Riz­ing to the oc­ca­sion

Lodi gym tai­lors work­outs to peo­ple’s needs

Lodi News-Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Bea Ah­beck

David Chap­pell picks up a 15-pound leather ball, hoists it up in his lap, and with swift mo­tions steers his wheel­chair over to his wife, Ginger. She lifts it over her head, slams the ball into the ground, where it gen­tly bounces be­fore she picks it up again, re­peat­ing the process five more times. When she is done, David is there with an­other ball, ready to re­peat the process.

The move­ment is the start of a in­di­vid­u­al­ized work­out de­signed by per­sonal trainer Shawn Cowdell, who re­cently joined Liz Pu­zon at Riz­ing Fitness, one of the new­est ad­di­tions to the Lodi gym scene.

Cowdell uses an ap­proach of func­tional move­ment pat­terns, cus­tom­ized to each client to meet each per­son’s fitness goals. He be­lieves in an ap­proach with min­i­mal use of tra­di­tional ma­chines, be­liev­ing the body it­self is a ma­chine, to be used as such, while keep­ing each work­out fun and en­joy­able. The gym also pro­vides boot camps, which use the high­in­ten­sity in­ter­val train­ing ap­proach.

“For me, per­son­ally its fan­tas­tic,” Ginger Chap­pell said of the work­outs de­signed by Cowdell that she and David, who is un­able to use his legs, do five days per week. “I wouldn’t want to have two other peo­ple in the room. It’s a vul­ner­a­ble thing to work out — I need

to be in a com­fort­able en­vi­ron­ment. We’re laugh­ing and hav­ing a good time — it feels like it goes by so fast.”

David, now 49, was the vic­tim of an ac­ci­den­tal shoot­ing when he was 3 and has spent his whole life in a wheel­chair. He has seen a big change in his mo­bil­ity and range of mo­tion af­ter two years of work­ing out with Cowdell. Ginger has lost 75 pounds.

Cowdell didn’t al­ways work as a per­sonal trainer. He spent 10 years at Wal­mart, in a va­ri­ety of po­si­tions. Fitness was al­ways im­por­tant to him though, and he de­vel­oped work­outs for his friends for fun. But a com­ment from a co­worker fi­nally made him take a leap to change his life and ca­reer.

“Some­one called me a lifer, and some­thing in­side me snapped,” he said.

The ques­tion prompted a soul search­ing of sorts for Cowdell.

“I’ve got to change some­thing with what I am cur­rently do­ing, and what do I en­joy do­ing?” he re­calls ask­ing him­self. “How can I help oth­ers? And what will keep me young?”

So he went back to school and got cer­ti­fied as a per­sonal trainer at the Na­tional Trainer In­sti­tute in Sacramento.

Af­ter work­ing at a larger fitness box chain for the first five years of his ca­reer, Cowdell took the op­por­tu­nity to work for him­self when he joined his friend and col­league Pu­zon at Riz­ing Fitness.

When a new client joins the gym, Cowdell first does an as­sess­ment and a body com­po­si­tion — es­tab­lish­ing the weight, body fat and lean body mass per­cent­ages — then dis­cusses the client’s weight and work­out goals. They es­tab­lish how many calo­ries the client needs to eat to main­tain their weight or lose pounds.

“The main thing is to stay within a caloric deficit. You can’t lose weight if you’re eat­ing more than you burn. And most peo­ple don’t even know what their ba­sic metabolic rate is — how much they burn in a rest­ing state,” he said.

Proper nu­tri­tion and the chang­ing of old habits, is a big part of liv­ing a health­ier life.

“The main thing is mak­ing a lifestyle change. If you don’t break down mi­nor bad habits — such as eat­ing in front of the TV — you don’t re­al­ize you con­sume 25 to 50 per­cent more food just by sit­ting in front of the tele­vi­sion, mind­lessly in­dulging in food like chips or pop­corn,” he said. “If you’re go­ing to eat, ac­tu­ally eat sit down and eat it away from the phone and tele­vi­sion. Some­thing as small as that — will make a world of dif­fer­ence — you’re ac­tu­ally feed­ing the body as op­posed to dis­tract­ing the mind.”

The most re­ward­ing part of be­ing a per­sonal trainer is see­ing the success and trans­for­ma­tion in his clients. His big­gest success is some­one near and dear to his heart — his own fa­ther, John Cowdell.

“He was 300 pounds, and is now 180,” Cowdell said.

Un­der the guid­ance of his son, John Cowdell cleaned up his diet, get­ting rid of soda, chips and other un­healthy foods, and fo­cus­ing on a mainly plant­based diet. The change in diet and ex­er­cise even­tu­ally got rid of John’s diabetes and heart disease, his son said, and he went from 26 med­i­ca­tions down to only three. He now rides his bike be­tween 6 and 20 miles a day.

Cowdell’s main ad­vice to some­one want­ing to get health­ier is to make a lifestyle change. Move­ment, hy­dra­tion and get­ting ad­e­quate sleep is im­por­tant, he said. Get rid of the non­sense TV, junk food, eat­ing out, and seden­tary lifestyle, and get out­side in­stead.

Ginger cred­its Cowdell’s train­ing and per­sonal ap­proach with chang­ing her and her hus­band’s health and fitness.

“I can’t say enough about him,” she said. “He is fan­tas­tic. He can re­ally help peo­ple make a dif­fer­ence in their lives.”

NEWS-SEN­TINEL PHO­TOGRAPHS BY BEA AH­BECK

Ginger and David Chap­pell work out with per­sonal trainer Shawn Cowdell (not pic­tured) at Riz­ing Fitness in Lodi on July 11. Cowdell de­signed a per­son­al­ized cou­ple’s work­out for them, in­volv­ing func­tional move­ments de­signed to build mus­cles and im­prove range of mo­tion.

Per­sonal trainer Shawn Cowdell helps Ginger Chap­pell at Riz­ing Fitness in Lodi on July 11.

NEWS-SEN­TINEL PHO­TOGRAPHS BY BEA AH­BECK

Per­sonal trainer Shawn Cowdell, right, works with Ginger Chap­pell at Riz­ing Fitness in Lodi on July 11.

Per­sonal trainer Shawn Cowdell, left, works with David Chap­pell at Riz­ing Fitness in Lodi on July 11.

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