With 17 marathons (including 10 Bostons) under his belt, and 15 years of personal training experience, Bruce Hedlund, the Rochester club’s resident running expert, is the trainer you want to work with if you’re preparing for a race.
He graduated from SUNY Cortland with a B.S. in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Bruce also works as Penfield High School’s Strength and Conditioning coach, and did the same for the Rochester Americans for the 2009-2010 season.MORE
She loves paddle tennis with a fierce passion, but her first love is swimming.
Before this year, she had never tasted coffee, but her 5am Midtown shift-starts made it a necessity.
And you’ll never see her without pearls.
Keegan Brown is the club’s Swim Lesson Coordinator and a Swimming Instructor, a competitive paddle tennis player, and a big-time Zumba enthusiast. She credits Midtown’s Zumba classes for her 30-pound weight loss.
A few weeks ago, I sat down with Keegan and we talked paddle, swimming, and why she has exactly three colored Sharpie markers in her possession at all times.
“Growing up in West Irondequoit, my sports-oriented parents taught both my sister and me that girls could do anything that boys could do,” says Keegan. So she played volleyball, kickball, and of course, she swam. Mike Cahill, the Head Swimming Coach at RIT, was Keegan’s swimming coach for over 15 years.
After graduating first from MCC and then from St. John Fisher, she worked in the non-profit industry for a few years, but then returned to her sporting roots when she started working for the club in 2009.
Midtown allows her to both fulfill her professional goals and her personal ones.
As a paddle tennis player for the past four years (three years competitively), Keegan participates in five paddle leagues during the season, and plays in tournaments across the Northeast once or twice a month. She comes from a paddle family (both her mom and her aunts play as well), and Keegan plays against her mom each Wednesday.
As a board member of SIS (Sustain, Inspire, Survive), an organization offering financial assistance to those battling breast cancer, Keegan hopes the 5th Annual Ladies Paddle Tournament for which Midtown is donating its courts next January will climb from 122 players in 2011 to 130 in 2012 to make it the biggest paddle tournament in the country.
On Deck and in the Pool
Paddle is a fall and winter sport, so when not on the courts, you’ll find Keegan on the pool deck coordinating group swimming lessons or in the pool teaching both young and not-so-young Midtowners to love the water. Keegan says, “I love watching the kids I taught to kick and breathe under water at two- and three-years-old now swimming laps at five- and -six-years-old. It’s incredibly fulfilling.”
She speaks fondly of her proudest moment at Midtown. A senior member of the club, Walter Fendley, approached Keegan about taking swimming lessons. He had not learned to swim as a child, and as a senior, was still intimidated by the deep end of the pool. His wife, an avid lap swimmer, encouraged Walter to take lessons so he could exercise with her. Walter started private lessons with Keegan in the shallow end of the pool, and eventually progressed to deeper water. Walter is now swimming laps with his wife, and the couple formed a lasting friendship with Keegan.
“All three of us took TNT together last year!” says Keegan.
Pearls and the Purse
When she’s not in the pool or on the paddle courts, Keegan enjoys baking and decorating cakes for her friends. She participated in the Sprint Mini-Triathlon at the club this past May, and loves taking group exercise classes with her friends.
She also told me that in addition to sunscreen, her handbag is never missing her daily planner and three colored Sharpie markers. “I have to stay organized and the markers help me plan my schedule,” says Keegan. “I’m absolutely lost without them.” And speaking of never being without, you’ll be hard-pressed to find Keegan sans pearls. “My sister and I are Irish twins-we’re 14 months apart. My sister wears diamonds, and I wear pearls,” she says. “They’ve been our signature accessory for years.”
A team player both on and off the paddle courts, Keegan firmly believes that as a Midtown associate, she would never ask anyone to do something that she herself wouldn’t do. She credits club manager Bob McKernan for demonstrating this ideal with the way he conducts himself in the club, pitching in to help whenever and wherever he’s needed.
“I truly believe in working hard in order to succeed,” says Keegan, “and sometimes that means working outside your job description.”
Keegan’s hard work on the paddle courts are taking her and her paddle partner to the APTA (American Platform Tennis Association) Nationals on Long Island for the first time this coming March.
Are the pearls coming too?
“Absolutely,” says Keegan.
Next up on our Staff Profile docket: Mind/Body Director Randi Lattimore. Stay tuned!
Part of the reason is the class itself. It’s physically demanding but not impossible for those in relatively decent shape. It includes a great mix of exercises and equipment and it changes all the time, so it never gets boring.
But a big part of the class’s success is because of trainer Vinny Mogavero, the creative force behind MXT.
