Monthly Archives: January 2016

SUCCESS STORY: Jerry Hughes’ SECRET to Sub 40 min 10k and Much More

A little over a year ago (December 2014), Jerry Hughes hired me to be his running coach. It all started because I had a Christmas special on my “fly solo” online training plans. When we first started working together, we have only met each other once or twice in person before that.

What’s amazing is that after about a week or two of following my running program, Jerry bought a training package with me for his wife. To me, this meant a lot because he originally started out as an online client and he trusted me with his family after such a short time of knowing each other.

I knew that Jerry, just like the clients before him, would improve significantly as a result of my training plan. I predicted that he would be a lot faster.

Prior to starting his training program with me, Jerry’s best 10k time was 44:53 at the 2014 TC 10k in April and best half marathon time was 1:36:12 at the Goodlife Fitness Half Marathon on October 12, 2014.

When he started training with me, he was just getting over a few injuries that kept him from running  to his full potential, which at the time, neither of us were fully aware of.

The one thing I knew about Jerry is that he works very hard, he’s not afraid to ask questions and he knows how to follow instructions. That, to me, is a prerequisite to success.

Jerr Hughes and Yana at Mile O after completing their 63km run fior the Help Fill a Dream Foundation. Photo by Ian Simspon

Jerry Hughes and Yana at Mile O after completing their 63km run for the Help Fill a Dream Foundation.
Photo by Ian Simpson.

Fast forward to April 26, 2015, which is about 4 months after he started training with me. Jerry ran his first ever sub 40 min 10k, finishing the TC10k in 39:41. At that moment, I knew that bigger personal victories are ahead of him.

Shortly thereafter, Jerry ran a half marathon personal best of 1:27:45, which is over 8 minutes faster than his previous best time. JerryHughesHaldMarathonPB2015

As we continued to work together, his list of accomplishments continued to grow exponentially.

Together, we have raised thousands of dollars for Help Fill a Dream Foundation.

Help Fill A Dream is an immediately responsive charitable foundation based in Victoria, British Columbia. They provide hope, help and happiness for Vancouver Island children under the age of 19 with life-threatening conditions by fulfilling their dreams, improving their quality of life and assisting their families with care and financial support.

We also ran from Duncan to Victoria together in order to raise funds and awareness for Help Fill a Dream Foundation.

I witnessed him come within 2 minutes of qualifying for the coveted Boston Marathon. Jerry ran his first ever marathon in 3:11:48, which is a significantly faster pace per km than he used to do for his 10k.

Most recently, he has been achieving one personal best after another in all distances across the board. His new 10k PB is 38:46.


Above: Jerry on his way to a new 10k personal best. Photo by Lois DeEll

His 10k time is now officially ~6 minutes faster than it was when he started training with me. This equates to about a 40 second per km improvement as a result of my training and his continuous dedication and commitment to excellence.

Jerry’s story is very remarkable in that he takes away all the excuses people make when it comes to working out. On average, he works over 60 hours a week. He works as a chef, which means that he spends his entire work day on his feet. Not only that, but he and his wife also have 2 young kids.

However, that’s not all he had to overcome to get to where he is. Jerry was born with a rare aggressive genetic disorder called Gardner’s Syndrome. When not diagnosed early enough, the prognosis is not very good. It claimed Jerry’s dad’s life when he was very young.

Despite all the challenges that Jerry was facing, his results speak for themselves. He never ever complained and he always put in the work that I told him to do. Jerry had every reason to make excuses, but he never ever did.

I created a plan that was tailored to his work schedule and circumstances and it worked.

What was his secret? It was a combination of a proper training plan and a genuine desire to achieve his goals no matter what curveballs life throws at him. He persevered in times when other people would have given up.

This is what Jerry had to say about our journey so far:

“Rarely in life do you meet someone that will change the course of your life forever. That day happened to me when by chance I saw a running coach that was super passionate about training runners. That was Yana Hempler. She was the first person that really believed in my abilities. Her encouragement and programs have changed me and inspired me to follow my dreams. I’m now able to talk in front of people live or in front of the camera. We have done charity work together and will continue to do so forever. There have been so many things I have accomplished due to her training from climbing 40,000 stairs, ultra marathon 55km, 12000 ft elevation, 2 marathons. One of the marathons I did was 8 days after doing the 40,000 stair challenge. Participating in Yana’s program has really changed me. My future with running has evolved into crazy marathons, ultras, and biking all to raise awareness for Gardner’s Syndrome and conquering cancer. I really believe if I never met her none of this would have happened. Thank you, Yana Hempler.”


