I cannot stress how much I HATE running! HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE it!! I hate dodging dog poop on the sidewalk and I also think running is totally boring. Maybe I should have prefaced those statements with, “I hate almost anything that makes me break a sweat.”

When Ralph approached me to try out their personal training in exchange for some of my writing expertise, I thought, well what the hell...if I don’t get any results I won’t be out anything except for my time.

I’d also been paying for a gym membership since December and hadn’t been able to get into a routine and wasn’t seeing results because I was only going once a week, IF that. And, when I did make it to the gym, as soon as it started to get hard, I’d just move on to the next machine. (My boyfriend likes to say “Leah doesn’t like to do things that suck!)

Training with Ralph forced me to get into a routine, but since they work around my schedule, it’s not a hard routine to stick to. He came up with a custom workout plan that has not only started fixing imbalances in my body (one hip is higher than the other and I have a pretty weak lower back), but we set milestones that I’ve been reaching gradually as our workouts progress.

I shouldn’t have been worried about not seeing results. Less than four weeks into my training, I can run almost 2 miles, when I couldn’t even run half of one during my first session without my chest feeling like it was going to explode! I have tons more energy, and my body feels noticeably firmer.

Ralph is a great trainer (and very patient) and I recommend Ralph to anyone who has trouble committing to a workout routine or who wants someone to help them come up with an exercise and nutritional plan that they can stick to for a lifetime, not just for beach season!

(UPDATE)
Sadly, Ralph (the owner) moved back to New Zealand. I’m sorry you’ll all have to miss out on his personal training skills because he was one of the best trainers I’ve ever had. In fact, since he left I haven’t been able to get back to the shape I was in while training with Ralph!
— Leah Pogliana, Chicago IL, USA, 2009
Working out since college has been more difficult to make time for so I lost interest and confidence in the gym. I decided I needed an outside force to make me get back into it - and Ralph was the best solution. Coming into it without working out for over a year, I definitely was out-of-shape. Ralph didn’t make me feel embarrassed about it and was clear about realistic goals and timing. I appreciate that he isn’t just all about cardio or strength training- he values and teaches on flexibility, joint mobility, posture, and even nutrition. He thoroughly explains why we do what we do - I know more about how my muscles work, what a stretch should be doing and how to complement exercises than I ever learned in health, science or gym classes. This comprehensive approach is exactly what I needed to understand and value the importance of taking care of myself. I’ve already seen great results in my energy, sleep, posture, strength and have lost several inches! I also realized I was doing several things incorrectly (including the basics like sit-ups and curls), and now notice when others are doing the same thing in the gym. Make an investment in your health and get on the right track with Ralph. I highly recommend them and look forward to reaching more of my goals just in time for swimsuit weather.
— Jessica Reid, Chicago IL, USA, 2012
With good humor, good information and a comfortable manner that constantly challenges you to be better, Ralph has been an inspiring trainer. He met me where I was and never wasted a minute by making the workouts challenging but safe. After more than a year of working with Ralph, I not only have a realistic exercise regimen but a new lifestyle — one that has trickled down to my whole family.
As a result of Ralph’s help, I have dropped more than 20 pounds, completed two marathons and most important, feel that I am now better prepared to meet the second half of my life armed with good health and good habits.
My workouts, which include yoga, running and strength training are interesting and challenging. And the three of us — my two sons and me — are all eating better and exercising regularly with an understanding of how crucial both are to maintaining good physical and mental health.
All of it has given me a newfound confidence. I am so grateful to Ralph. It is not an overstatement to say he has changed my life for the better.”
— Susy Schultz, Chicago IL, USA, 2013
I’m on my way to being in the best shape of my life, thanks to Ralph!

In preparation for my November wedding, I’ve committed to getting in shape and actually following a workout routine. Working with Ralph has been such an eye opening experience.

