“My goal was/is to increase my overall fitness and develop functional strength for my work and sports activities. In the past the heavy lifting I have had to do at work had left me sore and tired by the end of the week and a couple of times I had injured muscles due to the volume and weight of the work.

I train three times a week (two times with Dan) and play indoor netball once a week. I also play rugby during the winter.

The differences I have noticed since training with Dan are general lifting at work has gotten alot easier and I feel overall that I have more energy and feel less sore at the end of the day/week. I have found alot more enjoyment in the sports I play as I am able to contribute more to the team.

Dan has a wealth of knowledge about fitness and wellness, he guides me through each exercise making sure I use the correct form so I can gain the most out of them. Dan is a great advocate for flexiblity, from the stretching routines he has developed for me to the one off stretch advice he gives when I get sore point during a workout have been invaluable to my progress. Dan has a great balance between keeping each session feeling layed back while pushing me to my limits and I have really seen the improvement/benefits of training with him on a regular basis.

I would highly recommend Dan to anyone looking for a personal trainer, apart from his extensive knowledge of fitness and wellness he has an awesome personal approach to helping his clients achieve there fitness goals.”

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Troy Charles

“I have trained with Dan for nearly a year. Before signing up with Dan, I had worked closely with two very experienced Personal Trainers over a number of years.

Background

At the time of starting with Dan, I was physically and mentally tired. A combination of heavy strength training and a stressful job had taken their toll. I felt demoralised and was unsure what my gym and health goals where. After parting company with my last PT, my confidence was at an all time low and I had doubts if I was the type of person any trainer would want as a client.

I also had a number of long standing injuries, which had affected my mobility and ability to train with the frequency and intensity that I desired.

My relationship with food and nutrition is complicated and very emotionally driven.

Starting out

Getting to know a trainer and building a meaningful working relationship takes time. Dan spent a lot of time listening to my past experiences, goals and concerns. He designed programmes around what I wanted to achieve, and always allowed me to provide feedback on the content. This was very important to me, because I needed to feel part of the process, not just have a set of exercises dictated to me.

My mobility was and is a major issue. Over the years, I had sort advice from all sorts of professionals, including Orthopaedic Specialists, Physio’s, Osteopaths and Personal Trainers. All had made promises, and I had followed their advice with limited to no success or improvement. Dan provided a new approach based around Myofascial Release techniques. His expertise in this area is excellent, and his “hands on” approach has provided much relief and improvement.

Dan works in a very structured way, which allows him to accurately follow progress and modify training accordingly to needs – he doesn’t just produce a “generic” programme of one size fits all methodoftraining. Overtheyearwehaveconstantlytriednewthingsandmodifiedexerciseswhen required

Nutrition

We have worked together on nutrition to provide a workable plan that fits with my training and lifestyle. Dan’s approach to nutrition is very holistic – we have together worked on all aspects , including stress, emotional triggers and nutritional content.

His advise, support and non judgemental approach have had a positive impact on my relationship with food and helping to overcome issues which have existed all of my adult life.

Who is Dan?

Dan and I are extremely different personalities – his infinite patience and calm demeanour, contrast with my volatile emotional personality.

He is extremely professional in the way in which he undertakes his job, he is meticulous and observant, listening to his clients and responding to their needs.

He has never judged me and has always respected the person I am. When I train with Dan, I feel I have his undivided attention and that I’m not just “another client”

Specialist Skills

Dan’s skill set is far above any other Trainer I have observed or worked with. From nutrition, to lifting technique and mobilisation work – his knowledge is extensive and backed up with over 10 years working experience.

His understanding of strength training is excellent, and has provided me with a platform on which build and improve my training and achieve my goals.

Whilst Dan’s fee is not the cheapest available – I don’t believe there would be another trainer working in Christchurch with the diversity of skills Dan possesses. If you wish to see results, you need use the right people and Dan is the right Personal Trainer for anyone serious about their health and wellbeing.

Summary

The gym is a very important part of my life and I believe the benefits of working with a trainer of Dan’s quality on a consistent regular basis are immeasurable.

For him I’m a paying client – but for me, he’s the person who enables me to be a better more balanced person. And how can you put a price on that?”

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Natasha Clarke

“I am a keen mountain biker so reasonably fit but long periods in the same position on a bike coupled with a predominantly seated job meant I had quite a lot of imbalances leading to lower back pain and weakness.  Previous injuries to my left arm/shoulder had also lead to reduced range of motion and imbalance.  Immune system/Rheumatic issues in recent years had lead to significant join pain and fatigue.

