Jenny Wegner



Tell us about yourself?

My name is Jenny Wegner and I’m a senior at UW-Stout majoring in Early Childhood and minoring in Health and Fitness Education and Health and Fitness.

How long have you been working out?

I started making it a habit about three years ago; a habit meaning exercising 4-5 days a week.

Tell us about your transformation? What motivated you and how you achieved it?

It was the best transformation in my life. I now feel healthier physically, mentally, and emotionally. The motivation came internally once I was ready to change my lifestyle. I was motivated when I first started because I was seeing quick results. The weight fell off quickly at the start since I didn’t exercise much in my life previously. I then began to feel better and more confident in myself. However, one must remember it takes time to see results and it takes time to exercise. You will never find time for anything if you don’t make it. Therefore, going to school full-time and working full-time has always been a big challenge. Now, I study while I am in the gym on a cardio machine.

Why do you think it is so hard for people to lose weight or maintain it? What helped you the most?

I think it is hard for individuals to lose weight because they go on crash diets. If they do not see the results right away some of them give up. You must keep reminding yourself to have everything in moderation; exercise, recovery, and eating. Some people limit water intake and some will only eat twice a day so it is hard for your body to lose weight when you are fighting against it. Eating more often but consuming smaller meals throughout the day will help speed up your metabolism. Eating more lean protein and complex carbohydrates can also help your overall diet. What helped me the most was learning that I did not have to do it all. I use to do cardio everyday and weight lift every day. However, the principle or recovery is definitely needed otherwise your body will go backwards. I now mainly lift weights. Many women have the fear of gaining weight and getting big when lifting heavy. However, you become more toned and lose more inches this way. It is always important to remember to not limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, you can achieve. The mind is a power tool. Just keep believing!

How was your weight training, cardio routine, and diet set up when you lost weight?

Weight training was heavy lifting 8-10 reps for 4 sets and cardio was low intensity and diet consisted of high protein, around 80-100 carbohydrates all coming in before 2 PM so I was making sure to burn them up before I went to bed. Remember the pounds did not come on over night so keep in mind that it takes time.

How do you maintain the lost weight?

I continue to exercise and weight lift at least 5 days a week. It is definitely a challenge but I consume more protein than anything now. I also prepare my meals in advance so I'm not over eating.

Do you have any message for folks who are trying to lose weight, but cannot?

All good things are difficult to achieve and bad things are very easy to come by. Remember you can do it. Just believe. Always ask for any assistance that you need. The HFC staff has helped me learn techniques that have helped benefit me the most. The best exercises are the ones that work more muscle groups and they have helped my body to develop. The HFC members helped me learn how to properly squat, bench and deadlift which has helped me tremendously. I believe that to be successful you must accept all challenges that come your way. You can't just accept the ones you like. Do something you enjoy. It could be running, weight lifting, tennis, but find something that will keep you motivated.

Joe Gruber

 Joe Gruber was the UW-Stout Annual Strength Competition "Bench Champ" in 2008, 2009, & 2010. In 2010, Joe benched an impressive 385lbs at a bodyweight of 195lbs.


Tell us about yourself?

I am currently a junior pursuing a bachelor's degree in Construction Management and minor in Risk/Safety Control. I enjoy attending college here at UW-Stout mainly because of the community and the environment this city has to offer. I hope to relocate once I graduate, starting a job preferably somewhere on the east or west coast.

How long have you been working out?

My interest in weight lifting began in high school witnessing older classmates get stronger and bigger physically. Much of my success and accomplishments I owe to a fellow acquaintance named Roger, our weight room supervisor. He introduced me to a variety of different techniques aimed at increasing strength rather than the physical appearance aspect. I first started lifting my sophomore year of high school; however, it wasn't until I finished football my senior year when I became more intrigued by the challenge of getting stronger. Being fascinated by the possible body physique while being gullible at the same time, I invested my money into supplements and whey proteins.

Can you briefly tell us about your bench pressing program?


Pecs and triceps

Back, biceps, and shoulders


Pecs and triceps

Friday (optional depending on soreness)
Back, biceps, and shoulders

A lot of people will ask me what kind of program I use when bench pressing, and to their surprise I tell them no program. My senior year in high school I lifted upper body everyday every week. Now, I have learned to incorporated lower body into the equation which also helps with balancing rest and recovery for other muscle regions. Basically, I like to come back on a Monday after taking Friday through Sunday off.

