The term boot camp conjures up visions of a drill sergeant barking orders as camo-clad infantry drop to the ground for push-ups. Although there is a boot camp in Stevensville now, the drill sergeant wears track pants not camo and uses knowledge not intimidation to motivate his trainees.
Alex Semenik of Stevensville runs the Weight Loss Evolution Boot Camp. He has developed a program that offers step-by-step food plan to help one lose fat. In addition, the program offers a fitness program with unique goals for each person and motivational ideas that help you stay on track and reach your goal.
Semenik didn’t set out to be a fitness guru. In high school he played basketball and was a pretty good player. However it was in junior college that his life changed. He went out for football because a friend of his was playing. He made the team and determined that football would become his life. After junior college, he played for San Diego State University.
Because he wasn’t the biggest or the fastest player, he began working out even more and putting on weight and gaining strength. As his prowess on the gridiron improved, his dream of playing in the NFL grew. He knew he had to improve his speed and strength and spent more and more time in the gym working out as well as reading and listening to people who knew about food.
It was this gym time that was the beginning of what has become a life-long quest for knowledge regarding fitness and health. “I was fortunate to be around really smart people and I learned how the body works and how to make it better.”
Semenik went on to play for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1994 as a tight end and then in 1996, he played for the Oakland Raiders as an outside linebacker. Knee injuries put an end to his NFL dream.
During his football career, Semenik went from around 190 to 250 pounds. He knew he had to lose the weight, not only because of his knee but also because it was healthier. He set out to learn how to do that with the same determination that put the pounds on in his quest for the NFL.
Semenik went to Scottsdale, Arizona where he opened a gym, training athletes. Sessions included weight training, posture building and aerobics for stamina. But as he was working with the athletes, he became aware of a different group that wanted to learn about weight control and building strength. The mothers of a lot of the younger athletes were interested in the same things – weight control, getting stronger and getting healthy. His goals shifted and he began developing the program he now uses in Stevensville.
When he first began his program in Stevensville, it was through the adult education program and 40 people signed up for the class. Now, Semenik rents what ever pace is available at the school for his classes. He said that the weight room isn’t always in use and so he will have classes a couple of times a week there. Then it’s off to the gym, whichever one is not in use, for more workouts.
“We have older people, young, all ages,” he said. “I don’t make anyone do anything that I think they can’t do. Everyone is encouraged to do what they can do and then keep building on that.”
In addition to the gym time, the program offers weekly motivational talks with emphasis on good nutrition and working towards your goal. According to one of his brochures, it’s ‘high priced personal trainer results with gym type membership fees.’
Tracey Turek of Stevensville a testament to the program. She began her first boot camp last June and has been a faithful follower since then with just a little time off at Christmas time. She had never taken a class like this before and found it a little intimidating but once she was in the class, she knew it was a good match for her. At the core of Turek’s success is the knowledge that Semenik passes on. Whether it is what food to eat when or what exercise to do, she said he is very good about explaining why it needs to be done.
“There are all ages in there from high school track athletes to older guys,” she said. “But it’s really unique because you go at your own pace. It’s not a competition. I don’t do much weight lifting but now I do pull-ups. I couldn’t do one when I started and now I can do 10.”
Added to the knowledge is the support of the class and Semenik. She said the support is not the ‘rah-rah’ type or intimidation but more of confidence building based on the knowledge Semenik has given her.
About three weeks ago, Turek ran her first 5K race. “I’m 48 years old, I never thought I’d be running anywhere.” She and a couple of others from the class are now planning on running in the River Bank Run in Missoula later this spring.
Classes concentrate on building correct posture, stretching, weight training and stamina building. They are offered in the morning from 6am to 7am or at night from 7pm to 8pm. Participants can go four times a week for $200 for five weeks, three days a week for $150, two days a week for $110, or once a week for $60. He also offers personal training for one-on-one classes.
Semenik still maintains some of his Scottsdale contacts and travels down there a for training sessions about two weeks out of every month. The clients he works with down there are generally professional athletes who are either maintaining or trying to get back in shape.
When he’s not in town, Tanner Galusha runs the program. Semenik, who is a volunteer coach for the Stevensville football team, helped coach Galusha on the field. Galusha worked out with Semenik and when he got too busy, he asked Galusha to help.
“He’s got the knack for personal training,” said Semenik of Galusha. “He is an awesome trainer.”
Semenik said that working with the younger athletes such as those on the football team is a lot of fun. He once coached Mike Tyson prior to one of Tyson’s fights and although it was a great experience, Semenik said he had to stop and figure out that that wasn’t really what he wanted.
“It’s more fun training high school kids and junior college kids,” he concluded. And now, with the boot camp, he is able to share not only his passion on fitness but also help clients learn how to reach their weight goals and develop their own fitness passion.
Turek also said the classes are fun, “I don’t dread going to workouts, it’s a fun thing.”
Semenik can be reached at 847-393-3833 or firstname.lastname@example.org