My Fitness Answer Offers Personalized Training

Karen and Steve Hieskell, owners of My Fitness Answer, utilized years of experience and a fully furnished home gym to help clients meet their personal fitness goals. MIRROR PHOTO BY KAREN GERHARDINGER

BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Whether it’s a preteen soccer player needing an extra boost, a high school runner wanting to increase speed, adults looking to lose weight or retirees in need of improving balance and strength, My Fitness Answer has helped hundreds of clients reach their goals.

“Every person is different. Every goal is different,” said Steve Hieskell, a physical fitness specialist who co-owns My Fitness Answer with his wife, Karen, a trainer and nutrition coach. 

My Fitness Answer made its Northwest Ohio debut over 20 years ago, helping local athletes including Anthony Wayne’s Erika Schmidt, Bowsher’s Meshawn Graham and Genoa’s Blair Skilliter, who was recorded running 26 mph.

“I owe a great deal of high school and college athletic success to Steve,” said Skilliter, who played football for University of Mount Union. “He helped me break three longstanding high school track records, gain first-team all-state honors in football, and a scholarship.”

But personal training isn’t just for athletes. One of Steve’s early clients was Scott Buckenmeyer, a Swanton man who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a 2001 automobile accident.

“All Scott wanted to do was walk and talk,” said his wife, Kathy. “He tried various therapies to help with his balance and speech, swallowing and muscle tone. Then we met Steve.”

The first time Steve met Scott, he saw his potential and learned how far to safely push him to meet his goals.

“With Steve’s help, Scott’s balance, gait pattern, range of motion, strength, stamina and even voice volume improved,” Kathy recalled. “I cannot say enough about the quality of Steve’s training. Scott would not be where he is today if not for Steve and his dedication to Scott.”

Kathy was ecstatic to learn that My Fitness Answer has returned to the area. The Hieskells relocated to other areas of the country for the past 15 years, as Steve worked full time as a power plant electrician in New Mexico, Ohio and Florida. Now retired, the couple moved to Whitehouse, where they’ve stocked their home with enough equipment to fill a commercial gym. 

Now that My Fitness Answer is back, so is Jeff McNally, one of the Hieskells’ early customers. Newly retired, his goal is to increase stamina and overall health. In just three weeks of working out three times a week with Steve, McNally has seen a difference.

“I had my annual physical a few weeks ago, and the doctor said my blood pressure is rock solid, my pulse rate is down and I’ve lost some weight. I feel better and I sleep better,” McNally said.

His workout starts with 10 minutes of aerobics, beginning with the Helix lateral trainer, boxing, a rower or vibration platform. Then it’s an ab workout and, depending on the day, a focus on arms and shoulders, chest and back or legs. 

“Because they have so much equipment, we can do different things week to week. That keeps it fresh,” McNally said. “Steve can really cater to what the individual is looking for.”

Working out with Steve is much different than going to a gym, where a personal trainer might be assisting several clients at once and the wait to use a machine might drag out the workout time, McNally noted.

“I’ve worked out with other personal trainers, but Steve’s knowledge is off the scale. The way he tweaks exercises and makes sure you’re using proper technique – you get more benefit from someone telling you how to do it right.”

Steve, a Michigan native and Air Force veteran, has long been interested in physical fitness. He graduated second in his class from the Cooper Institute, named for Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the founder of aerobics. At 65, Steve continues to compete as a Masters Track and Field athlete and is a nationally ranked sprinter and runner-up in the Mr. Ohio bodybuilding championships. Karen works with him on diet, running, conditioning, starts, plyometrics and strength training.

With so much experience, the Hieskells are able to adapt workouts to meet individual needs and adjust quickly to a client’s changing needs – such as physical limitations. 

Each client first receives a detailed analysis, including weight, body fat, body measurements, blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar and pulse, as well as a look at how diet fits into their goals.

“We have really helped people turn around their health issues,” Karen said.

Their clients have included a woman who needed to build back muscle after spending five weeks in the hospital from COVID-19, two men with artificial legs, another with cerebral palsy and a diabetic who needed to lose 25 pounds before getting a knee replacement.

“The beauty of one-on-one training is that for people who are uncomfortable in a gym setting, unsure of what exercises to do or how to do them correctly, Steve can instruct them on proper form and the correct exercises,” Karen said.

It also means that each of their clients feels more accountable to show up and be ready to work, because Steve won’t be busy looking at his phone or dealing with several other clients.

“Making a commitment to working out with Steve is a motivator,” McNally said. “When you go to a gym, it’s incumbent on you to get your butt off the couch.”

And when that workout is done, it’s time to relax in the infrared sauna and massage chair.

My Fitness Answer is located at 7013 Whiddenmill Dr. in Whitehouse, with sessions available from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Friday and on Saturday mornings. For information, visit www.myfitnessanswer.com, email myfitnessanswer@gmail.com or call (813) 451-1201.

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