My routine consists of the following: (1). A thorough warm-up (once I have broken a sweat) (2). I begin with an amount of weight that is rather light to just get a feel for the motion (3). after that I gradually move up each set by about 25lb. while doing sets of 10 reps (4). I will then usually do at least 6 sets, gradually increasing the weight each set (5) Generally my last set will only be of 6 reps. Following bench I like to do pectoral flys with dumbbells laying flat on a bench. Typically, doing sets with a weight allowing me to do 3 sets of 10. Lastly, I will end with dips doing 3 sets of 15. If you can do over 20 each set, weight may and should be added to a waist belt.

What does your diet consist of?

My diet consists of 4-6 meals in a day. Eating a big breakfast is the most important to me and determines what kind of day I will have. I am very picky with not letting myself reach the point where I am starving. When this happens I tend to get the thought that my muscle is burning away. Therefore, my daily diet consists of 3500-5000 calories, mostly consisting of foods containing carbohydrates, cholesterol, fats, folic acids, and protein. The biggest factor for me is eating a good amount of red meat. Good venison from deer hunting comes in handy here. At the same time, maximizing lifting performance is enhanced by taking a pre-workout. Furthermore, I take a whey protein mix with water immediately following my workout to assist with recovery and maximum muscle growth. I would recommend anyone looking to gain strength to intake nearly a gram of protein for every pound of their body weight.

What would you recommend to someone who wants to get stronger at bench?

From what I have learned over the years of weight lifting, the key to getting bigger and stronger is to keep a well balanced diet. If you don't take protein now I insist you take it right after you finish your workout. Another important factor is to allow for muscles to recover and heal. If you feel tired and or sick from the night before, it would be better to take the day off, rather trying to lift and possibly setting yourself up for injury. Also, take adequate days off from lifting. I have gotten caught up in the efforts to reach my goals faster, but in the end I have been penalized with injuries. The results have given me a bad shoulder which acts up usually once a month, but on the side of more serious problems have had strains and slight tears. These can set you back and could ultimately keep you from lifting the same as you once did.

I would also like to say that it really is a benefit to have someone to lift with. Lifting with someone allows for you to push yourself that extra rep. They can help you become more aware of other exercise routines. My strength gains and appearance would not be this good if it weren't for someone pushing me. The motivational levels increase dramatically with a fellow lifter. Another important thing to keep in mind is to ask questions if you are unaware of how to train a muscle or even if its just a simple question. The HFC staff is there to help and I greatly appreciate their efforts and educational opinions for questions or problems. Don't let yourself down by giving up, be persistent and stay disciplined in reaching your goal. It's the only you who can determine what you want.

What do you think is the most common mistake people make on a bench routine?

Personally, I believe most people will get to a certain amount of weight which they will stick with for sets but they never then increase the weight to challenge themselves.

Quinn Thomas

 Quinn participated in The Biggest Loser- Stout Style and lost around 60lbs. And the best part is that he is still maintaining the weight loss which is always the hardest part.


1. Tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Quinn Thomas and I am currently a senior in UW Stout's Information Technology Management program. I work as a Student Manager at North Point and will be graduating this spring. While I consider myself athletic now, this was not always the case. I used to do a bit of weightlifting for fun during High School, but I had otherwise minimal experience with self-paced fitness until my sophomore year of college.
2. What really motivated you to make that change? How much did you weigh before and how much did you lose?

I can remember a few defining moments that led me to decide it was time to change my lifestyle. Once during my sophomore year I needed to make an emergency run to Wal-Mart because I was going to a formal event and I was far beyond having any delusions that my dress clothes might fit. There were a few other times when jackets wouldn't close or I would get winded heading up the stairs to the fourth floor of Harvey. I just got sick of it after a while.
In addition, a few of my buddies had been lifting since freshman year and my new roommate Tim was big into fitness, so I started to notice they were having an influence on my choices. I started going to the gym the second semester of my sophomore year but it took about a year before I saw some noticeable results. It was around that time that I began a "Biggest Loser" program being offered by the HFC, which was a constant reminder for me to make smart decisions.

When I came to Stout as a freshman, I weighed somewhere around 260. I can remember being excited that I could finally bench my own body weight of 275 during the winter of junior year. However, there is a record of me weighing as much as 290 in one of my medical exams. As of October 24, 2010, I weighed 216 pounds, a weight I haven't seen since I got my temporary driver's license in high school.

