Deana Schnell (October 2015)

Deana Schnell never thought she would need to worry about an exercise routine. She’d been thin her entire life. Though she’d never been extremely fit or “in shape,” during her twenties and thirties she simply assumed exercise didn’t need to be a priority since she’d always been able to maintain a healthy weight.

Then, suddenly, all of that changed.

Deana had foot surgery in 2012, and afterward any form of movement—even walking—began to cause her tremendous pain. She found herself on the couch, eating cookies and, suddenly, forty pounds overweight. Deana has had five major surgeries in the last eight years. It seemed impossible for her to find an exercise program that would give her results without aggravating old injuries and causing her pain.

Then one day, her husband, Mike, was walking their dogs when he met a new neighbor, Ryan Morgan. Ryan told Mike about Pursuit Fitness and Performance, and Mike and Deana decided to give it a try through the Spring Transformation contest. They started group training in April, three days a week, and were immediately hooked.

“My biggest challenge is to be able to do exercises without injuring places on me that have already been injured,” Deana says. “But (PFP) provides different alternatives. They take it slow and make sure that I get the correct form. They push me just the right amount. They don’t push me past where I want to go, physically.”

Deana immediately saw the difference between PFP and traditional gyms. She found that PFP was not intimidating, but rather, a very encouraging and supportive atmosphere. Plus, the trainers and fellow clients provided her with just the right amount of motivation. “I used to go to Club Fitness and walk on the treadmill for an hour and call that my workout. My husband and I have a full gym in our basement—kettle bells, a pilates machine—and it just sits there.” At PFP Deana looks forward to her workouts. She finds that the time passes quickly and the four to five week rotation of exercises keeps her from growing bored.

So far, Deana and Mike have each lost around twenty pounds, but Deana is not big on numbers. Rather, she is more excited about how she feels. “I feel stronger, healthier and more confident. My clothes fit again,” she says. “I’m not going to find excuses to not workout ever again. I’ve been going for several months, and I plan to keep going. I’m not going to stop everything I’ve accomplished.”

Deana and her husband do not follow a strict diet. However, since joining PFP, the two have decided to cut sugary snacks from their daily lives. Deana used to make fun of “label readers,” but since Mike went on a PFP grocery store tour, she finds herself analyzing the protein and sugar contents on the foods that she buys. “It was hard in the beginning,” Deana says. “But now I don’t even realize that I’m missing anything. It’s just a part of my life.”

Deana finds that the expense of PFP is well worth it. She is investing in her health and her future. “My work at PFP is going to help me avoid future surgeries,” she says. “And that’s what is most important.”

Her future goals at the gym are to continue to tone up, maintain her weight and eventually lose about ten more pounds. But she’s in no hurry. She knows that with work and commitment, the weight loss will come. She just wants to push herself to new limits and continue on her journey to better health. “I like that I’m in shape and that I’m strong,” Deana says. “There’s nothing better than feeling good about yourself and your health.”

Next year Deana will turn fifty. But the looming new decade and chapter of her life does not intimidate her at all. Rather, she’s welcoming this next stage with optimism and the same positive attitude she’s adopted from her trainers and friends at PFP.  In regards to her coming birthday she says, “I’m going into the next decade in the best shape of my life. I’m not helpless anymore.”


Favorite exercise?

She likes them all! Any non-cardio exercise is typically one of her favorites.

Least favorite exercise?

The ropes. They are “deceptively hard” for her.

Favorite Workout Song?

Again, she likes them all! Deana finds that the music at PFP is perfectly suited to her taste, in regards to song choice and volume.

Deana’s Morning Routine:

She gets up around 6:30 and gets her high school senior son, Cory, off to school. She’s not a big breakfast eater, but will typically walk her border collie and Australian shepherd dogs before having a shake as her lunch.

Hobbies and Work:

Deana is a stay at home mom and her favorite hobby is shopping. Her favorite place to buy workout clothes is Marshall’s and her favorite brand there is Nike. As far as non-workout clothes shopping goes, Deana recommends Anne Taylor.


“Twenty minutes in (to the workout) I think, I’m not going to make it, but then suddenly it’s over! I’ve never wanted to sweat, and now I find myself enjoying sweating for an hour.”

“At first I thought, I’m not going to the gym and putting on workout clothes in front of other people, but PFP was very welcoming. You see the same people in the group training and we all just kind of encourage each other.”