Trainer helps others get fit with exercise cardsLori Wengle has come by her credentials as a personal trainer through experience. In her transformation — from 242 pounds to 135 pounds, from weak to strong, from hiding her body to showing it off — Wengle also has discovered the inspiration for a new business.
By: By Patricia Montemurri, Detroit Free Press
DETROIT — Lori Wengle has come by her credentials as a personal trainer through experience.
In her transformation — from 242 pounds to 135 pounds, from weak to strong, from hiding her body to showing it off — Wengle also has discovered the inspiration for a new business.
“Because I was so overweight for so long, I wanted to tell my story,” said Wengle, 38, of Genoa Township, Mich. “Anybody can do this.”
That’s why Wengle created “Change Your World Fitness Personal Trainer,” which she describes as “a personal trainer in a box.”
The sturdy carrying case with a handle holds about 150 exercise cards. There are routines for workouts for any schedule from two days to six days a week. The laminated cards have photographs and specific instructions for each exercise. The exercises are color-coded for work at home, or with gym equipment at a fitness center.
“I don’t want a client forever. I want to teach them so they don’t need me,” Wengle said. “I want them to kick their own butt.”
Client Shirley Lessner, 39, of Brighton, Mich., lost 34 pounds in twice-a-week workouts with Wengle last year. She helped critique and edit the exercise cards.
“I learned I’m capable of a lot more than I thought I was because she really pushed me,” Lessner, a wedding photographer, said. “I learned that I just can’t sit around and lose my weight. I really have to work hard to do it.”
Wengle struggled with weight issues from an early age. She still pictures herself as an overweight kid in grade school. Her Maltese-Polish family ate big meals. There were bakeries on nearby corners. She carried more than 200 pounds when she was 12 years old, on a 5-foot-3-inch frame.
When Wengle got married, at age 27, she weighed 243 pounds. That marriage lasted less than a year, and Wengle’s weight issues continued. She’d yo-yo between 225 pounds and 180 pounds. The latter she considered her “skinny” weight.
She still remembers the hurt she felt when her daughter had to draw a picture of her parents for school. Wengle’s daughter drew her lying on the couch and watching the news. “I thought, ‘How sad was that.’ ”
She met her second husband, Jeff Wengle, at a party and remembers weighing 195 pounds. When she learned that he weighed 183, she wouldn’t date him until she lost the pounds so she wouldn’t weigh more than he did.
Her weight was never an issue with him. “He says he fell in love with my eyes, and I was larger than life,” Wengle said.
When Wengle faced taking blood pressure medication and was at risk for Type 2 diabetes, she decided to lose weight for good. She lost more than 100 pounds in 2000-2001 by what she describes as starving herself with a 500-calorie diet and filling up on Diet Cokes.
She was a size 6, but was flabby, tired and out of shape.
In 2003, her husband bought her a membership at the Howell Fitness Center, and she started working with a trainer.
“I liked working out with weights,” says Wengle. “I started seeing results much quicker. For years, I’d been doing things wrong.”
An entrepreneur by nature, Wengle has a track record of developing personal interest into moneymakers. As a teen she mowed lawns. As an adult in 2002, she quit her job as a cell phone sales rep and opened up the Howell Antique Mall because she liked antiquing.
To become a personal trainer, Wengle took classes through the American Council on Exercise to get a certificate. She started a personal training business with a partner about 18 months ago.
When folks at the fitness center saw the results of her workout, they came to her for advice. She sent clients home with copied sets of instructions, and from that her exercise kit was born.
One of her clients is Nicole Fenner, 16, of Fenton, Mich., who likes doing exercises that work her abdominal muscles.
“They hurt more, but you know you’re doing something and making a difference,” says Fenner. Working out with Wengle keeps her motivated. When Fenner can’t make it to the fitness center for sessions, she uses the exercise cards to stay on target.
“I’m more positive about myself and I have a lot more energy,” says Fenner.
Since November, Wengle has sold hundreds of the exercise card kits online. And she’s doing TV commercials in the Lansing area.
Wengle says she knows what her body needs now. “I say I’m a work in progress.”
Lori Wengle’s tips for fitness success
• Schedule time for exercise. Make an appointment in your calendar to work out three times a week.
• Eat whole grain breads and pastas, instead of those made with refined flour.
• Make meals in advance. On busy days Wengle packs a day’s worth of food — proteins, fruits and vegetables — in a cooler. “The cooler is filled with everything I want for the day, and when it’s empty, I’m done.”
• Learn to use weights. A set of weights, combined with targeted exercises, can help tone muscles.