Author Archives: Hans Schiefelbein

About Hans Schiefelbein

In pursuit of a healthy and disciplined lifestyle. My goal is to help people attain and sustain their health.

Best of Madison 2018

I am happy to announce that I’ve been selected as one of the top six personal trainers in Madison. Voting begins today and lasts for 30 days (September 18 through October 15). You can vote for me at Channel3000/Madison Magazine.

My case for top trainer in Madison

Three years ago I started my second career as a personal trainer and I couldn’t be happier. To use my college degree, to use my passion for people and their health, to get paid to do something I love is truly a blessing. Being a successful personal trainer often involves running your own business, even if you’re working at a health club like I am. This is certainly a challenge but it’s also an opportunity to push yourself to stay ahead of the competition.

Staying at the top of my game has forced me to create a few pillars for my business. In January I started a weekly newsletter, From the Training Desk of Hans Schiefelbein. The idea was simple: I read numerous articles every week to stay current. I’m a teacher at heart and so this was an excellent opportunity to share what I’m already reading with my readers (many of them who are also clients). I’m reading the articles for the benefit of my clients, so I might as well take them right to the source and maybe even ignite a fire for them to read more about health and wellness, too! Around the same time I started a series on Medium called Tech Trainer. This publication focuses on sharing what I’ve learned as a tech-savvy personal trainer. I believe being moderate- to high tech is very important in this industry and I use Medium to equip other trainers to leverage these tools to build their business and save time researching best practices (and best apps) on iOS.

Training is not all about what happens in the gym, at least not for this trainer. Later I’ll share some of my training philosophy and testimonials that get to the heart of me as a trainer.

Todd and Laci’s Wedding

This past weekend I was honored to stand up in Todd and Laci’s wedding. Todd and I have been friends now for almost 20 years.

Rehearsal

Normally rehearsals are at the wedding venue but because the Bridal Barn had another wedding Friday night, they needed a different place for rehearsal. Todd and Laci decided to have the rehearsal dinner at the Mariner’s Inn and Betty Lou Cruise. What seemed like a decision they were forced into making turned out to be one of the best rehearsal evenings I’ve been a part of.

Me and James

Me and James

Ready to board the Betty Lou

Ready to board the Betty Lou

Wedding

I simply don’t have the pics to fully explain how beautiful the Bridal Barn is for a wedding. We are so thankful that the weather cooperated for us. I always throughly enjoy dressing up but this event took the cake because we had no jackets or ties and instead classy suspenders.

As I said before, it’s an honor to stand up in a wedding. I take marriage very seriously. The relationship between a man and a woman takes a lot of hard work and serious love and grace. Todd and I have talked about marriage a lot over the years and his patience to find Laci has been fun to watch. This weekend was too short. I didn’t have enough time to hang with his friends from Indiana, Nashville and LA. But the time I did get was wonderful. He has great friend and their willingness to travel from literally all over the country is a testimony to his personality and friendship.

Friendship (visiting Nashville)

Katie and I are looking forward to visiting Todd and Laci in Nashville sooner than later. Life is rich when friendships are thriving. I look forward to the next years of Todd and Laci’s relationship.

Oregon 10K

Oregon 10K

The day after we got back from Fort Wilderness I ran in my first Oregon Summerfest race. While I have the miles for a 10-mile run I chose to run the 10K. Six miles felt about right after a nice vacation which included a couple runs with Katie and a Crossfit workout with some new friends.

The 10-milers went out at 8:30 which included my neighbor Jamie running in his first race and a longer distance than he’s ever run (he killed it by the way!) The 5K and 10K racers went out at 8:45. It was a very small race – probably about 80 people. My goal was just to run but at mile 2.5 Katie and the kids were cheering me on and mentioned that I was in fourth place. Ahead of me I could see exactly three runners. Katie yelled “you’re in this!” (with a little surprise in her voice) and that was all I needed. I picked off the third place guy 1.5 miles later but the first place guy was way out there and the second place guy looked strong, no sign of slowing down. It was at this point that I told myself that I wanted to go for it – I wanted my heart rate monitor and my splits to show that I went for 2nd place. With about 3/4 of a mile to go I passed him and held on. Full disclosure I met Bill after the race and found out he’s 57 years old. So don’t get me wrong, I’m not bragging about “winning” but rather happy with the way I competed – big difference.

2nd place in 10K at Oregon Summerfest Run

2nd place in 10K at Oregon Summerfest Run

After the finish line the family stuck around so Sorin and Norah could compete in the kids 1K race. How awesome! Especially cool because they did a fun run at school a couple weeks earlier and the didn’t do so well. This one was still challenging enough for them and Sorin even showed improvement in both speed and attitude about the event.

