to control their diet.  Thanks to the WAVE and Park Side for giving me the opportunity to participate in the FIT challenge.   - Ed
 
If you are interested in participating in a Corporate Fit Challenge contact Sally Beaulieu at sally@whitefishwave.com.
 

- Parkside Credit Union's Corporate Fit Challenge

My grandparents and parents homesteaded near Cut Bank and lived there when I was born in 1926. My parents moved to Whitefish in 1931. I learned to swim at age 6 in Whitefish Lake, and spent every summer in the lake during my school years. I graduated from Whitefish High School in 1944.

Buddie was born in Bloomington, Indiana in 1934, where her father (born in Spain) taught Spanish at Indiana University. She was studying for a Master’s Degree in Geology at IU when I was working on a Ph.D. She took the field geology course IU ran near Whitehall, Mt., and I was a graduate assistant instructor. We married in 1956.

We did not follow a specific exercise program until 1974 but were active and hiked much in the mountains. We returned to Whitefish many summers, where we had a lot on the lake and swam some.

I taught geology at FVCC from 1970-1975 (when my vocal chords gave out and I joined the U.S. Geological Survey). Buddie, I, and our three sons skied Big Mountain all winter. A young instructor of anatomy at the college, Gary Parker, persuaded a group of the faculty that we would improve our health if we exercised only 5 minutes a day. He gathered us together to skip rope. In two minutes I was exhausted. From that moment, I made a point of exercising every day and took up jogging. Buddie, who is always working around the house, felt no need to do the same.

In the USGS, I transferred to the USGS mission in Saudi Arabia. For the first time, we swam every day in first the U.S. Embassy pool, then the USGS pool (Olympic size). Buddie knew how to swim but was not a swimmer, so this was a major change in her lifestyle. I swam a half mile every day that I was not in the field. We did not swim together regularly.

When we returned to the U.S., I was stationed in Menlo Park and Denver, in neither place with access to a pool. Buddie worked with Chevron in California and with School of Mines in Colorado. We walked a couple miles during the lunch hour but of course not together. 

We retired to Whitefish in November 1994 and until the Wave opened got our exercise in walking and hiking. We joined the Whitefish Lake Golf Club in 1995 and have played more than 60 nine-hole rounds each year. I no longer swam in the lake. In addition to our house on the golf course, we maintain our oldest son’s 57-acre property on the Stillwater River which requires much work, especially April-October (mowing, weeding, pruning, fence repair, etc.).

When the Wave opened, we jumped at the chance to swim together and have swum a half mile every day we can for nine years. We don’t swim every day because we travel all over the world. (Interesting aside: When I was 80, I had a transient ischemic attack while walking from the lap pool to the shower the day before we were to leave for a trip across Australia on the India Pacific and across the Pacific on a freighter, all pre-paid. We crossed our fingers and made the trip.)  Sometimes we can’t travel for medical reasons—examples, hernia and cataract surgery.

It takes a lot of will power to get in the lap pool in the winter. The reason we are so religious is health. Buddie is in perfect health and wants to remain so. I am pre-diabetic and have peripheral neuropathy. Exercise keeps them and edema at bay, so we will continue swimming as long as we are capable.

- Larry & Buddie Rooney

Meet Mary Erickson, Wife, Mother, Grandmother and Wave employee.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Butte, Montana. In 2003, I moved to the Flathead Valley with my husband.  I have 4 daughters and 5 grandchildren; number six is due in December!

What does your husband do?

John is a family nurse practitioner at KRMC at Brendan House

What inspired you to lose weight?

I had been unhappy with the way I looked for about 2-3 years. I went to the doctor to get a physical and it began there. I explained to my doctor that I wanted to change and lose weight. She suggested a modified paleo diet – eating clean, whole foods. This was June 2013. My weight loss began in July 2013.  My doctor also mentioned a condition called “wheat belly” which can cause bloating around your middle from eating processed wheat.

Next I began shopping for whole foods.  From diet alone I lost 15 pounds!  Then I added in personal training with Rachel and am doing Inches A Way with Michaelann. Overall I have lost 21 ½ pounds. I have gone from size 12 to 4! This has been a gradual change within the last 9 months.

What are your current fitness goals?

I am a ½ pound from my weight loss goal of losing 22 pounds.  I have had back issues for years and now that I am working out my back is much stronger.  I am happier and healthier.  I feel like I have a new life from my change in lifestyle.  Overall, I want to stay healthy and keep exercising, keep toning. That is my fitness goal.

How has your diet changed?

I have eliminated wheat and dairy for the most part. I try to eat simply: Meat, fruit, veggies and eggs.  Weight loss/body shape goals are not reached by a “diet.” Diet is short term – you have to change your lifestyle.  I also realized you have to eat enough food so your body doesn’t think you are starving. I am really pleased with my success. Every day is not a red letter day but I am so happy! I sleep better at night.

I am using myfitnesspal.com to track calories; I have an app I use on my Ipod. I track my eating, exercise and measurements. My goal is to stay within a certain amount of calories at least 4-5 days a week. 

Your husband has begun to work out as well.  You have inspired him!