I’m extremely proud of everything that he has accomplished so far. It has been amazing to watch him develop into a confident individual who thrives on public speaking and inspires many to follow their dreams. Jerry’s dedication, hard work and persistence deserves to be recognized.

People often say that the trainer inspires the client. That’s not always a one-way street. Jerry inspires me in more ways than I can express in this post.

From the bottom of my heart, Jerry, thank you for trusting me to be a part of your journey and I look forward to seeing what you will do next.

Want to achieve amazing results too? Let’s connect and I will help you get there.

SUCCESS STORY: Duane Mundy completes Spartan BEAST and much more

When I first met Duane, he told me about how he wanted to complete the 20km+ Spartan BEAST obstacle course race, which, in addition to being super long, also has 26 challenging obstacles.

Duane’s biggest barrier to achieving his fitness goal was his knee injury, which resulted in weight gain and a decreased level of cardiovascular fitness.

Now, as a runner, all I can think about is how important it is to take care of the knees.


Above: Duane’s before picture, side shot.

I made it my mission to help him complete the obstacle course race. I knew that weight loss would be a by-product of the training rather than the sole focus. This ensures he enjoys the process, which will in turn lead to results.


Above: Another before photo. Front shot.

First, we did a lot of rowing and elliptical training. Both rowing and elliptical training help improve cardio while minimizing impact on the knee joint. Man, those were tough. I kept on pushing him to go faster and week after week he continuously set new records for himself.

After a while, we were primarily focusing on improving upper body, glute and core strength. All of the aforementioned would help him perform better in the Spartan Beast race.

Additionally, we worked on pushups and pullups. When he first started training with me, he managed to do 34 pushups in 3 minutes. By the time he completed his training program with me, he was doing over 100 pushups in 3 minutes. Not only that, but he also learned how to properly do pullups.

Duane’s glute and core strength improved significantly and his knee also started to feel better. We also worked on stretching his tight muscles, particularly the hip flexors and hamstrings.

When he completed the Spartan Beast Obstacle course race, I was so happy to get the good news.


Above: Duane post-race proudly showing his finisher medal and Spartan Beast swag package. He sent me this photo along with a text that said “Thank you, Yana! I couldn’t have done it without you.” It truly meant a lot to me. 

When we first met, it was overwhelming to think that doing a 20km+ obstacle course is possible, especially because he hasn’t done any running due to his knee injury.

I was overwhelmed with joy when he overcame his challenge and not just survived that obstacle course, but thrived.

Here is what Duane had to say about his fitness journey with me:

“About 6 months ago, a friend of mine told me about Yana and how Yana had helped her reach her goals. I had seen Yana at the gym on numerous occasions and took notice, not only of her chiseled physique, her smiling face and contagious laughter, but more importantly, to me, I noticed how focused Yana was on her clients. I met with Yana and we struck a deal to work on my physique and prepare me for a 20km+ Spartan Beast Obstacle Course in September 2015. Due to a knee injury, I had stopped exercising and managed to gain a few pounds around my midsection as well as deteriorated my cardio fitness. Yana provided me with various exercises and techniques which allowed me to exercise without aggravating or causing further injury to my knee. After 12 sessions with Yana, although gruelling and limit pushing, not only did I lose weight and inches, my cardio increased an amazing amount and I felt FANTASTIC!! I had so much fun with Yana that I looked forward to every session and completed the Sun Peaks Beast Spartan Race with loads of energy and pep leftover afterwards. I continued my training with Yana until I had to relocate for work in January. Thank you, Yana, for your inspiration, motivation and for inviting me and your other clients to your ab-aliscious and stair-aliscious fitness parties!!”  

I thoroughly enjoyed watching him achieve various milestones throughout his fitness journey. He was able to do all the things that he didn’t think were possible. Most importantly, he had fun during the entire process.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Duane for allowing me to be a part of his journey and for giving me permission to share this story.

