About the most extreme thing I’ve done is carry twins for eight months. They were born early, thus saving me from the truly extreme ninth month of a twin pregnancy. Their birth was via emergency c-section, so that was a little extreme, but I think natural childbirth would have been a lot harder.
So, when I looked at the new class schedule and saw MXT (Midtown Xtreme Training), I was intrigued. And when members began raving about the very first class on the club’s Facebook page a few weeks ago, my curiosity was piqued again. The current class time (Wednesdays from 12:15-1:15pm) doesn’t work for my schedule, so when Trainer Vinny Mugavero, who together with Trainer Justin Bradt developed MXT) offered a private class at a more convenient time, I took him up on it, and dragged three of my friends along for company.
Not much in my life is extreme.
It earns its name.
Here’s what you need to know about MXT (Midtown Xtreme Training):
1. Embrace Kettlebells.
My kettlebell experience is limited. I used them briefly during Boot Camp Against Cancer, and that sums up my exposure to them. Pardon the pun, but MXT is kettlebell-heavy. During class we did Dead Man Lifts and incorporated kettlebells into sqauts and choreographed moves. At first, I was raging against what one friend called “kettlebell hell,” but by the end of the class I had begun to look at them in a new way. I’m a runner, and all my power is in my legs. My upper body strength is very poor.
MXT showed me exactly how poor, and now I know how important it is to improve this area. Strong upper body = strong total-body runner.
2. The Class is Not for Beginners.
Prior to taking this class, I considered myself in shape. I have many areas that need improvement (doesn’t everyone?), but I have a decent level of overall fitness.
MXT kicked me in the rear.
"I'm trying, Vinny. I'm trying!"
We began the class with several laps around the Group Exercise studio (yay! Running!), moved into jumping jacks (traditional and squat jacks), and then things began to ramp up from there. We used free weights for bicep curls and during push-ups. We used body bars and jump ropes. We did sprinter stances and then backed up our hands to our feet, inchworm-style. And in the second half of the class, we used kettlebells almost exclusively.
I am not a fitness expert by any means, but if you’re new to working out or lack endurance, I would not recommend this class. “Xtreme” appears in the class title for a reason. However, I would certainly encourage everyone who wants a challenge and who has a moderate fitness base to give it a try.
3. Boot Camp-Style Stations Mix It Up.
November’s Boot Camp Against Cancer was my first Midtown boot camp experience. I really liked running through the different stations, because it kept the class interesting, and I never had to do any one activity for very long. During the last part of MXT, Justin set up five stations using a step box, kettlebells, dumbbells, and a stability ball, and we moved through the circuit. Good cardio mixed with weight training.
4. Vinny and Justin are excellent trainers with inspiring strength.
This was a fast-paced class whose activities were continually changing. I am usually overwhelmed in classes like this, because I have the balance and coordination of a toddler.
But strangely, in this class, I was able to follow the moves (although not always able to perform them for very long), and I’m giving Vinny and Justin credit for this. Granted, the class was small - there were only 5 of us, and therefore we received a lot of individual attention- but both trainers were excellent teachers. They performed the moves multiple times-slowly-so that even the most challenged learners (me) could follow along.
The class ended with Turkish Get-Ups. What’s a Turkish Get-Up? Check it out here. My friends and I did Half-Turkish Get-Ups (meaning, we did not actually ”get up”) with nothing in our hands. It was challenging, but do-able, and it felt a lot like a yoga move.
Justin demonstrated a full Turkish Get-Up (meaning, he did the entire move) with a 25-pound kettlebell in his hand.
And for that, he received a round of applause from the class. It was impressive, to say the least.
I used to think running 5 miles was extreme. And then I did it.
I used to think running 10 miles was extreme. And then I did that too.
Pushing limits is a good thing. Traveling outside our comfort zones is something everyone needs to do once and awhile (or every Wednesday at 12:15).
T.S. Eliot once said, “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
And while I don’t believe Eliot has taken MXT, he’s right.
Push the envelope and give the class a try. I think you’ll be glad you did.
Sam has over 15 years of fitness experience. He earned his undergraduate degree in Physical Education from Cortland State University, while playing four years of varsity football. Sam received a Masters in Exercise Science with a Concentration in Performance Enhancement from the University of California at Pennsylvania and is certified with the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a Personal Trainer and as a Performance Enhancement Specialist.
Sam enjoys non-traditional training methods and is often seen flipping tires and swinging a sledge hammer in the Midtown parking lot as part of his workout.
Reading and listening to music are two of Sam’s favorite things to do during his free time.