My husband received his masters in October. During his 3 years in school he was so busy he hardly had any time to work out and he began to gain weight.  He is now beginning to work out, has started Inches A Way and lost 13 pounds!  We are both eating the same foods as well. But this was a decision he had to make on his own.  

What advice would you give someone who is looking to make a lifestyle change?

  1. Start with a physical from your medical provider
  2. Make food changes
  3. Get help with an exercise program
  4. Cardio, cardio, cardio!

Also, it is helpful to have a partner – someone to keep you committed and accountable. I really enjoy working with Personal Trainers Rachel Gibb and Michaelann Lee.  Personal trainers can help you push yourself harder.

Mary has signed up for a Mother’s Day 5k run in Bozeman with 3 of her 4 daughters and 3 of her grandkids. This will be her first 5k!  Mary’s favorite quote is “Life is the story you tell yourself.” 

- Mary Erickson

In October 2012 Smith began working out with Wave Personal Trainer Erin Sabin. The physical changes she has made over the last few months are nothing short of inspirational. When she began training sessions she was unable to hold a plank for any amount of time. This June, Smith went Stand Up Paddleboarding in the ocean on her family vacation. Talk about core strength!

Smith is dedicated to improving her health and well-being. She has changed her diet as well as her family's, incorporating a majority of gluten & dairy free foods. She attends multiple group fitness classes each week as well as private training sessions with Erin. Smith has also inspired and motivated several other members to join together to create a small training group.

Smith takes full responsibility for her health, creating challenges that are motivating and fun. She recognizes the power of improved health, has accomplished measured strength improvements, taken boxes of clothes to the thrift store that no longer fit and is a member that brings fun and inspiration to all who encounter her. A huge thanks for her hard work! Her trainer, Erin Sabin, thinks she is AMAZING!!!!

- Smith Works

In the spring of 2012, Melissa weighed 325 pounds when she signed up for Boot Camp with Wave Personal Trainer Michaelann Lee. A few months prior, she had given birth to a son named Moses. After boot camp ended, Melissa began working out on her own. A year later she had lost 30 pounds! However, in April 2013 she hit a plateau and felt like she needed some help meeting her goals. So she hired personal trainer Michaelann Lee to help her twice a week.

Through hard work on her own and with Michaelann, Melissa has now lost over 50 pounds and 10 inches around her belly! Training with a Polar heart rate monitor has been integral during her cardio workouts. When she began Melissa had borderline high blood pressure and is now down to a normal, stable level. She has more energy for her baby, feels stronger and more confident than ever. Her family is eating healthier and making smarter food choices. Melissa is also thinking about going back to school to get her masters in Exercise Science or Physical Therapy. She wants to share her new passion for health and fitness with others.

- Melissa Robinson

Meet Amanda Hoerling, mother, wife and dedicated Wave member who's recently lost more than 40lbs!

When did you join the Wave?

I joined in the middle of June but didn't start working out until July 1st

Where are you from?

I grew up in Bigfork, moved to and graduated from Columbia Falls

What made you commit to working out?

I gained 40lbs with my beautiful daughter, Laila. Before I became pregnant, I had 9lbs to my goal weight. I lost 17lbs with the birth of Laila but still had 38lbs to go!

You are married? What does your husband do?

Yes, I married Brandon in 2010. He joined the Marine Corps in 2011. He was stationed in California at Camp Pendleton in 2012 and we became pregnant in August of 2012. Brandon was deployed a month before we had Laila. Laila and I moved back up to Montana until his return in November. So, sadly, I will be leaving this month.

How has it been raising Laila without her dad around?

I've been doing it :) I was raised in a large family and grew up with babies, so I feel experienced. It's been hard when she meets a milestone and he's not here to see it. Laila is a great baby, which makes being her mom easy!

When will you be leaving Montana?

October 30th we'll be moving back to California near San Diego, but hopefully we'll return to Montana in two years when Brandon is finished with his Marine Corps journey.

We'll miss you Amanda and Laila! Good luck to you and your family, keep up that exercise and healthy lifestyle! Thanks for being a part of the Wave.

- Amanda Hoerling

After a short hiatus away, Emily returned to the Flathead Valley in August 2012. She began working out to build muscle and lose weight. Emily tried different workout programs on her own but none of them satisfied her so she joined The Wave. While the cardio workouts were good, Emily felt like she needed additional strength training. She decided to hire a trainer to help her come up with a plan to get the results she wanted.

At the end of April Emily began working with Corey Harris, Personal Trainer at The Wave. Corey helped Emily tailor a plan to meet her goals. As she puts it, “I put my trust in Corey!” Emily has been doing weight training, circuits and high intensity interval training 3 days a week. She recently lost 8 lbs in 12 days and is going to have to have a dress for her sisters upcoming wedding altered!

Emily continues to lose pounds and inches and her goal is to keep up this routine, gaining strength and losing body fat. When asked what part of training with Corey she likes best, she said “I love the muscle soreness! Corey is so motivating; because of him I can do more than I ever thought I could.”

