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For brother-and-sister fitness trainers Jeremy and Amanda Weber, transformation is the goal.
But it’s also the story of their lives.
The pair opened Empire Fitness at 6080 W. 92nd Ave. in Westminster last October.
“Both of us grew up pretty overweight,” said Jeremy, the older brother in the family business. “In college I was over 300 pounds. Food was the only thing that made me happy.”
A friend worked as a personal trainer and offered his help. That was the start of Jeremy’s transformation.
“I worked for another trainer, who taught me some basics and over the course of two years, I lost over 100 pounds,” he said. “I saw how much of an impact my trainers made on me, so I decided to become a trainer myself.”
Jeremy had worked at 24-Hour fitness in St. Louis for six years in 2013 when an opportunity within the fitness chain brought them to Colorado. He soon saw a route to going it alone, however.
“I realized my career wasn’t going anywhere, so I decided to go out on my own,” he said. “After all, the pain of regret is worse than the pain of failure.”
The siblings said that entrepreneurship is in their blood.
“We’d seen our grandparents and parents run their own businesses,” Amanda said.
The pair’s maternal grandfather ran a motel and a beer-and-soda distributorship, despite dropping out of school in the eighth grade. His success helped pay for their college.
“He was incredibly successful by the end of his life,” she said. “He was a huge inspiration to us. He was totally self-taught and pushed us to get a good education. He always thought he was really dumb, but he wasn’t. He’d always help us with little things over summers when we’d work in his business.”
Amanda joined the venture last year. Her story was similar to Jeremy’s — she’d gained weight while training at a culinary school, she said.
“For me, college was more an experience of the `Freshman 50’ instead of the `Freshman 15,’” she said. “At my heaviest recorded, I was 290 pounds. I kept noticing I just didn’t feel good. I hadn’t been at a healthy weight for some time and I didn’t know if I could even get healthy.”
She, too, began making changes to her lifestyle — and people noticed. She was managing a restaurant and people started asking her for advice. That led her to getting certified as a Precision Nutritionist and a NASM Certified Personal Trainer.
It turned out she was a perfect fit for her brother’s plan. They kicked off their grand opening in October with group classes and one-on-one training.
Motivation and results
Their motto is “Embrace the Process,” and it is something they both strongly believe.
“`Embrace the Process’ is about the process of getting well and that applies to us, our approach,” Amanda said. “It’s about embracing the process of making mistakes along the way, whether it is for our clients’ transformational change or our business. Either way, we want to have a positive impact on the community.”
Regardless of their clients’ ages, which range from the 70s to younger than 10, results are key.
“I’ve always focused on my clients getting results,” Jeremy said, “That’s why we see our clients two to three times a week. We know they have another 150 hours to mess it up, so we try to emphasize commitment to all our clients.”
To reinforce that commitment, they offer rewards through a “Client of the Month” program. A member is selected each month and can choose the charity for which proceeds are donated during one of the monthly Charity Boot Camp events.
They always begin training their clients with a detailed assessment of their current condition and where they hope to get to.
“We find out where they are at and what their goals are,” Jeremy said. “We begin with a Functional Movement Screen to detect possible injury risks. People tend to jump into too much, too quickly. Nothing is more debilitating when you get injured and then your motivation falls. We then focus on figuring out what habits led to where they are currently.”
With that, they can put a plan together.
“Then, one habit at a time, we start to shake things up,” Amanda said. “We take a look at their nutrition. People tend to overhaul their eating, which might work for a couple of weeks, but then it fizzles out. So, we begin by almost picking something that’s too easy, like drinking water.”
Those simple changes can lead to broader lifestyle upgrades.
“We like our clients to establish new habits for more than 30 days and develop a healthy lifestyle,” she said. “Plus, we don’t like to just take things away, but let’s introduce healthier options to buffer it, because we have an emotional or social attachment to food.”
The brother-and-sister team also offer a charity boot camp at 10 a.m. every Saturday that brings their clients together for some extra motivation.
“Some people drop in and some people come regularly,” she said. “Our clients have developed relationships and will pick each other up to bring them to the class.”
That, too, is key to motivation.
“We’re stronger together than apart,” she said. “We get the most out of it if we push ourselves to be the best we can be. Human beings are pack animals. We need human interaction. People notice each other’s progress and fuel each other’s fire to keep going.”
It’s not just adults that Empire Fitness can help; kids are included in the transformational process too. That very important, Jeremy said.
“From 18 to 24 years old, I was obese,” he said. “We don’t want kids to go through what I experienced. I was bullied for my weight. We want other kids to learn from our experience.”
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