Fun Fact: Sam is a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan and also enjoys barbecuing and making his homemade barbecue sauce on the weekends.
Justin started weight training at the early age of 12. Justin’s father took him to the high school gym, which at the time was a 10 x 12 room, with a universal lat pull, squat bench, roman chair, and a row machine. Justin’s passion for exercise grew with the expansion of the high school gym. His passion led him to MCC, where he studied Physical Education. Still unsure of what he wanted to do, Justin enrolled at SUNY Brockport, where he developed an interest in Psychology. After much contemplation about which path to take, he finally came to his senses and picked Exercise Physiology.
Fun Fact: Justin’s lifting career began early as he spent his high school and middle school years taking down and setting back up all the tables and chairs in his school cafeteria. Wrestling practice was held in the cafeteria, and the wrestlers had to move all the tables and chairs, cart in two mats, practice, and then move everything back in again.
Arlene first came to Midtown when she was ten years old to watch her parents play tennis. During a college break, she came back to work out in the new fitness center. After teaching aerobics in the early 1980s, Arlene decided to further her education in the field and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Fitness from Springfield College in Massachusetts. Upon returning to Rochester, she was hired at Midtown and began a long and fulfilling career. Arlene has had many roles in the Fitness department over the years, and currently, she’s a Personal Trainer. What Arlene enjoys most about personal training is the different people she meets and helping them improve the quality of their lives through achieving fitness goals. In addition to her Bachelor’s degree, Arlene is NASM and ACE-certified.
Fun Fact: Arlene has worked at Midtown for over half of her life.
Joe was born and raised in Westchester County in the small town of Bedford Hills. His passion for sports started at a young age when he began playing soccer at age 5. Continuing his goal to become a top athlete, he was awarded top honors for the Presidential Challenge in middle school, placing in the top 5thpercentile. During the summers, he worked as a lifeguard and swimming instructor. By the end of high school, he was the captain of the soccer and lacrosse team, and was awarded All- County status for both sports. Since playing sports came naturally to him, Joe decided to pursue a degree in Exercise Science and Kinesiology at SUNY Cortland. During college he played Division I rugby, and achieved certifications in scuba diving, water safety instructor (WSI) and self-defense. After graduating from college, Joe decided to move to Rochester, where all three of his older brothers live. He began working at Midtown in 2007. Joe currently holds his personal training certification through ACE and is currently working on completing his ACE Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant Certification.
Fun Fact: In rugby, Joe was given the nickname “jaw breaker” for accidentally breaking a teammate’s jaw during practice.
Susan was born in Liverpool, NY and has been in fitness since 1994. She originally started her fitness career in Houston, Texas where she, her husband and then three-year-old daughter lived for about 3.5 years. She received her group fitness certification from AFAA and began teaching fitness classes at Gold’s gym, Worlds Gym, and a private club, all located in the Houston area. When her husband switched jobs, they moved back to Liverpool withher daughter, nine-month-old son, and another baby on the way. Once her third child was born, she continued her career in Liverpool where she gained new certifications in kickboxing and core. Eventually they moved to Rochester, where she and her family have lived for the past 11 years. In 2006, Susan received her Personal Training certification through AFAA. In 2007, Susan received another Personal Training certification through NASM. In 2010, she received a certification for Pilates Reformer through Balanced Body. She has worked for Midtown for 11 years, where in addition to personal training, she continues to teach Cycle, Core, Group Power, Bootcamp, and Pilates Reformer.
Kevin has been involved in fitness and sports his entire life. He comes from an athletic family, and graduated with a degree in Exercise Physiology in 2002. He then started his career at Midtown. Kevin became NFPT, ACE, USBA, and CPR/AED certified with a specialty in weight loss and strength and conditioning. He enjoys training all levels of fitness and helping people achieve their goals.
Fun Fact: Kevin once did
200 push-ups in one set and 2,000 in a single day.
Bruce has 14 years of personal training experience. He has spent his entire career helping people get fit, stay fit, and strength-train. Bruce started training when he was 16 years old. The owner of the gym where he worked out encouraged him to enter the field. Bruce realized very early on that training was the only job he ever wanted. Bruce graduated from SUNY Cortland witha B.S. in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strengthand Conditioning Specialist. In addition to working as a trainer for Midtown, Bruce is also the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Rochester Americans, and for Penfield High School.
