“In 2018 I developed a bacterial pneumonia that landed me in the hospital for many long days. I was told I was going to be on oxygen for the rest of my life. I was sick. I was out of shape. I was only 40 years old and I was laying in a hospital bed next to a 86 year old and I realized I didn’t want this life at all. I needed to find a way to get healthy and take care of myself. I always liked jogging and I didn’t really mind cardio workouts but didn’t really know where to start. One of my nurses in the hospital introduced me to the sport of Boxing and I fell in love instantly. I knew I needed to find a gym and start “fighting for my life” January of 2019 my fight began. I started working out at a corporate gym and I got really into sweating out my feelings. I was doing two a days quite often. I lost 25 pounds but I hit a plateau. My friend Sondra kept telling me I was wasting my time and money at this gym and that I really needed to check out Strive.

She told me they have so much more to offer than just kickboxing classes. I was hesitant because I didn’t have enough confidence in myself to try something new. I stayed at my gym and grew bored and stuck at that plateau. During Covid I found new ways to workout at home buying myself medicine balls and weights and a bag to box in my basement. I was able to bust out of that plateau using at home workouts. Those workouts were convenient but so easy to walk away from if the doorbell rang or the dog barked. I needed structure. I needed accountability. January 2021 I saw Shawn’s post about a challenge and I remembered Sondi’s comments about how amazing the gym was so I joined the challenge. I took my first class with Beidy a Saturday morning Bootcamp and it was intense. I left the gym dripping in sweat and totally in love with the gym. I decided to become a member after my first class! I have now lost over 50 pounds and gained over 50 new friends. I have reached so many new personal records it brings tears to my eyes. I have done a 205 pound deadlift and a 24 inch box jump and ran a whole entire 5K without ever stopping these are amazing things to accomplish for a woman who was supposed to be on oxygen for the rest of her life… I love Strive I took my fitness experience to the next level becoming a member and I won’t ever regret this decision.

– Colleen Ryan

“Before joining Strive, I was depressed ALL the time, I had very low self-esteem, zero motivation and was uncomfortable in my own skin. I was letting doubt, fear and uncertainty control my life. I knew I needed to make a change, so in May of 2019, I walked through the door at Strive Brookfield – it was the best decision I ever made. It was the first (and hardest) step towards my fitness journey… and I haven’t looked back since!

Fast forward to now, I am happier, healthier and just an all-around better version of myself.  

NOW I believe in myself. 

NOW I look forward to classes and PT each day.

NOW I am driven and eager to learn more. 

Strive changed my life!! 💙💚

I’ve lost close to 50lbs, I’ve gained more muscle and confidence than I ever thought possible. I’ve conquered numerous goals: I ran my first 5k, 10k and 2 half marathons, I’ve maxed out on deadlifts and bench press, I received a lifestyle achievement award, completed 75Hard and most importantly… I gained the inner strength and knowledge to completely trust the process. Fitness is MY lifestyle and giving up is NOT an option.  

I couldn’t be more thankful to Strive and all the instructors/members who have been so supportive from day one.  Strive is my HAPPY place and I hope that my fitness journey inspires someone to reach their full potential and to never give up… the only way you see results is to stay consistent!

I feel like this is just the beginning and I cannot wait to see what the future holds. ❤💪😏

– Lisa Werchman

“I was introduced to Strive’s Midway location soon after it opened.  I began with the punch card series taking classes once a week just to relieve some stress.  Once a week turned into twice a week.  With encouragement, I participated in a class marathon that peaked my interest in joining Strive’s challenges.  The 35-day nutrition challenge changed everything for me.  I discovered I was coping with stress with poor food habits and needed to commit to making a change for my overall well-being.”

I learned from Strive how to properly fuel my body and maximize my workouts.  I upgraded to a membership and participate in weekly personal training, which has been a game changer.  I appreciate the Strive family and amazing coaches for helping me on my radical self-care journey.  Strive’s coaches are dedicated and  I enjoy the camaraderie. 💙💚

– Jennifer Duran

“I joined Strive in November 2019 after spending several years at another fitness center. I immediately felt welcome and liked the family-like atmosphere of the instructors and the other members. I completed my first six week challenge that January and February losing 5 lbs and then Covid hit. I appreciated that Strive kept up online workouts multiple times per day and jumped into outdoor classes that spring. Every member I met was encouraging and every instructor brought his or her own unique knowledge and personality to each class. I loved that every class was different.”

