Announcing Chicago Athletic Club's 2019 Trainer of the Year recognitions!

Our team of Personal Trainers focus year-round on helping coach members of CAC towards achieving their personal goals. Their hard work as personal trainers truly impact so many CAC-bodies in positive ways!

Each year, CAC’s Trainer of the Year is awarded to the personal trainer from each club location based on overall training production.

Congratulations to the following 2019 Trainer of the Year recipients:

We asked each Trainer of the Year to share a bit about their experiences as personal trainers at CAC. Here’s what they have to say:

What inspires you to continue coaching as a personal trainer?

“I really enjoy seeing my clients get results. That's inspiring!” – Peter Falconer, LVAC

“The unconditional commitment and trust from every one of my clients.” – Fernando Parola, EAC

“My clients. I love seeing my clients progress and push themselves in ways they thought they never could. I also value the relationships I build with each client and enjoy sharing their accomplishments with them.” – Maggie Priore, WPAC

“The people I coach. I have so many inspiring students that punch, kick, lift, and carry at intensities I hope I can achieve when I am their age.” – Matt Hongosh, WAC

“Hearing the accomplishments from my clients.” – Blane Jacobsen, LPAC

“Working with great clients!” – Daniel Kleszynski, LSAC

“To see the progress and the results from my clients. I can literally see the lightbulb switch on for them. It is always exciting.” – Kimmy Escamilla, BAC

What coaching tips do you contribute your success as a trainer to?

When I coach clients, I tell them to enjoy the process. It's a marathon, not a sprint. That outlook helps both trainee and trainer succeed. Hopefully, my enthusiasm for training comes through to people I work with in the gym.” – Peter Falconer, LVAC

“Thorough follow up.” – Fernando Parola, EAC

“Strength is a choice and a MINDSET. You have to want it mentally to create it for yourself physically. I track my progress every week in ways that work for me, not necessarily the scale. I use photos and measurements and also go by my energy level. I hold myself and my clients accountable for their goals. I believe in setting short term, realistic goals for yourself. I surround myself with inspiring people who motivate me and bring me up.” – Maggie Priore, WPAC

Keeping it fun, fresh, and always about the student.” – Matt Hongosh, WAC

“Be attentive to your clients needs. Communication and attention to detail are big with me.” – Blane Jacobsen, LPAC

“Being consistent, creative and available to allow your clients to find ways to be as successful as possible.” - Daniel Kleszynski, LSAC

“I feel like the characteristic that brings me the most success is the ability to listen and integrate it into their training and lifestyle. Sometimes, there isn't a solution right away...All of my clients have gone through all the emotions on the strength floor. Being there for them through this and helping them understand why has made a huge difference. Most of my clients had never stepped onto the weight floor. I am beyond thrilled to empower them all! It's been a very rewarding year to see them all just flourish beyond what they previously thought their expectations were! We keep going!” – Kimmy Escamilla, BAC

Share a success story involving one of your clients from 2019!

I have clients who have lost as much as 40 lbs. in the past year and clients who've gotten incredibly strong. One client wanted to find a hobby to share with her brother who lives in California. The brother is a competitive powerlifter. The client came to me with no knowledge of the deadlift and lifted at 95 lb. She now lifts at 225 lbs. and gets great pleasure sharing personal best with the brother who lives out-of-state.” – Peter Falconer, LVAC

“In reality I have many, and I feel it will be unfair to share only one of them because I am so proud of all of them.” – Fernando Parola, EAC

One of my clients went through a traumatic accident a year prior to me training her. After intense physical therapy she began working with me to rebuild strength. She has progressed in ways the doctors didn't think was possible. She can bench press, deadlift, and has started doing pull up progressions. She attributes a lot of her success to a healthy mindset and believing anything is possible.” – Maggie Priore, WPAC

I had a client lose 20lbs and 10% body fat and she competed in her first bodybuilding bikini show and she got 1st in her beginner class and 2nd in her open class. She was 1 place away from winning her pro card. I was so proud of her and how hard she worked.” – Blane Jacobsen, LPAC

There's too many to list - I honestly feel like all of my clients have made tremendous progress this year and I look forward to seeing what 2020 brings!” - Dan Kleszynski, LSAC

“I started with a client at the end of 2018. He came in, could barely stand up straight....let alone walk without extreme pain. He was scheduled to go into surgery the following month for spinal and lower back reconstruction. I knew we were in for a long road and told him as such. We started meeting 3x a week. Started off with postural exercises and physical therapy exercises. I knew that in addition to his lower back pain his core would also be extremely weak. We added both lower back, core, and soon leg exercises. i.e. bridges, rotational stretches, pelvic tilts, leg lifts, supermans, etc. Within the first month, he noticed he didn't have any pain. He was due to go to the specialist one last visit before surgery. I asked him to have another MRI. Miraculously, his disks had shifted! We continued to build on that for the next 3 months. We did not pick up a weight until the 6th month! Fast forward to today, I still see Ben 2-3x a week. We are currently building muscle :)” – Kimmy Escamilla, BAC

What personal fitness intentions/goals do you have as a trainer in 2020?

“I'm a strength coach. We need strength at every age. My goal for 2020 is to perfect the squat, bench and deadlift. “ – Peter Falconer, LVAC

“To continue to be on my A game every time I am about to start a new session of training.” – Fernando Parola, EAC

“I want to continue to be positive with myself and the way I look. I want to continue building strength and work on exercises that I usually avoid because I am not as good at them. I want to get better at pull ups!” – Maggie Priore, WPAC

“I will be competing in a powerlifting event in March and to keep playing new sports and games with friends.” – Matt Hongosh, WAC

“In 2020, I am going to try to become a pro bodybuilder.” – Blane Jacobsen, LPAC

“Continue to push myself in intensity with each of the areas of fitness I'm currently working on.” – Daniel Kleszynski, LSAC

“To continue to set the bar high for myself, as well as my clients. I am also looking to get certified in nutrition. Either NASM or precision nutrition, level 1.” – Kimmy Escamilla, BAC

What's your favorite thing(s) to do outside of the gym?

Like so many people, I enjoy lounging on the sofa and watching Netflix to relax at night. I'm also a major bicycle enthusiast so when Chicago weather cooperates, I like riding my bike along the lakefront. Also, when the weather is good, I'm the person who picks up the family dog, a standard poodle, for a long walk or a swim at doggie beach.” – Peter Falconer, LVAC

“My favorite thing to do outside of the gym is to enjoy the privacy of my home with my family.” – Fernando Parola, EAC

“I am in grad school for Sports and Performance Psychology. So I am doing a lot of studying! I also love going to Cubs games and spending time with friends.” – Maggie Priore, WPAC

I like to play Pokémon Go and compete in shuffleboard.” – Matt Hongosh, WAC

“Go to the movies, play football, play baseball, I love go karts, I like to write, spending time with my family, and going to watch either the Cubs or Blackhawks play.” – Blane Jacobsen, LPAC

“Spend time with my family.” - Dan Kleszynski, LSAC

“My favorite things to do are EAT(lol), hang out with my family, and play tennis....oh, and laugh. I laugh a ton :)” – Kimmy Escamilla, BAC

Big congratulations to all of CAC’s 2019 Trainer of the Year recipients!