Wishing Duane continued success, health and wellness as he embarks on a new journey in a new city.

If Duane’s story inspired you, I can help you achieve your goals too.

SUCCESS STORY: Charmaine Niebergall Achieves New Fitness Goals!

You may have previously read about Charmaine’s transformation when I finished the first round of the Get Fit & Win $1,000 Challenge, where she came in close 2nd.

Charmaine believed that the value she received from participating in the challenge the first time warranted her to sign up for it again.

I was honoured (and surprised) to hear that she canceled her travel plans to Hawaii in order to focus on achieving her fitness goals and to save money to be able to invest into training with me. It genuinely means a lot because I view foregoing a nice (and well-deserved) vacation as a sacrifice.

Charmaine made a sacrifice in order to keep herself on track with her fitness goals. I have a huge amount of respect for her dedication. Despite facing some financial challenges, Charmaine still made it happen because she believed that training with me is a long-term investment into her future and her health.


Above: Charmaine and I after she completed yet another personal milestone on the stairs 🙂

This is what Charmaine had to say about her experience in the 2nd round of my Get Fit & Win $1000 Challenge:

“Due to financial constraints, I had to fundraise in order to afford the cost to participate in this 2nd round of the Fitness Challenge, but it was important to me to do it again because I knew that Yana’s proven support was what I needed to keep reaching my fitness goals.

Yana does not just support me with pushing past my perceived physical limits, or making me see that I can do things I never thought I could, or help me safely manage injuries and limitations while motivating me, but she does all that while helping to support me with the biggest barriers to fitness excellence: psychological barriers.

Yana supports me to really allow myself to ENJOY my workouts (she laughs and she smiles and yells “fitness party” all the time!); she helps me to stop worrying about how EVERYONE ELSE looks (she focuses on my good physical features and tells me about it); and she focuses on how I am reaching amazing accomplishments by reaching MY personal bests, not everyone else’s.

While I’m proud that I can now do 21 push-ups (properly!), complete nearly 100 sets of stairs with 20lbs. worth of weights, 151 sets of stairs without weights, box and kickbox (a true dream come true, with a pretty solid roundhouse and a left hook!), or how my glutes are now strong and support my week hip joints (my physiotherapist is glad for that!), or how I’m 6 lbs lighter, or how my biceps are bigger, my triceps are tighter, my tummy is smaller and my back is more defined; the true accomplishment to me is that I spend most of my day at work looking forward to getting to the gym, and I now miss working out, exercising, moving my body (be it the gym, or a run, or kickboxing) with even just ONE day of rest.

I’m not the lightest I have ever weighed, and I can’t run the farthest I have ever run, but Yana has taught me how to set, meet and exceed my own ever-changing fitness goals by pushing me psychologically, emotionally and dare I say spiritually, to feel accomplished, healthy, fit and happy.”

It was extremely exciting to see Charmaine continuously set new personal records. The most important thing is that she is focused on functional strength rather than vanity. Charmaine has developed a healthy attitude towards fitness and for that I’m very proud of her.

We did a variety of exercises to help her overcome her injuries and finish the challenge while at the same time setting new and bigger goals for herself.


I started this challenge as a way to help my clients reframe their thinking around fitness and what it represents to them. Not everyone wants to just lose weight and not everyone wants to get six pack abs.

At the end of the day, everyone who finished the challenge and stuck with it is a winner, regardless of who will actually take home the prize money and who was selected to be a finalist.

Charmaine has transformed both physically and mentally. She is becoming very strong.

I’m so happy that I’ve been able to help her achieve her fitness goals while working through past injuries and past mental barriers.

Now, she also does kickboxing, running, and so much more. Charmaine now enjoys exercise and has truly made a lifelong commitment to health and fitness.

They say that consistency is the key to success. I genuinely believe that’s true. It’s one thing to show a client some good exercises, but it’s another to help the client reframe their thoughts about exercise and facilitate adherence to the program.

Adherence to the program is where the real progress is made. Charmaine has done that.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Charmaine for allowing me to be a part of her journey and for letting me share this story with you. It truly is an honour and a pleasure.


Do you want to change your life too? Want to reframe your thinking around exercise? Contact me and let’s get started.

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