Dan came highly recommended from a friend and from the first time I met him we immediately got on well as I felt he very quickly understood my issues and even more so, understood me.  I like to know how things work and learn along the way so Dan’s skill in explaining and demonstrating things really engaged me and gave a real drive to go to the gym which is something I had never had before.

I mainly exercise to go places and see things, getting fitter is just a by-product of this so I have never really been very good at “working out”.  Dan was the first person I have ever dealt with at a gym that changed this by providing fun, varied and interesting work out sessions as well as clearly understanding these were just to compliment my other activities.

My programme has mostly been 3 sessions per week with Dan for almost a year now plus 1-2 bike rides outside of this.  3hrs of PT per week is a big expense but I prefer to look at the value rather than the cost.   For me this has been one of the single best investments in my health I have ever made.  I have learned something new at virtually every session due to the way Dan really listens and understands where you are at on any given day.  His depth of knowledge and experience is outstanding providing great nutrition and general health advice as well as the more specific mobility and training routines.

Since seeing Dan most of my Rheumatic symptoms have disappeared and I now have higher energy levels all round as well as much better mobility, strength and balance.  I think this has been due to a mix of dietary and lifestyle changes as well as better overall physical health.  On days where I had specific issues like hand/joint pain, Dan was always able to tailor exercises to get around this which helped my mental health a lot too as it is very easy to get down when you can’t do certain things.

I feel a lot more aware of my body and understand much better what areas I need to work on at any given time.  This means that in day to day life I now have much better posture and have dramatically improved my efficiency on the mountain bike.

Dan’s training style is very conversational which I really enjoy.  He is not the type of guy that is just going to shout at you or tell you things – he will certainly push and encourage when needed but this is always done in a very engaging way.  He is a problem solver so picks up on the slightest comment made or body movement and feeds this back into evolving training sessions, delivering maximum benefit.  Anyone can watch a YouTube video and do an exercise but by having an expert like Dan consistently involved in your workouts, you are always doing the right things at the right time and doing them in such a way that ensures you meet your goals.

I would highly recommend Dan to virtually anyone as I think his wide-ranging skill set can hugely benefit all types of people – regardless of whether you are a sedate person or an elite athlete and whatever your goals, issues or limitations.”

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Ally Mackay

After being in the education field for over 30 years, in what seems to have been a fast-paced 24/7, exhausting, stress-ridden environment, I decided to “take the bull by the horns” and put my health and well-being front and centre in my life. At age 55, having neglected myself due to being a self-proclaimed workaholic for so many years and now tipping the scales at 205 lbs., I was not only overweight but also out of breath, out of shape and stressing out about my physical appearance. Over the years I’ve sustained a variety of physical setbacks – lower back injuries sustained from 3 separate rear-end car collisions and have been in and out of physiotherapy and chiropractic care for a variety of chronic aches and pains including a hernia and wrist injuries so many times that I’ve lost count. What’s more, I also have asthma, sleep apnea, hypothyroidism, environmental allergies, and scoliosis which can be a deadly combination when paired with poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle.

I had to make a life-altering decision – put down a lump sum on my mortgage or make the ultimate investment in my future and work 1:1 with a personal trainer. I’d been a member of GoodLife for over 5 years but found that I was just plateauing – literally, “spinning my wheels” at a number of group fitness classes.

Once I committed to having a personal trainer, the next step was selecting the right personal trainer for me…I did my homework and found the most experienced and qualified personal trainer with over 9 years of experience at the GoodLife in Georgetown – Dan Walinga. Dan’s track record was the most extensive by far – with fascial stretch therapy, kickboxing, running gait analysis and flexibility/mobility training to name just a few…I knew instinctively that Dan “was the man” who could push me far beyond my limits!

After my first week, I was convinced that Dan was the right trainer for me and signed up for the long term. It seemed like a lot of money to invest at the time but I decided to pay for the full year in 2 installments. In retrospect, it has been money well spent in the pursuit of a healthy, active lifestyle.

At the initial consultation, Dan and I established my goals and priorities during the program: weight loss (losing inches and bodyfat), proper nutrition, increased muscle mass, improved stamina/endurance, decreasing/eliminating pain, strengthening my core, improved flexibility and range of movement and ultimately, getting off the CPAP machine (sleep apnea).