I’ve always been an active person, but never had any personalized training programs. I’ve recently realized that I’ve been doing sit ups and push ups incorrectly for years. After only a few sessions with Ralph, I now know how to properly do these exercises and also know which muscle groups I should be focusing on.

Ralph’s attention to detail separates him from your typical trainer. Rather than just recommending specific exercises, Ralph takes the time to make sure you are performing each exercise correctly in order to get the results you’re looking for out of your personalized workout.

I would highly recommend Ralph for anyone looking for an quality and affordable personal trainer. You won’t be disappointed!
— Michelle Salzmann, Oak Park IL, 2011, 2010
I am not a gusher, but Ralph is just about as good as it gets. Here is a list of things I love about working out with Ralph:

1. Flexibility - My job is demanding, and I can’t always make our sessions. Ralph is always understanding about this and works around my schedule so that we can meet as my schedule permits.

2. Quality - First, our sessions are great. I always feel like I’ve gotten a great workout and have learned some valuable health/fitness info to boot. On top of that, Ralph often goes above and beyond by sending me personalized tips and supplements to whatever we’re focusing on at the moment. He takes note of certain issues with respect to my balance, stability, flexibility, strength, etc. and adjusts our exercise routine going forward accordingly.

3. Affordability - Unfortunately I’m locked into a gym membership that is not cheap, so money is an issue. Ralph is not only affordable, he’s a GREAT deal given my comments above, especially compared to similar offerings through a gym or other trainers.

4. General Awesomeness - Physically, I can see a significant difference in my body compared to before I started working out with Ralph. That’s saying something, considering I have been a consistent runner since college and was in pretty decent shape beforehand. Mentally, the cathartic effect of our sessions is my favorite result and the best compliment I could give Ralph. Afterward I always feel more relaxed and less anxious about everything.

All this is to say that I give Ralph my highest recommendation!!!
— Emily Harring, Chicago IL, USA, 2009
I started working with Ralph to manage my chronic lower back pain, and I have found it to be very beneficial. Ralph has been great to work with- he always has a positive attitude, and he has pushed me to work harder while still being sensitive to my back problems. As I increased my fitness level, Raph modified the training program so that it was consistently challenging. I have seen a significant improvement in my flexibility and strength as well as a reduction in my lower back pain.
— Allison Ross, Chicago IL, USA
Having previously been an elite athlete in the New Zealand Olympic Rowing program, I always thought, “I know what to do,” and would develop a program for myself, but would not see the desired results. In short, Ralph helped me come up with a plan that involved training less but achieving more, which is more in line with the way I currently live now that I’m married, a new dad and have a career in real estate.
— Foss Shanahan, Christchurch, New Zealand
From my first session with Ralph, he listened to what I wanted to achieve and made my fitness program fit accordingly. He pushed me further than I thought I could go, gave me the results I wanted—toning, strength and fitness—and never once did I feel bored. Since training with Ralph I have also run my first marathon!
— Tanya Woodward, Christchurch, New Zealand
Almost a year ago I contacted Ralph - I was unfit and found it hard to get motivated to exercise regularly. Now, instead of something I should do, my training sessions are something I look forward to and get a great sense of achievement from. It is fun, personal and most importantly, I can see and feel how my body is changing for the better. Ralph has worked out a program suited to my specific needs and goals and keeps adding to it as I progress. He has also helped me with nutritional advice and guidance on my independent exercise session to keep me motivated.
Although I still have some way to go in achieving my goals, I am stronger, fitter and in the best shape I have ever been!
— Laverne Thompson, Oak Park IL, USA
Ralph designed a program suited to me and my capabilities. These were always challenging but varied enough to keep me interested! I was shown how to strengthen my lower back and gained core stability which enabled me to progress onto more demanding exercises.
Another highlight was reaching my goal weight. After much guidance from Ralph—food diaries, boxing, weight training, etc, I feel fantastic.
I would thoroughly recommend Ralph as a trainer. It was all worth it!
— Judy Stewart, Christchurch, New Zealand