O'Connell Extreme Fitness Part Two - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

O'Connell Extreme Fitness Part Two

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Russ O'Connell designed O'Connell Extreme Fitness classes to be hard--but not so difficult that it would discourage people from coming back.

Mandie Stepp, a wife and thirty something mother of two from Oelwein--and Travis Fleshner, a husband and thirty something father of two from La Porte City are typical of the OXF'ers.

Mandie travels from Oelwein at 4:40 every morning to get in her extreme workout before going to work at Viking Pump. Mandie who juggles a very active life with work and family--says the OXF class pushes her do things--she couldn't do by herself.

Mandie Stepp

"I kept trying to work out on my own-- have all the equipment in my basement--never had the motivation to follow thru--but this class pushes you...."

Travis Fleshner

" FOR ME TO GET UP AT 4:30 IN THE MORNING... MY WIFE EVEN SAID YOU MUST REALLY LIKE THAT CLASS BECAUSE YOU'RE UP AS SOON AS THE ALARM CLOCK GOES OFF."

Travis Fleshner is in constant motion--- Fleshner is the High School principal at Union Community. Travis also serves his country as a 20 year veteran of the Army Reserve--doing a tour of duty in Iraq. Two decades since he played quarterback for the legendary North Fayette head coach Ron Wymer-- Fleshner still promotes health and fitness.

¤Travis Fleshner ""GOOD FOR PERSONAL HEALTH--- BEING HERE AT THE SCHOOL AND SEEING THINGS LIKE CHILDHOOD OBESITY-- IT'S A LOT OF POSITIVE ROLE MODELING THAT NEEDS TO BE GOING ON."

Diane Craig and Susan Rogers are both role models for it never being too late for fitness. The closest Diane and Susan came to athletics in school was cheerleading.

But around the GYM--- Craig and Rogers are known as OXF warriors--completing their third 12 week program.

¤Susan Rogers "

"When I first started the class--It had been a year since I excersised and I thought oh boy I am in the wrong class....but I'm not a quitter--and I kept pushing myself"

At fifty plus-- Diane or "D" is in better physical condition than women half her age. For "D"--it was the failing health of loved ones that motivated her to make the gym a regular stop.

Diane Craig

" I had a brother that just recently passed a couple of months ago at fifty-- he had diabetes, asthma weight was a big part of it-- plus my family has history of diabetes some cancer and heart disease."

"it's become a part of a mindset to do this for my overall health... "

At 38, Mike Powell has taken his fitness to another level. A former wrestler at La Porte City High school and Wartburg College-- in the past four years-- Powell has gone from a regular beer drinker and cigar smoker to a surpremely conditioned Mixed Martial Arts fighter. Training under Russ O'Connell-- Mike has won his first ten fights.

While the fighting may be another extreme-- Powell says the fitness training is important.

Mike Powell

"YOU NEED TO EAT HEALTHY--YOU NEED TO DO SOMETHING OF A PHYSCIAL NATURE IF NOT FOR YOURSELF--THEN FOR THE ONES YOU LOVE..THAT'S HOW I CAME BACK INTO IT ABOUT FIVE YEARS AGO. SOMEBODY PUSHED ME I WAS DEFINITELY NOT THE MOST FIT OR HEALTHY PERSON..GOD BLESS THEM FOR GETTING ME THERE AND I'VE NEVER LOOKED BACK.."

During the time Mike Powell was re-discovering physical fitness--his older brother Scott was finding out something far more serious. That he had kidney cancer.

Scott Powell

"IT HAPPENED PRETTY QUICK I WAS BEING TESTED TO SEE IF I COULD BE A DONOR FOR MY FATHER--WHO HAD KIDNEY FAILURE DUE TO DIABETES--THEY CALLED ME BACK A COUPLE OF DAYS LATER AND SAID WE HAVE BAD NEWS AND BAD NEWS. I CAN'T BE A DONOR AND I HAVE A MASS ON MY KIDNEY."

Scott survived the cancer--but the 21 year Army veteran lost years of physical activity because of the pain involved with the recovery from the surgery. Scott believes the O'Connell Extreme Fitness Class has actually cured some of his physical problems.

Scott Powell

"FOR A LONG TIME I COULDN'T DO ANYTHING--I HAD TERRIBLE SPASMS ON MY SIDE FROM THE ADHESIONS WHERE THEY STAPLED THE MUSCLE BACK TOGETHER-- I THINK THIS ACTIVITY IN HERE HAS LOOSENED THOSE ADHESIONS AND I FEEL QUITE A BIT BETTER THAN I EVER HAVE."

"I HAVE THREE YOUNG CHILDREN AND I WOULD LIKE TO BE AROUND FOR THEM-- MY HEALTH IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME AND MY FAMILY.."

For most of us who endure the hour long intense regimen--it is for personal fitness goals--to lose a few pounds or put on a little muscle. But to keep us coming back every morning--there has to be a lot more-- Marty Timson a single mother of three sons hasn't missed a single class-- She Believes It's her chance to make an impact on the ones she loves.

Marty Timson

"At some point you have to realize this moment matters and that they are watching what you are doing and they recognize its important for me to take care of myself and I'm showing them it's important to take care of your body."

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