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Darren the Professional — I remember after our initial meeting I left with a confidence that you were the right person to work with. We spent a long time (longer than the allotted time i remember) discussing what my goals were and what challenges I’d faced in the past reaching them. You talked about your approach to training and how you worked with your clients. You didn’t promise success but did promise that you would partner with me to achieve success to the extent that I was committed to success. It let me know that if i wanted real and sustained change I had to actually work at it outside of the training session. When I trained in the past, I thought my job was to do the session and success would follow. You made me see that I had a bigger role to play than that.
Darren the Coach — We started with both fitness and diet. You didn’t let me stay there but made small changes over time, especially to my diet. You worked to find the ways to introduce the right habits into my lifestyle. The cooking sessions really helped. You helped me find ways to eat properly and foods that I’d like. You introduced ways that i could do the prep required to eat properly. I noticed the gradual way in which you changed the workouts so that before I realized it I was doing exercises that I thought I could never do, like planks.
Darren the Psychologist — We’d been training for a couple of weeks, and I commented on how much I didn’t enjoy working out. You encouraged me to remember why I was doing this and to focus on that. The realization that my attitude was as important to reaching and sustaining my goals as the training itself was revolutionary. I now enjoy working out for its own sake.
Darren the Motivator — Whenever I’m discouraged by a bad eating week or a bad training day you’d mention where I’ve come from and how much progress I’ve already made. You have a confidence that I’ll succeed and that confidence is infectious. I’d see how you’d adapt to find ways to explain new exercises or habits, and to get into my head to figure out what was holding me back. Finally it’s you’re overall attitude. You make working out an enjoyable experience. You don’t ever let me quit. You care about the whole person. You take the time to have a discussion because sometimes training is as much in the head as with the muscles.
~ Brent Knowles, Toronto ONLearn more about coaching with Darren
Darren is the only coach who has made a significant impact on my overall wellbeing. I’ve utilized most of Darren’s services, including personal training, assisted stretching, nutritional advice and meal planning. I have learned the value of integrating healthy choices into my lifestyle thanks to Darren’s wholesome approach to fitness and his philosophy on nutrition.
Practicing being disciplined with my health and myself will help me be disciplined in other areas of my life. And it will help me prioritize myself. I am notorious for always putting others first and I really want to give myself some time and some self-love.
Once you work with Darren I find it’s very difficult to turn anywhere else because he truly is the best. He is highly knowledgable and has provided me with excellent tools to make the maintenance of my fitness and nutritional habits a breeze.
~ Tamara Jacobs
If you’re considering whether you should hire Darren to help you reach your goals. Darren is extremely knowledgeable and skilled as a trainer. He is also very skilled in nutrition and a variety of stretching techniques. But a lot of trainers have those attributes. Let me share my experience so you can understand why I strongly urge you to contact Darren and get started right now.
I began training with Darren about two years ago. In the preceding couple of years I had been training with another trainer and getting good results, having lost 40 pounds, but my trainer was leaving the club.
I’m 5’8″ and when I began with Darren, I weighed about 175 pounds with a body fat percentage in the low 20s. Darren met with me to understand my goals, my personality and me. I wanted to be stronger and not so flabby. He took the time to talk to my previous trainer. He designed a program and we began. Every five or six weeks he would produce a new program, we took measurements and tracked progress.
I was 53 and due to injuries and accumulated mileage, I had (and still have) assorted issues that impact what exercises I can do and how I can do them. Darren took the time to understand those issues. I am one of the most genetically inflexible people on the planet. My shoulders wouldn’t roll back and were being pulled forward by overly strong chest muscles, compared to my upper back. I could barely shoulder press 5-pound dumbbells. Darren addressed these issues, knowing I could greatly improve both my overall flexibility as well as shoulder mobility and strength.
Darren is extremely skilled at assisted stretching and that has become a regular part of my program. My hips, shoulders and back are all much more mobile. I play a lot of tennis and the increased flexibility together with greater strength has made a huge difference in my game.
About a year into working with Darren I put on several pounds of muscle, dropped some fat and was much stronger. It was time for more specific goals. I wanted to weigh the same but reduce my body fat to 12%. I wanted to be a buff 55-year old. I know… vanity. Darren listened, designed the programs and we went to work.
Today (March 2011) I weigh almost the same as I did a year ago. The difference is that I have turned 20-pounds of fat into 24-pounds of muscle.
The numbers also tell the story. These are the weights I was lifting when I began with Darren, compared to today.
Exercise December 2009 =======> January 2011
Dead lift 195 x 10 ============> 245 x 10
Chest press 105 x 10 ==========> 155 x 10
Squat 155 x 10 ==============> 215 x 10
Lat pulldown 85 x 10 =========> Wide-grip body weight Pull-up x 10
Shoulder press 5lbs Dumbbell ===> 135 Barbell press x 10
Along the way I have had the occasional ache and strain. Darren makes it a point to talk to my physiotherapist and RMT, both to help them in treating me and for him to have the benefit of their perspective as we move forward.