- Emily Keranen

Corey grew up along the Wasatch Mountains of Salt Lake City, Utah. After college, he worked as an Executive Recruiter and Software Sales Executive. In 2009, he recognized he had become sedentary, overweight and developed unhealthy eating habits over those 10 years. He then began a personal transformation of his own. He changed his diet and began an exercise program. Over the next 2 years, he lost 59lbs! His blood pressure and cholesterol went from high to below normal, no longer had heartburn, and even stopped snoring. The only downside was that he needed a whole new wardrobe!

In 2012, Corey set out to become certified as a Personal Trainer so that he could help others safely and effectively achieve their weight-loss, nutrition, and health and fitness goals.

Corey enjoys hunting, fly-fishing, hiking, mountain biking and skiing. He is available early mornings, after 5pm and on weekends.

- Corey Harris

Although Megan has been an employee at The Wave for 5 years, she struggled with working out on a regular basis. It took an extreme situation to change Megan's motivation when her husband of 10 years, Joe, had a major stroke in August 2012. The stroke left him paralyzed on his right side and hospitalized for a month. In that time, Joe learned that exercise and repetitive motion were the only ways to regain movement on his paralyzed side. Making major changes to his diet would also dramatically decrease the risk of another stroke. Megan wanted to be right alongside Joe's recovery, therefore, Megan and Joe had no choice but to completely change their lives; and that's where the Wave comes in.

Only 6 months has passed and Joe is back to 80 percent of his normal capability. He credits the Wave entirely. Joe worked with Michaelann Lee's amazing adaptive fitness program which rapidly improved his balance and coordination. He has since moved on to the Wave's top of the line aerobic equipment and weight machines. Megan has dropped 40 pounds and exercise had become part of her daily regimen. They both view exercise and a healthy lifestyle as their "medicine" and feel so lucky to be part of such a world class facility.

- Megan and Joe Ditizio

July 8th, 2013 - Today I hit another milestone in my "youthing" process. I hiked the Danny On trail (3.8 miles) for the first time since my mid 60's (I just turned 71). I set myself this goal about 6 months ago and thanks to the Wave I not only achieved it, but lived to tell about it.

Using the Precor Peiva website I was able to program the treadmill to simulate what I remembered the Danny On to be like. Sure I had to stop a few times, on the trail, to catch my breath, but that gave me time to look around and remember just how beautiful our valley is. Who knows, today the Danny On, tomorrow, oh I don't know...maybe Mt. Everest. Thanks Wave Staff for all your help.
Gary (not such an old dude anymore) Van Slyke.



On August 6, 2010, I had an accident at my workplace. I was on a lift, obtaining product from the overhead. The box was large and did not allow me to turn around to watch myself returning to the cement floor below me. The lift stopped. Sure that I had returned to the floor, I backed off, carrying the box. Sadly, I was still about 5 feet in the air and subsequently fell backwards off the lift, landing head first on the cement. After regaining consciousness and feeling okay, I returned to work. However the next morning I awoke with what now has turned out to be "PPCS" (Permanent Post Concussion Syndrome).

Due to shoulder injuries, my employer sent me to a Neurosurgeon who scheduled me for surgery. He told me to check out the various Physical Therapy clinics and arrange for post op therapy. I chose PTA at the Wave as I felt most comforted by their plan for me and their optimistic prognosis. For the next four months I worked with Kim Givler, a beautiful young lady who had just the right amount of compassion plus determination to bring me as close to full recovery as our time allowed. To this day I consider her a friend.

Kim also introduced me to the many assets of the Wave. It had been a long time since I had poked around in the Wave. I explained that, although I realized there was much in the way of equipment and highly trained personnel available to help me, that because I was having to take more and more time off from work (the other symptoms from my head injury were worsening), I could not afford to keep up a full membership. Kim emphasized that she was not speaking for anyone employed by the Wave, but suggested I at least talk to someone and see if there was any help available. I did so, and we were able to work out a plan. In addition, I volunteer, as I can, when needed as a way of paying back.

That was May 3, 2012. Since then, I work out, generally, not less than five days every week. My program is to the point now that I start out with 2 - 3 miles on the treadmill. From there I spend time on the various equipment then follow up with aerobics in the warm pool and then off to the showers. On Tuesdays and Thursdays (sometimes also Wednesdays) I wind my "Wave Day" up by an hour of Tai Chi led by David Calabretta. I call that my "Dave Wave Day" (try saying that ten times). Although I've known David for many years, I had no idea how proficient he is with this sport and what an excellent teacher he is. What a perfect way to bring peace, plus just plain fun to the close of my Wave Day. Part of my PPCS involves short term memory loss, so each day of Tai Chi reminds me of the movie, "50 First Dates". David understands this and proficiently keeps me going in the right direction, while simultaneously watching, directing and bringing joy to the rest of his students.

So that, is actually, just a snippet of what the Wave means to me. There is not a single employee of the Wave that I have not had great pleasure encountering. The Wave is a "home away from home" to me. I never thought I would actually look forward to "EXERCISING". To be honest, exercising is still not my number one, most pleasurable activity, but thanks to all of you, it's certainly in the top five.

Oh, did I mention I am 70 years old and now feel better than I did at 60?

Thank you and may God bless.

Gary Van Slyke

- Gary Van Slyke