Vinny’s teaching style, unwavering encouragement, and propensity for keeping the class fresh and interesting makes the class wildly popular and has members singing his praises.
MXT doesn’t have participants. It has disciples.
One such disciple is member Kathleen Hermann, who credits MXT and Vinny with changing her life and her body.
This is her story of MXT on the Great Lawn.
Like many, I read the MXT class description, deemed it harmless, and walked into my first class unprepared.
I snuck out halfway through class, thinking, “What was that?!” I should have paid attention to the “Xtreme”" part.
And yet, I came back. Again…and again..and again. You could say I’m addicted now, and there are many more like me who have been taking MXT even longer. You won’t be able to guess an MXT fanatic by age, sex, weight, or body type. The class represents a cross-section of all groups. All you really need to survive in MXT is the desire to get better, faster, and stronger, and the willingness to push yourself to the limit to achieve those goals. I have been trying to go to MXT three times a week, but I especially love the outdoor classes on the Great Lawn.
1)Vinny is a miracle worker in dispensing motivation. No matter the group size (which is often large as the class gets more popular), he will make you feel as if you are getting a private training session. He is everywhere, running from one station to the next, correcting form, yelling out encouragement, and jumping into the exercises with people. In fact, sometimes (for example, when you are flipping over a huge tractor tire), you may even hope he is not watching, as you stand back to take another break.
But before you can pause, there he is, right up next to you with words of encouragement. He always manages to be everywhere at once. He does such a good job that I almost feel like I should be paying him a personal training fee for the class.
2)There is a difference between yelling and encouragement. Don’t be scared to try the class because you think you will be ridiculed in front of everyone. Vinny doens’t do this, but he isn’t soft either. He doesn’t mind if you have to drop to your knees during a push-up exercise or modify a different activity as long as he can see you are trying your hardest. In fact, he often reminds us to not worry about what everyone else is doing and just work on doing the best that we can as individuals.
He will point out that what we think is the best we can do is often not; that we usually have a little more in us, and it is through pushing that tiny bit extra that we will see results. He will help push you to that point, beyond your perceived limits.
3)There are different props used throughout class, including body bars and kettlebells, along with a lot of body weight resistant movements. I’m pretty uncoordinated, so I was pleased to find there are no complicated choreographed moves to follow. In the outdoor class, fun things are added like huge ropes and tires, and we even use the ramp leading down to the Great Lawn. Don’t fear the kettlebells. Vinny will demonstrate the movements and help you if you feel lost.
4)MXT will not allow your body to “adapt” because every class is different. The exercises are never completed in the same order and the activities change class to class. You never know what will be thrown at you next.
On the Great Lawn, stations are set up and you move through them as a small group. This allows you to bond with your groupmates. There is something about mutual suffering that can really create a friendship between people.
However, there is little chit-chat during class. There is just not enough oxygen for it. But there areshared looks of understanding and soft utterings of, “I can’t believe I just did that.”
5)There is something motivating about exercising outdoors. There is plenty of room, allowing for activites that would be impossible indoors, such as sprinting or tire-flipping. On hot days, the club provides towels and water. With the heatwave of two weeks ago, temperatures were brutal, and the club provides huge buckets of ice for chilling our towels in, as well as complimentary sports drinks on ice. There is also a great stereo system that you can hear on all parts of the lawn.
6)You will see results. I am actually starting to see defined abs, something I thought had long vanished following two pregnancies. You will feel stronger, and fitter, and faster. You may find yourself standing in front of the bathroom mirror and flexing or doing a little dance before getting in the shower. Or maybe that’s just me.
7)Vinny reminds us that we are, indeed, strong enough. Before MXT, it had been awhile since I had crossed my own personal red line. I went up to it, brushed against it, and maybe peeked over, but then I backed off.
Now, I sprint over it, and then add a mile more.
Vinny reminds us that in order to achieve real results, we need to stop shying away from lactic acid and burning lungs. Only when we embrace fatigue and get intimate with it can we rise to another level. MXT is definitely about pushing limits, whether those limits are real or imagined. I think that is Vinny’s goal, as he often reminds us of this when we’re at the point of collapse and just want to stop. Here, Vinny tells us, “This is where it counts.”
But for me, the best part about MXT is not the feelings of suffering and resistance as I push it out, but the feeling that soars through me when I realize, “I’ve got this.”
MXT runs on Mondays (outside, weather permitting) from 6:15-7:15pm, 12:15-1:15pm on Wednesdays (Group Ex Studio), and 12:30-1:30pm on Saturdays (Group Ex Studio).
Have you taken MXT on the Great Lawn? What do you think of the class?