Here’s how one couple dropped nearly 100 pounds with help from My Personal Trainer

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Joe and Kim Bucar discovered the My Personal Trainer difference and dropped nearly 100 pounds, collectively. They attribute the care and support of trainers in a one-on-one environment as their secret to success. (Photography: Benjamin Margalit)

By Patricia Nugent

In the multi-billion-dollar world of fitness, the perpetuation of training myths is a constant and what you don’t know could potentially hurt you and interfere with your goals. There is nothing worse than spending 6+ months in a gym, trying your best, only to step on the scale and realize that you haven’t made any progress!

At My Personal Trainer, the fitness professionals take the myth out of the method. Just ask Kim and Joe Bucar, who have collectively shed nearly 100 pounds over the past year with MPT.

New Leases on Life
Prior to joining My Personal Trainer, Kim ran on her treadmill at home and kept a strict diet of no more than 800-900 calories a day, yet she couldn’t lose weight.

When she asked a co-worker what her secret to looking terrific was, the answer came up My Personal Trainer. So, Kim decided to give it a shot.

But it wasn’t easy going in the beginning, as Kim would develop an immediate tension headache following her first exercise.

“I told Kim that this wasn’t going to be easy but if she was willing to work with me and above all trust me, I would do everything in my power to help her be successful. We began modifying her workouts with a lowered intensity, really focused on breathing and incorporated a little more rest,” says Marren Croley, General Manager of the Broadview Heights studio.

“After about a month, Kim was training with us at her full intensity, like there had never been a roadblock.”

Another obstacle they overcame was her diet, which Marren says was extremely restricted calorically.

“We consistently hear about other trainers who put people on very low-calorie diets and cut out all their favorite foods,” she says. “Eating barely enough for a small child and not being able to eat the foods you love? I wouldn’t want any part of that.”

The trainers encourage clients to make a daily food journal, and, upon evaluating it, make small changes.

Says Marren, “We gradually change their diet habits to create a foundation for the rest of their life, not the rest of the month.”

In Kim’s case, that meant taking her up to 1,300-1,500 calories per day. And, coupled with training, that’s when the pounds really started dropping.

Within the first month, her results were exciting enough to encourage her husband Joe to sign up. Since he is diabetic, they paid special attention to the training.

For Joe, the weight loss means more than looking and feeling wonderful. He’s living a fuller, more functional life. The couple are parents to active daughters, ages three and seven.

“I was already having trouble carrying my youngest up the stairs,” Joe says. “It was bothering my legs and I was out of breath. That needed to stop.”

Not only has his strength and endurance improved, but Joe has also been able to get off one of his four daily diabetes medicines and reduce the dosage of another, plus his A1C is the best it’s been in years.

“The past year has been positive for me,” he says. “Although we usually don’t work out together, it’s been fun sharing the experience. And the private setting of the gym, with the one-on-one training, has made a difference in me sticking with it.”

Losing that much weight and building muscle at the same time translates to Kim dropping six dress sizes, and Joe trading in his size 42-inch pants for a 36-inch waist.

Rising Above Expectations
“When people see trainers on television yelling at clients when they are struggling, they get a drill sergeant expectation,” says Marren. “Psychologically breaking down a person during training does not allow them to make progress toward their goals.”

She says if one of their clients is struggling with an exercise, they simply end the set.

“We offer only encouragement, respect and a positive outlook,” continues Marren. “We put a major effort on lifting clients up. I want them to walk out of a session feeling better than when they walked in.”

Another way MPT differs from other places is in how many sessions they recommend weekly.

“Overtraining, working out every day, causes the body to plateau faster,” she says. “Your body gets stronger during the break between sessions, when tissue is rebuilt. Two sessions per week allows muscle groups to recover.”

Confused About Muscle Confusion?
Did you know working out too often could actually plateau you faster?

“Gaining strength is a vital component to getting leaner and it’s easy to get caught in the over-training trap,” says Marren.

“The thought process is that you constantly have to confuse your muscles to make any progress and science says that’s false. Thanks to our bodies built-in protective mechanisms, over-training can often lead to weight gain, stalled progress and injury. It’s just as important to give your body time to recover as it is to perform intense training sessions.”

“The key to getting fitter lies in adhering to something called “progressive overload”.

Progressive overload works a specific muscle or function in a specific manner, progressively adding intensity and/or duration over time” explains Marren.

“Repetition and consistency are key. Your body actually gets stronger during the repairing process, not during the workout itself.“

Kim and Joe report that above and beyond their improving numbers, they both thoroughly enjoy the workouts.

“I cannot imagine not having these trainers in our lives,” Kim says. “They are like family, so compassionate and supportive. They are truly part of our journey.”

My Personal Trainer studios are conveniently located in Broadview Heights (7985 Broadview Road, 440-838-8400), Westlake (25959 Detroit Road, 440-808-0000), Berea (381 West Bagley Road, 440-234-3075) and Strongsville (20930 Drake Road, 440-878-9000). Program rates run $99-$209 per month. For more information and to meet the trainers at each location, visit