Category Archives: personal trainer

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.

SUCCESS Story: Charmaine Niebergall’s Mental & Physical Transformation

Charmaine and I met in December of 2014 and shortly after that, she started training with me. She was looking for a trainer who would become a positive influence in her life.

When I met her, she said that she had the opportunity to see how I treat other clients  and believed that we would be a good fit together as trainer and client.

She noticed I had a special promotion going, called Get Fit & Win $1000 and was one of the first 6 people who joined.

The more I worked with her, the more I realized we were becoming friends as well.

I always treat people the way I like to be treated so I feel honored that Charmaine made the decision to join my “fit family”. 🙂

After 3 months of training with me, Charmaine says that what she has achieved is far more valuable than just quickly losing 20 lbs and bench pressing 250 lbs.


Above: That moment when Charmaine posted this amazing comment after seeing me on Shaw TV chatting about fitness and running.

Here is what Charmaine had to say about her experience with me as a trainer. I had tears in my eyes when I originally read this:

“Yana helped me to gain great strength, both physically and mentally. Yana pushed me past points I thought I could not go.

She encouraged me to keep going with positive, fun and even whimsical encouragements.


Above: Charmaine’s before & after, taken in the same location, at the same place with the same camera phone.

She respected when I was not having a day that I could push hard, but also intuitively challenged me on days when she just knew that I could. She made me laugh, she made me teary eyed, she made me excited, pumped and supported.

What are a few of the things Yana has helped me to accomplish physically?
I can do 30 pushups, where I couldn’t do a single one before.
I can do 101 sets of stairs, carrying 20lbs worth of weights, where I could only do 12 before.
I can do over 100 squats, where I could do 50 before.
I can go for hikes, where I couldn’t before.

I can balance on a bosu ball, do countless abdominal exercises, and do as many bicep curls as she can. I couldn’t do any of these things before.

What are a few of the things Yana has helped me accomplish mentally?

I can go to the gym and NOT compare myself to others working out, where I couldn’t before.
I can look forward to the gym and exercise in general, where I didn’t before.
I am physically self-confident and feel good naked, where I didn’t before.

Yana has motivated me to continue long-term with regular exercise by making it fun, supportive, realistic, challenging, inspiring, and social, all at once.

I see the gym differently. I see exercise differently. I see myself differently. The money I spent on having Yana as a personal trainer has proven to be absolutely priceless.

I sought out Yana as a trainer because I kept seeing her with clients, of all shapes and sizes and she always had this big smile on her face.

She seemed kind, encouraging, intuitive, genuine and knowledgeable, which she has proven to be, time and time again.


Above: Charmaine’s before & after, taken in the same location, at the same place with the same camera phone.

If you want a trainer who will get you results because she pushes you during your sessions, gives you support and encouragement to do your very best on your own workouts, follows up, follows through, listens, truly cares, and knows how to laugh all while doing it, then Yana Hempler is the trainer for you.

I know she’s the trainer for me.”

In the end, Charmaine ended up taking a close 2nd in the Get Fit & Win $1000 Challenge.

But, most importantly, I’m inspired by the fact that she is continuing with her newly-found healthy lifestyle. She has been able to completely rewire her brain about exercise and she enjoyed the process.

Currently, she steers a dragon boat for the MS Warriors once a week.

She also said that steering the dragon boat is way easier now that she has been training with me. I’m thrilled that she has seen huge improvements from her past two seasons.

I’m very, very, very proud of Charmaine for what she has achieved so far.

Charmaine loves and trusts the process. She is a pleasure and a privilege to work with.

Why Being a Beginner is AWESOME

I wish I had the opportunity to read something like this when I was first starting my fitness journey.

Unfortunately, when I was starting out, I was far too intimidated by nearly everything and that fear kept me from embracing “beginner-hood” for what it should be: the start of something awesome.


What I later found out was that many beginners have the same fears.

They fear being judged by their more advanced counterparts, they are afraid of looking like an idiot and they spend a lot of their energy focusing on “not being good enough” compared to others.

If you’re a beginner and are just starting your fitness journey, I’m really glad that you found your way here.