Not only was Dan supportive but he pushed me to the limit – we started with 3 – one hour personal trainer sessions a week, learning proper form and technique with a combination of cardio, weight training, and flexibility as well as assembling my own basic mobility kit (foam roller, lacrosse ball, and exercise band). A few weeks later, I decided to “amp things up” with 2 additional sessions on my own each week as well as swimming and jogging. Talk about dedicated – “no pain, no gain”, right?

As my 4-tiered holistic approach (exercise, sleep, nutrition and positive mindset) progressed, Dan “hooked me up” with a naturopath who ran a battery of tests, determining the need for an anti-inflammatory diet (gluten, sugar and dairy-free) It was hard not only giving up eating Frosted Mini-Wheats but also bread/pasta. We eventually amped things up again with a ketogenic diet (high protein, low carb, grass-fed meat and unlimited vegetables like spiralized zucchini) and a Super Protein shake with 15 ingredients!

In the words of the inimitable Knute Rockne, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” … boy did I ever…Dan got me ready with a personalized running program in the early Spring for my first-ever 5k race in May! Pounds started to melt away slow but sure when we did the check-ins every 2 weeks…

I even enrolled for the CanFitPro Conference this summer – 2 SPIN classes and 6 GoodLife group workout sessions in 48 hours! – and had the stamina to keep up with industry professionals Tony Horton, Jillian Michaels and Zumba guru Beto Perez…by the time it was all over, I may have been physically exhausted but I was on a personal and emotional high! During a weeklong stay in Montréal, I also ended up walking an unheard of 62 miles (FitBit tracking).

Fast forward to Fall 2016…It’s been quite a journey of discovery, not only reaching but surpassing my original goals – like losing 25 lbs. which I initially thought was unattainable. My personal results were beyond my wildest dreams – 30% body fat reduced to 24%, weight loss from 205 to 175 lbs., 6-inch reduction around the stomach/waist area – 2 pant sizes and 3 belt notches smaller. There were also a lot of FIRSTS accomplished throughout the year with Dan – kick/boxing, running my first-ever 5/7k races with Guardian Angels Catholic School’s “Team Unbreakable” in Oakville and Sunnybrook Hospital’s “Race for the Kids” in Toronto , lifting weights I never thought possible after my hernia surgery five years ago…having lost over 30 pounds, my specialist says I will now be able to get off my CPAP machine in the new year. This from the doctor who said I’d never lose the weight at all! In early February after a New Year’s Eve sleep clinic study, I finally became CPAP-free as my sleep apnea was deemed virtually non-existent!

Dan and GoodLife have given me the foundation, guidance, motivation, and necessary tools to unlock my hidden potential for leading a sustainable active and healthy lifestyle. This new way of life has been very rewarding on a personal level…my family and my colleagues at work have noticed marked positive changes in my appearance – I feel younger, more confident and energetic – students and parents at my school and random acquaintances actually took me for someone in his late 30s or early 40s!

I’ve recently added Hot Yoga and a new cardiokickboxing program to the mix and boy, am I “feeling the burn!” I’ll be retiring within the next two years but my journey of a lifetime has only just begun but I am looking forward to every step along the way – there may be roadblocks, pitfalls, twists and turns – anything worthwhile is worth fighting for. I feel like a living, breathing advocate and role model for the benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle – this from the “poster boy” for “slips, trips and falls!” In retrospect, there can be no better investment than the one made in yourself and it’s never too late to feel better … healthier… happier!

Doug MacDougall

Hi my name is Rosemary Jankowski and I am 34 years old, and I lost 47.6 pounds and 43.5 inches!

I never went to a gym before having Kids, but I always enjoyed biking, hiking and canoeing. I was a bad eater, and didn’t care about the things I would eat.

I always was a small person, but.after having kids things  changed for me. I started getting really lazy and my eating got worse! I started Goodlife  after my son was born, and did a little working out but got no results . I then came back after my daughter was born, but it didn’t work out again after trying classes and the weights  on my  own. I stopped again.

Finally, a year ago, a good friend joined Goodlife and wanted me to workout with her. We would go 5 days a week, and that’s when I started getting some results. I then said I need to change things, I stopped drinking pop, then tried cutting out chips, which was my hardest thing to give up. I tried real hard and did well. I lost 20 pounds. Then I got stuck, I couldn’t seem to lose any more.

I decided to research some personal trainers and ended up choosing one who I think is an amazing trainer, Dan Walinga. He taught me that my nutrition was the most important part for me to break out of the plateau. Once I followed his advice, things started improving dramatically. He pushed me very hard and tracked my nutrition, we made great progress.