Beginning at age 5, Josette was participating in any sport she could, including “two-hand-touch football” or “stickball.” Josette continued to play sports through high school and college, earning a Sports/Academic Scholarship for softball. At the age of 15, Josette began working at City Park and Recreational Facilities instructing children in a variety of sports and activities and continued doing so until graduating from SUNY Brockport in 1990, with a degree in Physical Education and Sports Management. Exercise and fitness were always part of her life, whether she was preparing for an upcoming season or just staying fit and healthy. After college, Josette taught children’s fitness classes for all ages for four years. Because she was always interested in weight training and aerobics classes, she began looking for opportunities in adult fitness and personal training. In 1995, she began working at a fitness club in Syracuse, instructing members on the proper use of the equipment. She also dabbled in Membership Sales/Management positions. Josette learned that she enjoyed hands- on instruction much more than managerial positions. She feels her job is very rewarding when her clients achieve positive results from their workouts! She enjoys working with people of all ages and all levels of fitness. Josette has been at Midtown for five years and is NASM-certified.
Fun Fact: Next to fitness, Josette’s second love is food. You can also find her serving you a fabulous dinner at her family-owned restaurant, Rizzi’s. Josette has six siblings, including a twin sister.
Steve grew up in Fall River, a city 30 miles south of Boston. He started lifting weights when he was 13. In high school, he played baseball and soccer, and upon graduating, he entered the Marine Corp.
Once back home, he worked as a cabinetmaker and sheet metal worker/welder while lifting weights, boxing, and doing aikido in his spare time. In 1999, he moved to the Caribbean island of St. Kitts, where he devoted himself to fitness and competed on a national level for St. Kitts as a Power Lifter and Bodybuilder. After leaving St Kitts in 2001, he moved to Baton Rouge, LA. where he decided to make a change to a life around fitness.
After relocating to the Rochester area in 2003, he decided to dive into the entire Fitness profession by becoming a full-time Personal Trainer, and added a National Academy of Sports Medicine to his existing certification with ISSA as a Fitness Trainer. Steve joined Midtown in October 2006, where he has continued as a Personal Trainer. Steve teaches two early-morning Boot Camp classes per week. Steve enjoys helping as many people as possible on a daily basis and can be found on the workout floor quite often fine-tuning his workout programs.
Fun Fact: Steve enjoys cooking and counts Beef Wellington & Tiramisu as two of his favorite dishes to make.
Vincenzo is originally from Rochester and enlisted in the Armed Forces, where he was a Military Police Officer/Master Fitness Trainer for eight years. He has over four years of overseas experience. Vincenzo is currently certified with the National Federation of Personal Training and is currently working on completing his certification with the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Vincenzo is a highly motivated, energetic trainer with 10 years of experience, with expertise in Boot Camp classes, resistance and free weight training, Professional Women’s Figure / Bodybuilding, sports -specific training and post -rehab conditioning.
Kim started her unusual path in the fitness field as a nanny. She took care of 4 children, including newborn twin boys, and as a job benefit, she was given a free membership to a gym. Not only did she love challenging her body, but she also created workouts and dietary guidelines for a friend who was diabetic. Several months later, her friend was taken off medication. This inspired Kim to look into the field of fitness. She soon discovered Pilates, which she is very passionate about. After years of studying and acquiring certifications, Kim decided to look for work in the fitness industry. She waited until the children she cared for were old enough for school, and then began to pursue her new career. She never thought she would find something as gratifying as taking care of children. But after 9 years in the fitness field, she still wakes up around 4 AM, excited to play at work.
Fun Fact: Kim started a business as a personal chef several years ago.
Laura began personal training while she attended undergraduate and graduate school. She started working for Midtown as a personal trainer in 2004. She has a national certification and has attended several other certification programs in a variety of exercise programs, including Pilates, yoga, aqua, flexibility and Kinesistraining. Laura has implemented and is currently teaching the stretching program for both one-on-one and group stretching at Midtown. Additionally, Laura is an active instructor at SUNY Brockportand at the University of Rochester in their dance departments. She has earned both a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Brockport and a Master’s degree in Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Buffalo. Currently, she performs and dances for Biodance, a modern dance company in Rochester. Laura’s exercise teaching philosophy is that she focuses on building a strong “core” and good alignment for her clients, while keeping the workouts challenging and fun.
Fun Fact: Laura loves to hike, especially to waterfalls, with her husband, Dan and dog, Vance.