3. How did you lose so much weight?

As I mentioned earlier, I had been weightlifting a bit since sophomore year, but I started taking it more seriously during my junior year. The biggest change I made was watching what I was eating. For example, since I work for dining service, it can be easy to come across food with low nutritional value – but plenty of calories. If you work a four-hour shift, you are eligible to receive a meal. I used to eat calzones nearly every shift, but I switched to a Turkey sandwich and mixed vegetables. I also began to integrate cardio into my workout routine and made sure I was making it to the gym at least four times a week. These small changes made a huge difference for me over time!

4. How are you maintaining the weight loss so well?

I refuse to accept my current condition to be ideal. I've lost most of the easy weight by making better choices about food and working out on a regular basis, but I need to keep pushing myself. I'm a goal orientated person, so I use that to stop myself from reverting back to my larger state. For example, I've always wanted to run 5k (3.1 miles), so I decided last winter that it was time to complete one. I finished running that distance on a treadmill last spring, so I made it my next goal to run one competitively. It gave me a reason to continue training and also changed my program's cardio style. I began to integrate hill runs and interval training and finally completed a 5k race on October 16th with a time of 24:04. I'm now trying to finish one less than 24 minutes. Having smaller, attainable goals to work towards that gives me a reason to keep working hard and gets me excited to go to the gym.
5. What would you advise to folks who want to lose weight and maintain it for their rest of their life?

The thing I get tired of hearing the most is when people talk about starting a program after a certain date, like New Years. I feel that if you are motivated to try to become your best, it shouldn't be delayed. This way you can get into a routine, start setting and achieving small goals, and then complain about all the "New Year's Resolution" people with the rest of us.

Finding healthy food that you enjoy eating is also really important. I used to live under the philosophy that I could eat what I wanted to because I worked out that day. Unfortunately, what I was eating – and how much of it - outweighed what I was burning off, and I got no results. As I've learned to make healthier food choices, it turns out that I really like broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, beans, and rice. I hadn't given them much of a chance before, but now I can't go a day without at least one of them.

In conclusion, my advice is to just get out there and just start doing something. Find ways to incorporate healthy foods and exercise into your busy lifestyle. Set small goals, like trying a new food or recipe every week, or starting a workout group with some friends and making it a point to keep each other on track. It might seem difficult at first, but the results are definitely worth it!

Justin Lavalle

 Justine Lavalle won the UW-Stout Strength Competition in 2007, 2008 & 2011. He missed out in 2009 because he hurt his shoulder. In 2011, he benched 275, deadlifted 500lbs and squatted 450 lbs at a body weight of 160lbs!


Tell us about yourself?
I am currently a senior in the Construction Management Program, and I am from Blaine MN. Freshman year and sophomore year I won the Spring Strength Competition hosted by HFC.
When did you start working out?
 I started working out my junior year of high school with my friends. I didn't become more serious about lifting until I came to Stout. I have always been interested in getting stronger, and I keep myself motivated to go work out by making it a priority. It helps me manage my stress and makes me feel good too.
Tell us about your workout program?
I like to switch up my routine to keep it interesting, and because it eliminates muscle memory—meaning that my work outs are always going to be tough. I do 8-5-3 sets, 5x5 sets usually with heavy weights. I designate certain days for form and speed, and the other days I consider heavy lifting days. For example, bench, squat and dead lift I lift heavier than I would if I was lifting for form and speed. On speed days, I would lift 8 sets x2 reps versus heavy days lifting 8 reps-5reps -3reps with increased weight per set, or 5x5 (still heavy).
I do a lot of miscellaneous lifts, but always start with the big muscle groups first.
What would you recommend to someone who wants to get stronger?
Do more weight per set, and less reps, and don't over train. I wouldn't lift heavy with the same lift twice in a week, nor would I do the same lift day after day. I believe in squatting—you can't be strong with a weak base/core. And make sure to do heavy abdominal work outs too. Make sure to rest properly between work outs—sometimes less is more! I would also recommend training upper body one day, and lower body the next, just to help ensure that you are letting your body rest appropriately.
What do you think people have a hard time increasing their weight in the lifts? Or what are we doing wrong?

Personally, I think that some people struggle with increasing their weight in their lifts because they have poor form. Another reason could be because they are overtraining, not getting enough rest in between work outs, or because they are trying to do too much in one day.



However, one must remember it takes time to see results and it takes time to exercise. You will never find time for anything if you don’t make it.

~ Jenny Wegner


"Find ways to incorporate healthy foods and exercise into your busy lifestyle.

Set small goals, like trying a new food or recipe every week, or starting a workout group with some friends and making it a point to keep each other on track"

~ Quinn Thomas