My three and a half week vacation came up fast. I was worried I would gain a lot of weight back. But Dan showed me some workouts to do without weights which worked very well! I kept my diet clean and did lots of cardio, walking, push-ups, tension bands and the fun part was when I got my kids to lie on the comfy bed at the hotel, and I would push the bed up and down. My kids see me being more active and I encourage them to do exercises with me and they love doing it with me even on vacation. It’s been 6 years since I’ve worn a bikini and on that vacation I did!!

While I was away I always had lots of support from Dan. I would email any concerns that I had and he was very good at letting me know right away what I should or shouldn’t do. The food change on that trip was so different from what I  had gotten  used to eating.  It was always  fried, lots of “bad” carbs and other  foods I worked hard to eliminate or limit. Dan taught me too choose healthy options and request veggies not “bad” carbs among other techniques. When I got back I  actually  lost a little on that trip!

Then something happened. Because I had lost so much weight, I noticed an abnormality with my stomach that I never would have noticed when I was big, I had an umbilical hernia. I had to put my training  on hold. Again, I was very  worried that I would gain weight back again. All I was allowed  to do was some light cardio. After 6 weeks I was allowed to start with weights again but still  noticed swelling in the area. It was not from the surgery, but from certain foods I was eating. Who knew! Dan recommended a food sensitivity test and after eliminating  certain foods the swelling  I noticed in my stomach disappeared!

I am so glad that I choose to do personal training, it completely changed  my life. I’m more active with my kids and get them involved in exercise  on a regular  basis. I have a much more positive view on things now. My husband  loves my new look and it feels like we’re on our honeymoon again! I am doing another 6 months  with Dan, and I honestly  believe it’s the best money I’ve ever spent.

My goal was 115 lbs. and we’ve already  gone past  that!

If you want to improve your life, your marriage, your self-esteem, talk to Dan, best decision I ever made! Thanks  Dan!

Rosemary Jankowski

After being in the workforce for over 25 years, in what seemed to be non-st op 24/7 responsibilities, I was laid off in July 2011 and left to ponder my future. My state of mind turned inward, particularly at my physical and mental being.  At 51, having neglected myself due to work for so many years, weighing in at 237 lbs, out of shape, unhealthy eating, nagging aches and pains, I realized I had to make a life altering change. Having never stepped into a fitness center before in my life, it was with apprehension that I ambled into the Goodlife Fitness Center not knowing what would be before me. What a surprise! The smiling faces and knowledge of the staff. The upbeat music. The clean and spotless facility. The sheer number of machines. I was impressed.

After signing up with the gym, I took a 3-session trial with personal trainer Dan Walinga. Dan spent the time assessing my physical capabilities, what nagging aches I was dealing with, showing me the mechanics of the machines, and how they could benefit me. Most importantly though, I wanted to determine if Dan would be a good fit for me to push me to reach my goals.

After my first week, I was convinced that Dan was the right trainer for me, and signed up for the long term. Jointly, Dan and I worked out a training and nutrition plan, that if followed closely, would help me to reach my goals, but I knew I had to do my part. So it begins!

3 trainer sessions per week, 2 individual sessions per week, Squats, Leg Presses, Triceps Presses, Curls, Cardio, Pull-ups, Push-ups, Dead lifts, Abs, Stretches. We do it all. I am getting stronger. My energy level has increased. Dan continues to  push me to where I thought I couldn’t go, but I do. I have a new level of confidence. The aches I have had with my separated shoulder from over a year ago, is being rehabilitated with Dan’s specific exercises, and my range of movement  has returned to normal. I am in a new world, feeling better, Healthier, and Happier.

But more than ever, this new way of life has been infectious. Our family and others around us have engaged in this renewed lifestyle. Our conversations  revolve  around health and activities. We are conscious of our food choices, and committed to our exercise programs. In testament to this, 3 of our family members have since signed up at the gym.   We now  have this built into our regular  weekly routine.

To summarize, the journey began on August 23, with a goal to lose 40 pounds by Christmas, a goal that I thought would be difficult to achieve . The results, well, they were breathtaking. In a short period of 4 months, I had lost 43 pounds, my BMI went from 32.7 to 26.7, a 20% improvement, my body fat% went from 30.9% to 19.5%, a 37% reduction, and my body fat went from 73.4 pounds to 37.8 pounds, an amazing 48% reduction!