"Kids, for this to be official you need to get behind the start line" - Coach Hans

"Kids, for this to be official you need to get behind the start line" – Coach Hans

One of my goals for next year is to get more people to this race. Lots of Pinnacle people live in or near Oregon but some didn’t even know there was a race. Small community events like this are so powerful. Up next for my kids is the Oregon Kids Triathlon.

Three runners

Three runners

Family Camp 2017

Last week the family took our annual trip to Fort Wilderness for family camp. Katie and I have been taking the family there since 2009 when Sorin was ten months old. We slept in a tent that year and even though things went very well in our REI Hobitat, we have been making reservations in Peshtigo cabin ever since.

This year Sorin is 8, Norah 7, and Christian 4. What a great age for camping! Fort is a very safe place for kids. Our only issue was Christian didn’t quite know his way around camp yet and since he isn’t riding a 2-wheel bike, he got left behind one time and got lost. Poor boy! It made for a solid hug when I found him. The only other unfortunate event was rain. We had rain most of the days which didn’t get us soaking wet but was enough to keep us indoors and more importantly out of Spider Lake, which is one of our favorite activities at Fort.

Sorin had a great camp. He spent some time in the craft shop with Katie and made a cool leather bracelet amongst other things. He was reunited with his friend Nate and they rode bikes and played between the two cabins all week. Not a strong swimmer yet, he still made it out to the floating mat and let me and my brother throw him off during a classic game of king-of-the-mat, featuring adults vs. kids. Most memorable for me was Sorin’s attempt at archery. We did it last year but this year he went to the tournament (without me!) and won 2nd place with 30 points!

Sorin got 2nd place in the archery tournament

Sorin got 2nd place in the archery tournament

Norah was connected at the hip with her cousin Max all weekend. This was a very fun relationship to watch, especially since Sorin was with Nate so much. Norah also helped her younger cousin Emily a lot. In the water she was the “instigator” for us tossing them off the floating mat and she also let me launch her in the shallow end of the lake and I even got her to stand on my shoulders and jump off. She and Sorin also had small roles in a skit and had no problem (still can’t believe it!) getting in front of the Jamborie crowd of 150+ people.

Norah making bug spray

Norah making bug spray

And Christian, oh Christian. My single greatest memory of my youngest is jumping off the dock performing a couple jumps, belly flops, and even the rare back flop. The boy loves the water. We didn’t have the greatest weather so when he got tired he would come to the shore, shiver his lips and cuddle in a towel before running back to the water to do it all again. He tried archery also and even with me holding the bow he aimed and hit the target a few times. He ran as fast as his little legs could go to keep up with the older kids and cousins and by Tuesday was singing his song of the week from children’s ministry: The B-I-B-L-E.

Christian the water boy

Christian the water boy

Fort Wilderness is the Stronghold of Christian Adventure. We go there to be together as a family, connect with extended family, meet new friends, and spend time with God. Each day we hear from our speaker for the week. This year it was Mike Bellanti from Northbrook church. He was an excellent speaker with messages he admitted were simple but useful. As he stated a couple times, he has two degrees in the Bible and he’s still figuring things out. Isn’t that the truth? Sometimes I have ambitions to gain more knowledge and go deeper in my understanding of God and the Bible but sometimes what I need most is a refresher on the basics.

Family Camp at Fort Wilderness 2017

Family Camp at Fort Wilderness 2017

I have to preface this next part: Katie and I aren’t campers. We bought the tent specifically for family camp but had never camped together or even talked about wanting to camp before this. It was pretty easy to be in the tent and with the cabin now, let’s just say it’s really good living at Fort.

If you’re looking for a great week to spend with your family you will love Fort Wilderness. As most of you know Katie’s grandpa started the camp and we highly value the Christian influence of the Fort. The Bible teaching is not over-the-top. If you’re considering the teachings of the Bible, Fort is a great place for you. While there are daily sessions of music and teaching, there’s no pressure to attend if it’s not your thing yet. Play games, take a kayak or canoe out on the water, or take a hike during that time. The Northwoods is a beautiful spot in Wisconsin and I hope you’ll consider joining us next year.

Feel free to message me on Facebook if you have any questions.

Fathers Day 2017

Fathers Day 2017

In the fall of 2008 I became a father. Of course life hasn’t been the same since. But being a dad is not my greatest calling in life. My primary responsibility is to love and care for my wife; Katie is my priority. But God has blessed me with three wonderful children and the Bible speaks a lot about loving and providing for your family.

I love being a dad. I’m getting better at it each year. I still struggle in many ways – is it ok to say that? I know you only see Instagram pics when I am being a good dad but I assure you I have moments that are embarrassing at best, damaging at worst. Still I wake up every day to be better than I was the day before. I’m a teacher and I am a student. I learn from other men. I learn from my mistakes and I learn from my successes. If you’re not reflecting on your days then you’re not doing it right. Being a dad means being a student so that you can be a teacher.

