“I need to get into better shape.”
That’s a comment many of us make to ourselves and/or our friends. And there are many methods to accomplish that goal, both for free and via paid services. One of these ways is with Welligee, a personal one-on-one training facility in Naperville run by Your Naperville community member, Ryne Gioviano. We sat down with Ryne to ask him a little about what what Welligee is all about.
1. What does Welligee do?
Welligee Personal Training & Lifestyle is a private personal training facility that offers both one-on-one and semi-private personal training. Semi-private personal training offers the coaching of a qualified trainer, but also incorporates the social support of a small group class (3-4 people per class). Every person that trains at Welligee gets a completely customized program based upon his or her goals and a thorough assessment. In addition, we monitor all of our clients’ food intake and give guidance to ensure they see success. We basically take each person’s lifestyle into account and make small changes that progressively build to drastic changes in the long-run. Personal training is simply the medium through which we work.
2. What was the inspiration in starting Welligee?
I’ve always been very passionate about exercise and helping people, so owning a personal training business was something that appealed to me since about 8th grade. Having worked in a few other personal training facilities and gyms, I have a very good idea of what my industry is lacking. Basically, there is a very low level of care-giving and skill involved in the type of training that I see. Luckily, my friend, Jon, also felt that way, and we discussed some ideas about opening a facility. He had similar experiences, and we both agreed that there was a need for what we were looking to offer. Thankfully, that belief has been confirmed since opening our doors in 2011.
3. Where does the “Welligee” name come from?
When my business partner, Jon, and I were looking for a name for our business, the last thing we wanted to do was take the cookie-cutter approach and call it something with fitness in the title. Almost every gym, personal training facility, or bootcamp-related business is called “________ Fitness.” We’d rather not be lumped in with the rest of the personal trainer types, so we took a different approach. We just wanted one word that incorporated wellness, so we played around with several different names, and Welligee Personal Training & Lifestyle was our favorite. It really emphasized that while we do personal train clients, our approach to health is really centered on the entire lifestyle of each person. It’s really the only way you can get lasting changes.
4. Why do you think it’s hard for some people to have success in weight loss and fitness without a coach?
In weight loss, the biggest challenge for people is in their own heads. Whether it be a lack of food in fear of gaining weight (which, ironically, can lead to weight gain), or using food to cope with the stress of everyday life, the psychological aspect of what food represents to people is the biggest barrier to their success. Compound that with regular exercise, and it’s often a lot for people to take on at once.
Most people come to us not really knowing where to start. The coaching provides not only accountability and motivation, but direction on how to go about safely embarking on an exercise program, learning how to eat well, and the steps needed to reach their goal. When someone is telling you exactly what you need to do, it’s just a lot easier.
5. Who is your average customer and what are they looking for?
Because of the design of our facility, we tend to get mostly women around the 30-50 range. For that particular demographic, the privacy of our one-on-one sessions seems to be most attractive to them. We do get men as well, but our clientele is mostly female. By far, the most common goal we help people achieve is weight loss. It’s a goal we’re very adept at handling, and it’s something we have quite a bit of experience with. That’s not to say we don’t get people looking to build muscle or post-injury rehab clients, but weight loss is our most common goal.
6. What thought was given to how your studio is designed, laid out, and what equipment you have?
The main idea we had behind our personal training facility was privacy. We understand and have a lot of experience with people being uncomfortable exercising around other people. With that in mind, our facility was designed with private personal training rooms. This equates to a completely one-on-one atmosphere, not just the structure of the session. It’s one of the main reasons that people come in for training.
We do also have a larger area that allows us to do semi-private personal training (small groups of 3-4 people) and group classes as well. We have enough space for all of these to fit together. Regardless of what the client’s specific need is, we have space for it.
Our equipment reflects our philosophy of training in that we are looking to both help people achieve their goals and improve their quality of life. We don’t have a lot a fancy machines like most health clubs. We incorporate a lot of free weight exercises with dumbbells, kettlebells, and barbells, as well as bodyweight and some use of cable machines. This type of exercise has the best crossover into activities of daily living as well as sports performance, running, weight loss, or whatever your goal might be.
7. At what stage in the process do people start to “get it” and start believing in the program and system and/or start seeing results?
For many people, they don’t “get it” until they start seeing progress. People are generally skeptical of personal training and exercise in general, so a lot of the time they come in with the idea that it probably won’t work for them. They just want to try it. This is tied to past failures to reach their goals almost 100% of the time. As with most things, progress equates to motivation. So we find low-level changes people can make to start to see progress. Once pounds are lost, or they get compliments, or whatever it may be, they begin to understand that what they are doing is working. It’s at this point that they commit to the program and progress accelerates.
8. What do you like about personal coaching?
There’s really nothing more satisfying and motivating than helping people, and health and fitness is such a great way to impact peoples’ lives. There is so much that can change from nutrition and exercise, it’s remarkable. Not to mention how rewarding it is to lead someone on a path toward what they may have previously thought was unattainable. It’s something about changing people’s beliefs and really educating them. The beauty is that it really never gets old. Every new person we get in the door presents us with new challenges, and it forces us to research new ways of doing things, or use different methods, or change our perspective. This forces us to grow as professionals and people as well, so it tends to be very rewarding to the client and to the trainer as well.
9. Is it all one-on-one or are there group plans, too?
We do both one-on-one and semi-private training. Primarily, we are one-on-one, but we saw a need for another component of our business. The semi-private personal training is nice because it still allows people to get the guidance from a trainer, but it’s at a lower cost to each person because you are basically sharing a trainer. Regardless of which option, the important part is the program you are given (which is always specific to the individual), the guidance of the trainer, and the lifestyle changes you are coached through. Those key ingredients are constant.
10. How long does an average customer get private training? Does it end or do people stay on a continuous plan?
We tend to see people for a while. Usually they come in for a specific goal, and once that is achieved, there are other goals we help with. Often times, the initial goal opens new opportunities for them. For example, someone may come in to lose weight due to a health scare at the doctor’s office. Previously, running might not have been an option or a desire due to the weight. Once weight is lost, however, running can be much more attractive. Next thing we know, that client wants to set a new goal of running their first 5k.
We have many people who have been coming in since we opened, and even from previous place we have worked that followed us. On average, people tend to stick around for 1-2 years, but since we are about 2 years old, that is certainly subject to change!
The idea behind semi-private personal training was for people that have done one-on-one for a while, and are looking to be a little more independent in their training. They aren’t completely on their own, but they aren’t paying the cost of the one-on-one attention of a trainer. It’s a good blending of the two.
11. What is the general overview of how someone gets started and what they should expect to happen over the course of the training?
The first step is always a consultation. It allows us to get to know them, discuss the goal(s) they are coming in to achieve, and figure out a good plan to get them where they want to be. We learn a tremendous amount during these consultations. The next step is an assessment. Where the consultation lets us determine where they are mentally, the assessment allows us to see where they are physically. The information we get during the assessment gets thrown in to their program so we are able to start them at the appropriate level, and also correct any types of imbalances that may lead to injury down the road.
From there, every session is designed to progressively bring each person closer to their goals. During and outside of the sessions there is correspondence between the client and the trainer as to what dietary and/or lifestyle changes can be made to continually make progress. As we always say, we’re typically with people 1-3 hours per week. The real progress and lasting changes are determined by what happens outside of those sessions, which is why we really work hard on that end as well.
- Welligee Personal Training
424 Fort Hill Drive, Suite 123 – Naperville, IL 60540
- Free consultations are available