While out training this AM, I couldn’t help to see the movie in my mind of all the ways Jeff touched my life.
14 years ago I walked into his club in Grafton. I was just a horse back rider, burned out of competition and struggling to find myself. As I walked in the doors I saw Jeff. Huge smile, tight spandex skin suit, and neon yellow shoes. Yes, I had a moment of second thoughts, but I took the chance. I told Jeff I was lost. Burned out of horses, struggling to maintain my health, and unsure of what direction I wanted to go. He smiled and said, “no worries”. I joined as a member, Jeff was my trainer, and before long I was on a spin bike taking one of his classes. Every time I worked with Jeff, I felt like someone special. He was patient, motivating, had a way of making me feel important. Weeks later I started to work for Jeff. He taught me what being a personal trainer was all about; making people feel important. Jeff became my coach, I became his student. He guided my every step and I listened and absorbed his knowledge. Jeff’s smile was contagious even when I was working so hard and/or so frustrated I couldn’t speak. He would just smile and that smile gave me the strength and determination to get the job done.
Soon I was teaching the spin classes he once taught. Helping members better their health and motivating them in the same way Jeff motivated and inspired me. Jeff would frequently tell me, ” stay with it, you are good at this”. I worked for Jeff for close to 6 years. Jeff introduced me to what I am today, a personal trainer but on top of that.. I strive to be the person he was to me; a motivator, an inspiration, and someone with compassion beyond words.
As time progressed Jeff introduced me to endurance training (cycling). Jeff built my first bike and was possibly just as excited about it as I was. It was red and white 😉 Jeff encouraged every mile that I covered, he would work with me weekly on strength, and answered every question I asked.
Jeff’s AM phone calls at the club’s each morning made my day. Hearing his voice and encouragement for a successful day reminded me of his determination and dedication to his lifestyle. No person worked with more determination.
In 2000 when I was hit by a car cycling, Jeff was there to visit. I will never forget him telling me, standing next to the hospital bed, “you gotta get back on the bike”. Jeff never let adversity dictate his dreams. He taught me perseverance! A lesson I have used and helped others utilize because of what Jeff taught me.
A short time ago, Jeff said to me. I have never been in a happier place. Jeff’s beautiful wife, Kelly, made Jeff’s life complete. There was a new sparkle in his eyes and I will never forget the bike race when I was introduced to Kelly. Jeff appeared to be floating on the cloud of happiness. Kelly enriched Jeff’s life with her love for him and her family shared with him. Kelly’s love for Jeff and Jeff’s love for Kelly was really special to witness having known Jeff for 14 years.
Because of Jeff, I found what I was created to do; motivate, inspire, educate, and help others enhance their health and fitness. All that starting at a place called Wisconsin Health and Fitness Center during a time in life where I was a lost individual but found by a special person.
Jeff now rides his bike with skin suit and bright yellow shoes, and the “Jeff smile” that was always there to greet and inspire! Jeff is now in the hands of the Lord, forever safe riding his bike. Love you Jeff!