Dad is an authority but dad is a servant. What does that look like? I’m working on it. This week I am at Fort Wilderness for family camp. So that means dad sets the rules (authority) and he also rocks the craft shop and makes homemade bug spray (servant) when he knows that’s what the kids love to do.

As I reflect on Father’s Day this year I want to highlight three points. First, being a father is a team game; do it along side other men (preferable better that you). Second, know your roles, be prepared to wear multiple hats. Sometimes you’re teaching, sometimes you’re a teddy bear, sometimes you’re a student, sometimes you’re a cheer leader. And third, model the love of God. Love and grace always win. If kids look up to dad and they see dad being obedient to God, how great will their understanding of God be?

Healthy Fun on YouTube

Last week I wrote about my half marathon experience. That was the run from my perspective. Sometimes words don’t fully tell the story, so here’s a good video that I fully endorse. It should start at 2:30 but if it doesn’t go ahead and fast forward (the first 2:30 is worth your time for context and story-telling but some people are pressed for time).

I also had a fun conversation this week at work. A member who I chat with about triathlon pulled me aside this week and told me he was flying to San Fransisco later that morning to compete in the Escape Alcatraz Triathlon. I’m so pumped for him!

P.S. This is post #700 on my blog – pretty proud of that.

TRX FTW

TRX has a lot going for it. It’s popular, it’s portable and it’s challenging. It has become one of my favorite pieces of training equipment. TRX is not cheap but if you are a member of a gym they probably have one (or a few). If you have the money motivation I guarantee you will get your money out of it if you purchase one. Personally I’ve lead TRX classes and I use it with clients daily. And this summer you should start using TRX also!

Three reasons TRX is awesome

TRX is awesome for a few different reasons. First, before you even get on TRX you have preconceived notions of this original suspension trainer. Someone suggests you try it or asks if you have experience with TRX and you get a little wide-eyed and your heart rate goes up because you’ve never had the guts to grab those two handles and try something. So TRX is awesome because it has a reputation.

The reputation doesn’t disappoint. TRX is also awesome because it’s one of the most challenging pieces of equipment in the gym (not many people own their own straps). Have you been working on “regular” push-ups? Try them with your feet in the straps. How about the back, have you been doing rows? Try leaning on TRX and doing rows! Pretty good at a squat? Stand with the TRX and do jump-squats as you jump agains the straps and they pull you back for more. TRX has a great slogan: “all core all the time.” The challenge with TRX is keeping good posture throughout your movements while engaging your core.

TRX 101

TRX 101

While not many people own a TRX, those that do love the portability of it. While traveling for work is usually a challenge, it’s entirely possible to throw the TRX straps into even a carry-on and bring suspension training on your business trip. It may take a little research and time to get TRX set up on location, but one additional perk is you’ll probably be outside in a park, under a tree, or in some other green space that’s sure to grab some attention and (hopefully) encourage others to get their fitness the way you are.

My experience with TRX

In the last five years I’ve taught a TRX class at both of the gyms where I’ve worked. Here at Pinnacle I developed a TRX/KB class – 60 minutes of TRX and kettle bells in high-intensity interval format. It was very successful for about a year. I took a lot of that class and incorporated it into workouts with clients. As I noted earlier, I like to take exercise people already do (push-ups, rows, squats) and add the challenge of TRX. Adding a balance/stability component is great for functional training. So much of exercise adherence is about keeping clients engaged. TRX affords them new ways to move including getting into positions (low squat) that are literally impossible to do without TRX. One of my favorite stories is from a client of mine who admitted one morning that she had a dream about TRX burpees. That’s right: one foot in the TRX strap, hop (on the other foot), drop to a push-up (remember, one foot is in TRX and the other is “floating”), TRX push-up, stand on the one free leg, hop on one foot and repeat. From HIIT training, to classic intervals and strength to golf stretches and assisted yoga poses, TRX suspension trainer has become a staple in my training program for both me and my clients.

TRX is for you

When I introduce people to TRX, I start with TRX chest press. I tell them: “I have challenged a high-level triathlete with TRX Atomic push-ups and I have had a 75-year old former professor on TRX chest press because you can choose the level of difficulty. Parallel to the ground, the triathlete is pushed to the max. Standing almost vertical the former professor is practically doing a standing wall chest press with the added benefit of the instability of the straps. All this means that I can get any client or member to an appropriate level of challenge on the TRX suspension trainer.

One key I’ve realized with TRX is to not be intimidated by it or think that it’s a stand-alone piece of equipment. It’s a curve ball. It’s a change up from your normal exercises. Find a couple of your strengths and experiment how TRX can challenge you in new says. I’ve used “challenge” six times in this article. If a workout doesn’t challenge you it can’t change you – TRX will challenge you and that’s a good thing.

If you want a couple challenges beyond the TRX chest press, row, and squat mentioned in this post, hit me up on Twitter or email me and I’d be happy to contribute to your workouts.