I completed my first class marathon on July 4, 2020 in the extreme heat and was instantly attracted to challenging myself in ways I never had before.  Over the next 6 months I continued with daily classes trying bootcamps, kickboxing, yoga, spin and strength.  I became so hooked I got my husband, son and mom to join!  
As 2021 began I jumped into another 6 week weight loss challenge where I lost 17 pounds and took second place earning $500!  I grew to call the other members my friends and looked forward to not only seeing my body change but everyone else’s too.  Hearing so many others’ journeys was so inspiring for me.  Strive was different from any other gym I had ever belonged to.  After completing that challenge I decided to try 75 Hard on my own as I had heard other members who had completed it.  Shawn checked in on me weekly throughout those 75 days always encouraging me and helping me through it. That spring he also ran a 40 day nutrition challenge which was life changing for me.  He taught us so much about not only what to eat but when to eat, how to maximize our nutrition and all of the supplements that would help each member to achieve optimal fitness.  By the end of the challenge and 75 Hard I had lost another 11 pounds and for the first time in my life I had actual muscles! I took second place in that challenge winning a free month of personal training with Shawn that I continued for 12 weeks afterwards.  This was another life changing experience for me.  Shawn tailored my workouts each week where some accomplishments included completing a murph and flipping a 400 lb tire!  
Since the challenge I have completed another class marathon, two more 6 week fitness challenges and my very first Ruck where I spent 6 plus hours on a team with challenging tasks, heavy weights and continued bonding with members who have now become like family.  I cannot thank Strive and their instructors  for all of the ways they have positively impacted my family and me. I never knew that being a part of something like this could change my life in so many ways, but I am so glad it has.

– Kathleen Duncan

“Full time job, mother of three, and no time for myself. I was in need of change. At 42, I was the heaviest I had ever been, I was not sleeping, and I definitely was not feeling my best. I told myself there was not enough time to get in a workout. I didn’t want to infringe on anyone else’s schedule. There was no way I could get up early and I was too tired at the end of the day. No time! In June of 2019, I decided to make the change.

Strive ran a special promotion for teachers, I joined, and the changes started happening! Walking into the doors at the Riverside location for the very first time, I was greeted with welcoming smiles and hellos from other members. The friendly and patient instructor, Mike, stayed close to me during the workout to help me with my form for each exercise. I walked into the class a ball full of nerves and anxious and walked out of class feeling a sense of relief and accomplishment. As I continued working out at Strive, I started mixing up the classes I signed up for each week. I started to look and feel different, for the better. Once the Teacher Special ended, I signed up for the Unlimited 12 Month Plan to continue on in my fitness journey. That was almost two and a half years ago, and I have never experienced the same workout twice. I have taken part in many challenges that Strive offers in which I have learned a great deal of information about nutrition and fitness. Strive encourages everyone to set goals for themselves, follow through to accomplish them, and then set new goals. Since I joined Strive, I have lost pounds, inches, and body fat. But, I have gained far more. I have gained knowledge, knowing that making time for myself should be a priority, and most importantly a community of people who want to cheer me on and continue to see me succeed. I look forward to entering Strive’s doors everyday and continuing to grow my mental and phyisical strength. I still have a full time job and am a full time mom, but Strive helped me carve time back for myself.

