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Bonnie Pfiester doesn’t always like the fact that her fitness life is out there on display for the rest of the world-but this industry powerhouse isn’t letting that stop her. Meet the Club Solutions Most Fit Health Club Professional for February 2008.
It would be easy to be intimidated by Bonnie Pfiester if she weren’t so darn nice. But the founder of woman-friendly Longevity Clubs is so nice that it breaks her heart when other women tell her that her fabulous physique intimidates them.
“Sometimes, I’ll walk into a club where I’ve never worked out before, and it’s intimidating,” says Bonnie. “I don’t know where everything is or what the unspoken rules of the club are-and if it’s like that for me, imagine what it’s like to walk through the door for the first time, when you don’t know anything about working out. I tell my team to assume that every person who walks through that door is nervous and needs to be reassured.”
Bonnie should know-she grew up tall and too skinny with insecurities galore, and she credits the fitness industry with helping her learn to love her body.
“I think a lot of people in the health club industry ended up here because of our insecurities, and we are at our best when we remember that,” she says.
That’s why Bonnie and her husband and fitness partner Steve are willing to throw themselves out there, whether it’s in the community or on national television. “Seeing fit people reminds you of what you can do if you try,” Bonnie says. “I think the health club has a lot in common with church-people who need it most have the most excuses not to come. I hope people hear our stories and feel encouraged and inspired.”
Though Bonnie’s proud every time one of her club members reaches a fitness goal, the sweetest victories have been the ones her mom and sister won over the last few years. Bonnie’s mom shed 90 pounds, and her little sister metamorphosed from an overweight, shy teenager to a confident, healthy young woman thanks to a 50-pound weight loss. “When it affected my family, that’s when it hit home for me the difference good fitness can make in someone’s life,” Bonnie says.
In her own life, Bonnie takes a common sense, community-driven approach to fitness, making exercise a part of her daily life and getting her family in on the action. The highlight of her day is usually the early evening jog/walk she takes with her family. “We catch up, talk about our day-it’s our family time,” says Bonnie, who’s usually joined by her husband, mom, dad, sister or some combination of family members. She also makes time to lift weights with her best friend five days a week, squeezing an hour out of her busy schedule to stay fit and socialize. “I am not the kind of person who has time to ‘do lunch,'” Bonnie says. “I bring my lunch to work with me! Working out is part of my social life.”
She’s practical about her diet, too, cooking simple meals at home most nights of the week. “When I get fancy, Steve is always like, whoa, I’m going to want more of this. We try to eat simply because we find we eat less when we treat food like fuel instead of like entertainment. Then fancy meals or going out to dinner can be a special treat. When you splurge all the time, it’s not a splurge-it’s a lifestyle,” Bonnie says. So while she’s a sucker for chips and salsa-pass the guacamole!-they’re not part of her everyday diet.
She views staying fit and healthy the same way she views paying the bills or filling up the gas tank-it’s just something you do. “People think I have some kind of magic fitness gene that makes me want to wake up and work out every morning, and that’s just not true. There are plenty of days where I would love to skip my workout,” she says. “But I just apply the same discipline to fitness that I do to the rest of my life. I’m not going to skip paying the bills, and I’m not going to skip my workout. For me, it’s just not an option.”