You should never feel bad about being a beginner because you are starting an amazing, life-changing journey which will ultimately lead you to become a happier, stronger and healthier version of yourself.

Don’t be ashamed of not being fast enough or strong enough yet.

If you genuinely enjoy the activity that you’re doing, then your gains will be inevitable over time. If you love the activity, even if you’re not that great at it yet, your enthusiasm weighs more than actual skill.

In every enthusiastic beginner, I see a potential future expert.

It’s inspiring to watch beginners achieve significant improvements over time.

The real truth is, your more advanced counterparts are not judging you in a negative way. In fact, they are thrilled that another amazing person (like you) is also sharing the joyful experience with them.

Those who aren’t thrilled by your presence are most likely too focused upon themselves to notice you, let alone judge you.

When you’re a beginner, you have unlimited potential to take your chosen activity to a whole new level.

You haven’t been at it long enough to develop bad habits (such as bad form). If you have developed bad habits, then you haven’t been at it long enough to get them permanently engrained into you.

As a beginner, the road to excellence in your chosen activity is wide open for you as long as you love what you are doing, are open to learning and don’t let the fear of “not being good enough” keep you from continuing.

Every expert that you encounter did not magically get there as a result of genetics and natural talent. The majority started out almost exactly the way you are and they most likely had the same fears as you.

However, deep down they knew what they wanted to achieve and never lost their enthusiasm.

Just like you, they also sometimes felt like they weren’t making any progress and that their efforts were futile.

Through it all, they continued to love the activity and their unstoppable enthusiasm allowed them to emerge victorious.

You, too, can do the same and that is why as a beginner, you should be excited and not embarrassed about being where you are.

Top 10 Weight Loss Secrets

People often ask me: “What’s the secret to losing 20+ lbs and (most importantly) keeping it off?”

Another question that they ask is: “Do I have to run 70+ miles a week and only eat salads to lose weight?”

First, the secret to losing 20 + lbs and keeping it off is no longer a secret and I don’t want it to be. That’s why I want to share these 10 weight loss tips with you.

Second, I have some REALLY great news. No, you don’t have to do endless cardio (if cardio is not your thing) and only eat salads to lose weight. In fact, the answer will surprise you.

These Top 10 Weight Loss Secrets will help you enjoy life while you are in the midst of accomplishing your fitness goals.

After all, if you are not enjoying your life, sooner or later you are going to quit and any progress you make in a short period of time will be nullified.

1. Create a plan. Not having a plan is like traveling to a huge, unfamiliar city without a road map and/or a GPS. You must have a clear idea of where you’re going and how to get there before you start your journey.

2. Be realistic. You will most likely not drop 20 lbs in 1 week in a healthy way without doing anything drastic. Set a safe and realistic goal, such as 1-3 lbs per week (range may vary depending on your starting weight, current activity level, metabolism and genetic factors).

3. Be reasonable with your diet. In fact, don’t diet at all. Don’t cut your daily caloric consumption to less than 1000 calories a day and don’t starve yourself. Eat everything in moderation, rather than completely cutting out food groups. Stay away from fad diets because they don’t work long term. Also, minimize your intake of refined carbohydrates and sugar (ie. pop, candy, etc).

4. Exercise. The act of exercise burns calories. It can help you create that caloric deficit you are looking for, without having to starve yourself. It also builds muscle and more muscle=higher metabolic rate. Exercise=MOVE your body in a way that you enjoy. If you don’t like cardio, do something else. If you don’t like lifting weights, then do other stuff. Just move.

5. Identify your obstacles. Ask yourself-what’s keeping you from reaching your goals? Once you know what your obstacles are, you can focus on eliminating and overcoming them. If you can’t think of any, dig deeper or come to the conclusion that you have nothing stopping you.


Above: Shot by Armando Tura

6. Snack carefully. Look for a snack that has nutritional value, rather than just empty calories. For example, opt for raw almonds rather than a bag of Doritos.

7. Track your progress. Keep a workout log and a food log. Even if you are not seeing immediate weight loss, you will notice that you are getting stronger/feeling healthier overall. This should keep you motivated.

8. The liquid calories are pretty sneaky. Try not to drink anything with calories and if you must-then limit your intake. For example, instead of 6 beers, drink 2 and instead of a large pop at the theater, drink a small one.