In retrospect, there can be no better investment than the one made in yourself. The journey has just begun, and I’m looking forward to every step along the way.  Dan and Goodlife have given me the guidance  and vision to  realize this potential.

Thank You!

Eugene

Dan Walinga has worked with me in his capacity as a Personal Trainer at the Goodlife Fitness Centre in Georgetown over the past three years. In order for me to describe the help Dan has given me you will need to bear with me as I explain my specific fitness concerns. I am a fifty-one year old male who has been active in sports for most of my life and my work as a skilled labourer in construction contributed to my maintaining a certain degree of physical fitness. However, my physical condition demanded I start paying more careful attention to my body. Injuries suffered to each shoulder long ago had been exacerbated by years of construction work. In addition, my right knee had suffered damage – meniscal tears, minor ligament damage and the creeping onset of arthritis. I was determined to avoid any surgery unless absolutely necessary, so about five years ago I put away my hockey goalie pads and got out of construction site work. I pursued courses of physiotherapy for my knee and shoulders which helped to return me to an acceptable level of mobility yet the pains, the discomfort and the diminished range of motion persisted. I grew to believe that I needed to strengthen these joints and improve my physical condition in order to be able to keep up a good level of physical activity in both the short and long term so. I also initiated a process of consulting two orthopedic surgeons and two chiropractors as well as my family physician, and it was becoming likelier that surgery was going to be necessary on each shoulder otherwise their condition would continue to deteriorate; healing, in other words, meant surgical repair plus my work in rehabbing and maintaining good structural fitness. These were the circumstances I presented to Dan for his consideration in devising a training  program for me at the gym.

First of all, Dan is a likeable person. It helped that we have some common interests, specifically sports, but I believe that the absence of same would have been no hindrance to our dialogue. He has a calm, reserved but concerned and focused demeanor that made it easy to be forthright about my history and concerns. He took the time to listen and he questioned me as to my goals and expectations. He conducted a few clinical tests such as blood pressure and body fat content to initiate his assessment of my fitness levels. We moved on to testing my endurance, range of motion and strength in the gym. He then formulated a program of exercises which covered leg, upper body, core and cardio conditioning while also zeroing in on strengthening the muscles around the shoulders and knees. He took the time to explain these more focused exercises, and his knowledge of the uses gym equipment can be put to as well as his research into and awareness of alternate training techniques made it possible to adapt his program to the condition of my shoulders in particular.

Sixteen months ago I had arthroscopic surgery on my left shoulder. The work Dan and I had put in at the gym brought me to a good level of preparedness, never worsened my shoulder problems (largely because he persisted in seeking feedback and I was

comfortable in saying when certain exercises were painful or awkward) and gave me the confidence of knowing I could work through the rehab to regaining greater range, strength and usage from my shoulder. The surgery was successful and I worked exclusively with a physiotherapist for the ensuing six months who led me through a progression of passive then active range of motion exercises to a point where I was ready to return to the gym. So, six months after the surgery I was back with Dan – I had kept him informed of my progress with physiotherapy as well as the details of the surgery itself. I made sure both Dan and my physiotherapist were aware of each other in case either had questions I couldn’t answer. The physiotherapist told me there was little more she could do and it was time to get back to the gym. She also remarked that it made such a difference in working through the annoyances of rehab to have a good base of strength, flexibility and fitness. Dan resumed program with me and it seemed almost seamless in terms of where I had gotten to on my own following physiotherapy instructions . I have suffered no setbacks with my left shoulder, rather, Dan’s program, coupled with the surgery, the physiotherapy and my own hard work, has helped strengthen the joint and improve range of motion. He was faced with the task of strengthening one shoulder while not worsening the other already troublesome shoulder and this is what we have been working on for the past ten months. I am now days away from surgery on my right shoulder and thanks, in part, to Dan I anticipate a successful procedure and recovery. I have greater strength, flexibility and mobility in my left shoulder than three years ago, I see no reason why this can’t be true for the other shoulder.

In the course of my time spent at the gym, I have seen Dan working with others of his clients, people exhibiting a broad range of physical condition, and I have noticed there is often steady chatter going on, which doesn’t surprise me because Dan is a good communicator. He listens, he explains his program clearly, he seeks input and he carries out his work with empathy and resolve. I have benefitted from Dan’s skills and expertise, and I am fortunate to be associated with a person of his genuine caring and commitment to his work.

Peter Hodgson