– Jo Marietta

This year I am feeling very grateful for Strive! My New Year’s resolution is no longer a thing that I do for a month, but a lifestyle change. About a year and a half ago I put myself first and started my weight loss journey, for real. A little over a year ago I joined Strive and solidified this journey by adding fitness goals. I am compelled to share my journey because of others that have shared theirs and to thank the Strive trainers for pushing me and never letting me give up! Thank you for giving me a place that I enjoy going to and for helping me feel stronger than I have ever been… both mentally and physically!
Thanks to Strive I have lost 100 pounds and I am living a happy and healthier life! “
-Ashley Garcia

“I was thin for most of my life, but once I graduated from UIC, my weight began climb. In 2010, I became a mom. Over the next 10 years, with each pregnancy, I gained more and more weight. I could never consistently lose weight. I would gain everything back each time. I lacked motivation and reached a point that I was content with my weight. It wasn’t until Father’s Day 2020 that I stepped on a scale and weighed more than the day I gave birth to my youngest. Enough was enough and I had to do something about it. My sister reached out to me the very next day and told me about a special her gym Strive had. It was meant to be!

I started with an unlimited 30 day pass. I was hooked after my first class and soon after I joined the unlimited plan. Best decision I could have made for myself. I’ve met so many people on similar journeys as mine. The instructors care about you and put so much detail & work into each class they provide. Each class is always different from the last and leaves you wanting more. Everyone here pushes and motivates you. We celebrate each other’s victories. Strive gave me everything I didn’t know I needed. Best of all, they got me to believe in myself and love myself. I’ve gained endurance and mental strength thanks to Strive. I’ve been in 4 weight loss challenges and came in 3rd place once and 1st place 3 times! Since June 25, 2020, I’ve lost 85lbs. For someone who would miss out on events to avoid wearing a dress, I wore a dress this past weekend and felt beautiful, which I hadn’t felt like that in very long time. My dress was 12 sizes smaller from the last time I wore a dress.

Where I see the biggest change in me, is my mental strength. I believe in myself 100 and never give up. I stay on focused on my goals and crush them. I can’t thank my Strive family enough. Grateful for all the support I’ve received from Strive and my family, especially my husband and kids. I couldn’t have done any of this without them cheering me on.

– Ana Arellano

“I just celebrated 3 years as a personal training client at Strive, and I can honestly say walking through that door on a cold January day was one of the best decisions I have ever made. After finishing my college athletic career I really neglected my physical health as I stepped into the “real world” after graduating in 1999. I joined many gyms, tried many online workouts, invested in at home equipment but could never really keep at it for more than a month or two.

I felt my body breaking down, my energy levels low and just not happy with how far I had fallen physically. My wife encouraged me to try out Strive and bought me some PT sessions as a Christmas gift. As I started my training sessions with Carlos, I realized the encouragement and accountability that drove me in athletics is what I had been missing for more than 20 years. The PT program was built around my goals and what I wanted to achieve. The trainers listened to me and developed programs designed to get me to where I wanted to go. But we also pay as much attention to the mental health as we do to the physical. We talk about life, its challenges and how we will overcome them. Negativity has no place in this gym. It is all about being your best.
Strive has built my confidence back up. It has made me challenge myself physically and mentally like I haven’t in decades. It has shown me that I can do things that I didn’t think possible 3 years ago.
I set a stretch goal of completing my first Sprint Triathlon in the Summer of 2019 shortly after starting Strive…I did 3 that year. Covid cancelled my 2020 goal of completing a Spartan race but still Carlos and I were on Zoom 2 times a week pushing me every time (and I finally got my money’s worth out of that at home equipment). Then in 2021, I completed a 4x4x48 (4 miles running or biking every 4 hours for 48 hours) and raised a few thousand dollars for charity while doing it. I ran 28 miles and biked 24 in that timeframe for a total of 52. It was probably the most physically and mentally draining thing I have ever done but Strive prepared me for it and felt incredible completing it. I continue to set new goals, like the PR of 200 on bench press recently, and I know and trust that Carlos and the Strive program will push me to achieve them.

– Frank Serge

Paul signed up for personal training with Shawn exactly 1 year ago today. Paul has crushed goals and won challenges that have taken place at Strive. He’s lost over 50lbs and countless inches!!

Since starting personal training with Mike Kelsey, Luis has dropped a total of 32lbs and counting.  Luis now doesn’t see his workouts as a chore and now looks forward to his 3x a week training. Keep pushing Luis, we are cheering for you!