9. Eliminate negative influences. Negative influences can come in many forms, from the friends who don’t understand the importance of your goals to your own negative self-talk. Spend more time with positive people who understand and support you. Find people with similar goals and encourage each other to keep going, even when the going gets tough.

10. Reward yourself for a job well done. Celebrate even the small victories. For example, if you make it to the gym at least 3 times a week for a full month, then go and buy yourself that new outfit you’ve been wanting. Remember that a great accomplishment is the sum of small victories repeated day in and day out.

What do you think?

What has been your secret to weight loss?

If you found this article helpful, please pass it on. 🙂


Congratulations, Robert Bailey! Another Client Success Story :)

I’m extremely excited to share Robert’s success story with you!

Rob has shown tremendous improvements ever since I first met him back in January 2014.

Ever since we first met, I knew he was a winner.

Rob has always been willing to work hard during my sessions. He told me that he wants to be challenged during his workouts. I promised to do exactly that…

At the start of his first session, he said something along the lines of: “I want to be pushed very hard.” With that in mind, I gave him a fairly advanced, yet safe workout.

Compared to what he is capable of now, his first workout would be considered “super easy”.

After his first session, Rob told me that he almost threw up and that it’s exactly the kind of workout that he is looking for. I’m very good at establishing people’s current limits. (I also knew that Rob is a healthy person, which is very important to take into consideration before deciding how hard to “push” him.)

The second session was equally as challenging. At one point, he told me that he felt like he was going to pass out.

However, he did not give up.

Fast forward to a few sessions later…Rob was asking me for more and more challenging workouts.

At that point, I knew he was ready for some amazing personal bests and I wasn’t afraid to test him.

When Rob first did the 1 mile run challenge, he was excited to get 7:11. About a month and a half later, he broke 6 minutes and ran a personal best of 5:44, which qualified him for the $20 cash bonus (it was a promotion that I was doing to reward my clients for their hard work). That’s approximately a 20% improvement in a relatively short amount of time.

Shortly thereafter, Rob moved on to the wall sit challenge. When I first had him try it, he made it just a little over 2 minutes. A few weeks later, he made it over 6 minutes and earned another $20 cash bonus to add to his collection. Most recently, Rob lasted over 9 minutes in a wall sit. He improved by a REMARKABLE ~450%!!


Above: Rob & I after he won one of the first $20 cash bonuses.

We continued to focus on strength, endurance and speed. Later, I told him about the 3 minute push-up challenge and he gave it a try.

The first time he tried it, he got 68 pushups in 3 minutes, which I thought was pretty decent.

However, I KNEW he was capable of more. Therefore, when he did 122 pushups in 3 minutes about 5 weeks after he was first introduced to that challenge, I wasn’t surprised. He nearly doubled the amount of pushups that he started with.



Above: Rob & I after he got the $20 bonus for doing 122 pushups in 3 min.

To date, Rob also improved his bench press from 165 lbs to 205lbs.

In addition to doubling almost everything else he lifts, he was also the first of my clients to take on the 10 sets of stairs & 20 pushups x 10 challenge (100 sets of stairs and 200 pushups total). He completed it and, in my opinion, made it look pretty easy.

Rob has been making amazing progress over the past several months and he continues to inspire me with his determination, drive and “can do” attitude.

Here’s what he had to say about his journey with me so far:

“Before my first session with Yana, I was a bit skeptical about working with a personal trainer. In the past, I had experience with a few different trainers, however, I always left dissatisfied, knowing that I could have pushed myself harder. Don’t let her small size fool you-Yana is a giant ball of muscly energy. Because my physical condition wasn’t what it is now, after the first session, I almost puked. After the second session, I almost passed out. After the 30th session, I set 3 personal records in one week, including running a sub-6 min mile and 122 pushups in 3 minutes.

Yana has helped me overcome my mental barrier to success, helped me achieve physical feats I never thought were possible, and manages to do it all while making me laugh.

I cannot wait to continue my growth in the future!”

Thank you, Rob, for having me be a part of your story. You are a pleasure to work with and I know that many more personal bests and stellar achievements await you in the future.

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