The beginning of December brought an exciting new partnership to the Steel City when Pittsburgh Penguins Strength and Conditioning Coach, Mike Kadar introduced his new piece of workout equipment, Core Stix to Black n Gold Girls co- founder Cassandra Buncie who immediately wanted to build a challenge incorporating members of her now 55,000 female fan network to this unique, full body workout.  Together Mike and Cassandra identified local certified personal trainer Jennifer Hoffman as the person to develop and oversee the 12 week endeavor, all that was missing was the ideal location to host the 8 member challenge.

In a chance meeting, Cassandra met beloved Pittsburgh Anchorwoman Darieth Chisolm who also is the owner/ operator of Fullbody Fitness Club located in Brentwood. Darieth has a passion for total body workouts utilizing nontraditional equipment. Fullbody Fitness Club is currently the ONLY place in the City to offer Aerial Yoga, and Yukari Fit to Fly and Fit to Flex systems and now Fullbody Fitness Club is the EXCLUSIVE studio for Core Stix.

“Meeting Darieth was truly a God-send. Her philosophy on health and wellness and willingness to offer a space for the challenge was amazing,” says Cassandra Buncie. “I was floored when she not only offered her space, but said that she wanted to participate in the challenge itself.”

The 12 Week Challenge began on Monday, December 6th and continued with 8 members of the Black n Gold Girls through February. Participants such as Carrie Krosse said upon seeing Core Stix for the first time, “I was slightly intimidated. Lots of big equipment, sticks, wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do it.” But after only one workout she praised Core Stix, “I thought all that equipment would take at least a week to get used to, and probably came with a 20 page manual. But to my surprise, 10 minutes in I was feeling very confident and was amazed at how easy it was.”  She continues “I am also excited to start working out with a group of people again. I have been on my own for the last several months and it is really easy for me to tell myself ‘you did enough’ or simply not give a workout my all. I am hoping that as we continue, we can all lean on each other for support and motivation”.

Long time fitness instructor and workout veteran, Heather Rosemeier decided to participate in the Challenge on a whim. “My initial impression was that it looked interesting, but I will probably get bored quickly. I liked the idea of resistance training and using the entire body for a workout. I also thought the Stix may be a nuisance to change around.” A few weeks into the Challenge however, Heather is a believer, “Core Stix helps me to have more accurate form. This provides me with a very effective workout. I also love working the entire body every day and feeling very energized right after and throughout the week. Plus, the equipment is easier to use the more often I work with it.” Heather continues, “I think it has also been really fun for me to be on the student side of the class rather than the instructor. I have been able to really get to know the other challengers and that for me is a huge part of this process.”

Two men, both former dancers, are participating in the challenge. Matt Alessi and Brian O’Malley were both looking for something to get them re-motivated to achieve some healthier goals. And both are happy to have found Core Stix. Brian reflects “initially was blown away by the intensity of the workout!  I love that I get a full body workout without having to travel around a gym finding ten different machines to use! The only thing to do is move the Stix which is great, don’t have to break my back moving heavy equipment around!”  Matt also observes, “Working out together has allowed me to learn more about working within a group. At first it was a little overwhelming getting to know all of the personalities in the room, but over the last couple of weeks, I have seen how each uniquely plays a part in contributing to the overall success.”

Even though we began the Challenge as strangers, after a very short time, we became a workout family! We all knew that simply being there mattered. It mattered personally, to the trainer and to the group.

We started a closed group on Facebook and started to talk about how we felt once we left the gym, swap recipes, share motivational photos and more. Encouraging each other became as big a part of our process as the workout themselves.  We all looked forward to even grabbing a post workout cup of coffee to spend even more time together.

The 12 Week Challenge ended on Thursday, February 28, 2013 and our results were impressive. The combined weight loss was 21lbs. The total amount of inches lost was a remarkable 46.5 inches with 19.75 inches lost from our waists.  All of us saw overall body losses in inches and we all reshaped our bodies to some degree. More than anything we all just felt better and experienced- more restful sleep, improved balance, general improvements in our quality of life, and overall well- being.

Being together in a safe space with a dedicated trainer made our results happen. The 12 Week Challenge changed our lives and left a lasting impression on not only our bodies but our hearts and spirits as well. We have remained in touch with one another and I am happy to say that I believe we have made lasting changes personally and friendships because of our experience with Core Stix at Fullbody Fitness Club.