Darren has coached and motived me every step of the way. Sometimes with humor, sometimes with a subtle (or not so subtle) psychological push, he keeps me focused and helps me to make progress each workout. His instruction during workouts is clear and never done in a way that is off-putting or embarrassing. He is also perceptive enough to gauge my mood each day and adjust his approach accordingly.
He has the skills, he knows his stuff and he can get you through the hour of training. I have spent many hours with Darren in one-on-one training. It has never dragged. He is an engaging conversationalist and fun to be around. I have also watched him closely with his other clients and he doesn’t treat us in a ‘one size fits all’ manner. Our goals, weaknesses and frailties are unique to each of us. The programs that Darren provides, and the manner in which he deals with each of us, recognize that uniqueness.
It’s time for me to set some new goals. Body fat down to 8%? Bench press 300 pounds? Whatever I decide I know that Darren will be there working as hard as me to help me achieve it. I am eager for the next stage. I haven’t felt this physically strong and well since I was a competitive athlete in university.
~ Ron Walker, March 2011
My main reason for seeking out Darren’s advice is that I was hungry and lacking energy at work. Darren developed an understanding of my lifestyle very quickly.
In recent months my activity levels have at least doubled: I train 2-3 times a week with my team, as well as additional strength and cardio work for independent fitness, plus Saturday game day. It became obvious very quickly that I simply wasn’t feeding my body enough fuel to perform 100% physically and mentally. Who would’ve thought I’d get told to eat *more* food?! But that’s exactly what I needed.
Darren offered suggestions for pre-training snacks, tips for fast recovery, and told me it was ok to eat porridge for breakfast. Legend! Already I notice a huge difference at work — no more droopy-eyes at 3pm — but more importantly, improved performance on court as well. Just a few simple changes but thanks to his probing questions through both email and our Skype chat, he was able to offer specific advice.
~ Amanda Hillock, New Zealand
I am a marathon runner. Actually, to be more accurate, I am a marathon racer. When I had my first assessment with Darren Stehle in the third week of April, I had logged about 500 miles of running in 2006. I had withdrawn from the Boston Marathon and decided to reduce my running workouts indefinitely. I was experiencing intense fatigue in my lower back and I had incurred what I thought was an injury in the form of a pulled muscle in my right adductor.
When I met with Darren, he did a thorough analysis of my posture and flexibility. He was particularly observant of the differences between the two sides of my body. While they are subtle, he could accurately pinpoint the areas that were different and he pieced together, from my personal mosaic, some very accurate ideas about my back and ‘adductor’ issues. (It turned out that I actually had a groin injury, which I wouldn’t have known without Darren’s focused assessment.) The basic diagnosis confirmed that I am very inflexible – probably due to the finite range of motion I use as I run long distances. He made copious notes to take with him to his personal laboratory.
A week later, we met again, this time Darren arrived with a full stretching plan in hand which he guided me through step by step, explaining why each exercise was appropriate for me – to increase my flexibility. He also took care to start with a particular side of my body first, depending on the exercise, so it would address my weakest side and build flexibility where it was most needed.
Now, after six weeks of using Darren’s program, I have run well over 300 miles. I am moving easier, much faster and smoother. I am having more fun and I no longer feel that ache in my back and my groin injury has fully mended.
I appreciate Darren for his precision of observation and for sharing his genius with me. I feel excited about my running program again. I gladly recommend Darren to anyone that has a specific need in the area of Integrated Fitness. He is a fabulous listener, a great observer and creates programs tailored specifically to each client’s needs.
~ Robert Steinbach, B.Arch., MBA, CFA, Toronto ON
I have been exercising for years and have had a certain level of success, but was stagnating. Darren has come in and, in a few short months, has succeed in re-energizing my workouts and re-focusing my efforts so that I am now back on track and on my way to achieving my own personal goals.One of Darren’s key strengths is his innate, almost intuitive ability to look at clients individually and holistically. Of course, his intuition is backed up with considerable training and education. He understands the mechanics of the human body very well and has been able to determine that weakness and pain in one area of my body had a direct and corresponding link to tightness in another, seemingly unrelated part of my body.
I can’t emphasize enough what a difference Darren has made. He has identified and corrected problems that I didn’t even know existed. He has motivated and inspired me to continue to work toward achieving my goals with renewed enthusiasm and a greater level of effectiveness than ever before. The best part about working with Darren is that he listens to everything I say and has designed a program specifically for me and my goals, while keeping in mind my time and budgetary constraints.
I highly recommend Darren to anyone who wants to look and feel their best and enjoy themselves along the way.
~ David E, Lawyer, Toronto ON