Doug started his interest in training at 13 years old, buying a textbook on plyometrics, and starting strength training when the high school quarterback told him “you would dominate in basketball if you bulked up.” Although the “bulking up” was minimal the performance gains were very apparent. Doug competed in Soccer, Basketball, and Track and Field utilizing all types of training. He graduated from SUNY Brockport with a B.S. in Exercise Physiology/Biomechanicsin 1995. He interned at Midtown and has been Personal Training ever since. He has held several certifications, currently National Strengthand Conditioning Association Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer. Doug is also heavily involved as an indoor cycle instructor, launching many special events like “Cycling at the Cinema,” “Pre-Turkey Burn,” and “Journey of the Peaceful Warrior.” He is a member of Indoor cycle instructor Pro and was recently featured in a two part podcast interview covering indoor cycling technique. For the past 14 years Doug has become a “certified cycling nut” racing mountain and road bikes all over the Northeast. Doug continues his quest for training knowledge and the improvement of human performance.
Fun Fact: Doug is often praised for his “musicality” in cycle class, which he attributes to being forced by his parents to play a musical instrument (trombone) from 4th through 10th grade.
Dina has been a trainer at Midtown for 14 years and is NASM-certified. Starting out as a floor trainer with a B.S. in Health Sciences from Brockport, she soon acquired a passion for training and special events here at the club. Eventually she became the special Events Coordinator and then Fitness Director until the birth of her twin daughters in 2002. Since then Dina has maintained a part time schedule as a personal trainer and focuses on pregnancy and exercise and Kinesis. Dina enjoys playing tennis and has been in several leagues and hopes to continue to play and get more competitive. Lately you can see her carrying around a yoga mat or running off to a Pilates class. When not at Midtown, Dina enjoys spending time with her husband Steve and three children.
Fun Fact: Dina is still training her very first client whom she began training when she started 14 years ago!
Dave has been at Midtown for 19 years, and holds an M.S. in Exercise Physiology from the University of Buffalo. He is a NSCA-certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and an NASM Certified Personal Trainer. His recent personal accomplishments include competing in the Musselman Triathlon and being a two-time finisher of the Adirondack Canoe Classic (AKA “The 90-Miler”). Dave began lifting weights at age 12, and has not stopped since! Dave began college with the goal of becoming a Physical Education teacher, but soon realized he loved training and science, so he switched his major to Exercise Physiology. He enjoys helping clients develop a passion for exercise and achieving fitness goals.
Fun Fact: Dave was once the Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Rochester Amerks.
Judy has always been active, and began playing sports in elementary school. When she discovered the benefits and fun of working out with weights and machines, she wanted to help others reap the same rewards. Judy obtained her first certificate as a personal trainer nine years ago. She has been training ever since, the last six years at Midtown. Along the way she has obtained two additional certifications, and became a Pilates Reformer instructor. She is also very enthusiastic about Kinesis training. Judy enjoys training all ages, especially the clients 45+ and those rehabilitating from an injury or surgery.
Fun Fact: Judy is an avid fly fisherwoman, and has traveled with her husband Kimball as far as Alaska to catch salmon and rainbow trout.
has always had an interest in physical activity. He played a variety of sports growing up, starting at the age of five. His interest in working out started in high school due where he was a wrestler. Paul then went to SUNY Brockport where he earned his B.S. in Exercise Physiology. After earning his degree, Paul was hired as a Fitness department intern, and he was later hired as a personal trainer. He has been training individuals and groups at Midtown for the last four years and is certified by the American Council of Exercise (ACE-CPT). Paul specializes in training a wide range of individuals witha special interest in strength and conditioning, weight loss, and bodybuilding.
Fun Fact: Paul also works for his father, assisting him in running a dairy farm.
Brian started his fitness career at the age of seven, swimming for a competitive swim team in Jamaica. At the age of 10, he made it onto Jamaica’s National Swimming Squad and competed at an international level until age 17. During that time he continued to swim for his club and for his high school. At age 13, he started playing water polo for his high school and continued to play in college. Brian started Body Building after his aquatics career ended at the age of 18 and started personal training then as well. He competed in body building until age 24, and won the NPC Amateur New York State Championships for his weight class. Shortly thereafter, Brian wrote a book entitled Slim and Trim,which has since been published by Amazon Books. Having moved to Rochester in 1990, Brian started teaching swimming at a local healthclub and then moved from aquatics to the fitness department. He eventually led the strength training department, and he also managed the aquatics department for a brief time. After becoming certified by The American College of Sports Medicine as a Health Fitness Specialist (HFS) and having had several certifications prior, Brian worked in a medical office as a health fitness specialist for six years. Brian joined the Midtown personal training team in 2000, and his current fitness quest is Seidokan Karate.
Fun Fact: Brian is a Licensed United States Coast Guard Master Captain for vessels up to 50 tons.
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