“It’s been awhile since I shared an update. I have officially lost 150 pounds. (150.4lbs to be exact 😂) I did this in 1 year and 4 months or 16 months. I’ve also been working on my strength and endurance and it has greatly improved also. To date my  Max deadlift- 305
Max squat- 285, Max bench- 175. This fitness journey has been a wild ride with lots of ups and downs.
 Just a year ago I couldn’t do a push up, barely bench the bar, couldn’t run a mile I ran 10 without stopping last month and just a few months ago I couldn’t box jump and now I can. I’m not done yet though not by a long shot. I’ll never be done. “

“It was at the beginning of 2019 that I was at my heaviest. I hit 294lbs and that was it! After belonging to a well known gym chain, and not achieving what we  had set out to, my wife and I turned to Strive for accountability. We had heard great success stories from others, so we decided maybe a smaller gym would better help us reach our goals. 

It has been an up and down battle mentally, physically, emotionally- i’m sure everyone can relate with battling their own inner demons. But since training with Shawn for the last 3+ years, I can say I have conquered the inner voice that once told me I couldn’t. Since joining Strive I have found myself doing the unthinkable. I have lost 100lbs and kept it off. I have also participated in numerous fitness competitions, I have completed intense obstacle courses/races, I have climbed 2 mountains, ran a marathon. I won a lifestyle award for all my hard work and dedication. All of this has been possible thanks to Strive, specifically my trainer Shawn. He has taken me under his wing since day one.

I am very grateful for the new lifestyle. There’s a new sense of responsibility and discipline in not only my gym life, but in my family life as well. When one is happy mentally, life changes for the best. Don’t worry about a number on the scale. Focus on your body changing and continue moving in the right direction. Don’t let the scale veer you away from the end goal. Surround yourself with the right people. I can without a doubt say that my Strive family is also part of the reason for my success story. From day one we were welcomed by others, just like us, with similar stories. Together we all motivate each other and push ourselves past our limits.”

Elite Strive Members

Kris has been a member since the beginning of Strive. She signed up instantly for unlimited classes and Personal Training. 

Today Kris ran her furthest with her coach, Shawn and completed 4 miles! 

Why double dip? Kris participates at least twice per day in classes. She has conquered class marathons, ultimate Bootcamp’s, “get your ass kicked” events and much more. 

“When I joined Shawn’s bootcamp back in 2013 all I could remember thinking all I ever wanted was to be able to keep up and be able to do what these ladies did. Nothing was going to stop me… with my daughter on the sidelines stopping wasn’t an option I needed to fight through and shake it off. ”

Now at strive with the support from Shawn, the strive coaches, and my strive fit family, I was able to lose 90lbs and crush many fitness goals. Now my daughter attends classes with me Ultimate bootcamps and class Marathons. I love doing this with her… seeing her progress, her become more focused, teaching the Importance of work ethic, and dedication!

– Sondra W

“Life is a journey not a destination!  I am Aimee Saflover, 66 ½ years of age, and a person who has always struggled with my weight.  In January of 2014 I realized I needed to make a change in my life and because I was retired, I now had the time to do something!

That something was to workout with a trainer.  That Friday Jan 3rd at 12:00P.M. I met Shawn Groll, my trainer.  That first day he had me do a few things to test my strength and ability.  I wasn’t able to lift my body up to do a plank.  My first two months were a struggle because my dad was dying of lung cancer, but Shawn helped me through that difficult time.  He would adjust my workouts to use the punching bag, ropes, tire flipping or whatever it took to help get my frustrations out.  As time went by I got stronger, more confident, lost 60lbs, and participated in two 5k’s.  Shawn also helped me train after a shoulder and knee replacement, back injury and a second shoulder surgery.”

In the last 8 years I’ve followed Shawn from Charter Fitness, Anytime Fitness, Jen’s Grandma’s house, Strive 4 Fitness in Brookfield, Riverside, and now LaGrange Park.  My journey isn’t over, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of Shawn and the Strive 4 Fitness family of trainers.  Strive members are like my family who support me and encourage me to Never Stop!

-Aimee Saflover


Strive member holding trophy
Strive member holding trophy
Strive member holding trophy

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