Menopause Doesn’t Have to be Miserable
Menopause is something that all women experience but is seldom a topic of discussion over coffee with friends.  And little is offered by the medical profession to help us manage or even flourish during this period of our lives, which can last from our mid-forties to our sixties.  For the most part, we are told to grin and bear it with many doctors being reluctant to prescribe hormones except for the most severe symptoms of hot flashes; however, when properly prescribed and monitored, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) can mitigate hot flashes, alleviate night sweats, clear brain fog and prevent weight gain.  Hormones can improve libido and increase sexual fulfillment. If you are thinking, ‘sounds too good to be true’ or ‘what’s the catch?’ keep reading as this life changing therapy, once thought to increase risk of a variety of diseases, is actually quite safe and believed to reduce disease risk for the large majority of women.
 
Busting Myths about Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
 
I’ve been prescribing bioidentical hormones for several years now and am amazed that there is still so much controversy and misinformation surrounding this topic.  The following beliefs are commonly-held but should be relegated to the realm of myth.
 
Myth #1:  Hormone Replacement therapy is dangerous and causes cancer
 
The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study from 1991 did women a huge disservice.  The study was terminated early when women on hormone replacement were found to have higher rates of breast cancer and heart disease than women not on hormones.  As a result of this study, doctors stopped prescribing hormone replacement therapy to women. Currently nationwide, less than 10% of eligible women take hormones in menopause.  Hundreds of women are missing out on a potentially life-changing treatment. This trend is starting to change as other studies emerge and more practitioners are taking a critical look at the fine points of the data.  
 
Here’s what menopausal women need to know:  the hormones that were used by women in the study were synthetic hormones given orally (more on this significance soon).  Further, when you compare study groups, the women taking synthetic progesterone developed more breast cancer and heart disease.  The women in the estrogen-only arm actually had lower rates of breast cancer notwithstanding that the estrogen was synthetic.  Here’s the press release: “The NIH has concluded that with an average of nearly 7 years of follow-up completed, estrogen alone does not appear to affect (either increase or decrease) heart disease, a key question of the study.  It has not increased the risk of breast cancer during the time period of the study.”
 
Based on other studies like the French E3N cohort study, which looked at 80,000 French women over a period of 12 years, hormone replacement therapy, if given properly in the correct form and with careful monitoring, does not increase breast cancer risk. Many other studies have proven the safety of BHRT showing no increased risk for heart disease, strokes and blood clots.  
 
Myth #2:  Bioidentical and synthetic hormones are equivalent
Bioidentical hormones are structurally identical to the endogenous hormones produced by your body. They are derived from plant-based sources like yams. Synthetic hormones on the other hand, have additional chemical molecules, or parts of molecules to be exact, attached to their structures– they are foreign substances to the body.  Estrogen is made from pregnant mare’s urine; synthetic progesterone, or progestin is made in the lab and was originally designed to be used primarily for birth control purposes, not to relieve menopausal symptoms.
 
Prometrium, or micronized progesterone, is the bioidentical form of progesterone that is the safest to take.  In fact, it is most certainly associated with a lower risk of breast cancer and heart disease than synthetic progestin.  Based on the findings from the WHI study above, methoxyprogesterone (synthetic progestin) should not be taken for hormone replacement.  
 
Estrogen comes in three forms:  Estrone or E1, Estradiol or E2 (the most abundant form in the body) and Estriol or E3.  Bioidentical estrogen is given as either estradiol (E2), estriol (E3) or a combination of the two called Biest.  Estrone is quite potent and has a high affinity for breast tissue cellular receptors. As we can derive all the desired clinical benefits from the combination of estradiol and estriol, estrone should be avoided in HRT.
 
In summary, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is safer than synthetic and the safest hormones to take are estradiol, a combination of estradiol and estriol (Biest), and prometrium (micronized progesterone).
 
Myth #3:  All delivery forms of hormone replacement are alike
 
When taken orally, estrogen gets metabolized by the liver and can generate pro-cancerous metabolites, therefore estrogen should be delivered through the skin to avoid this.  Bioidentical estrogen is available in a patch, a cream, a vaginal suppository or in pellet form*.  Of these options, the only bioidentical estrogen that’s mass produced by the pharmaceutical industry is the patch (called Vivelle, or Climara); the cream or suppositories can be prepared by a well-reputed compounding pharmacy; pellets are administered by the practitioner, however, pellets are long acting (3 months) so can make initial titration difficult while trying to achieve maximum efficacy with minimum dose.  My preference is to start with a patch, cream or vaginal option at least until optimal dosage is determined at which point making the switch to pellets is fine and can aid with compliance for those who find the daily routine of administering HRT challenging.
 
Progesterone can be taken orally or topically as long as it is bioidentical prometrium as opposed to progestin.  Progesterone metabolizes into a nice calming metabolite, so it can help with sleep and anxiety if taken right before bedtime.  It is made by a pharmaceutical company in a 100 mg dosage form; compounding pharmacies are used if higher or lower dosages are desired.
 
Testosterone, like estrogen, should be given topically. It comes in a cream, vaginal suppository or pellet.  Conventionally trained physicians don’t prescribe testosterone.  Because of my own lack of knowledge of the benefits of testosterone for the human body and images I had of bodybuilders bulking up with testosterone, I used to be cautious about using it as well, but it is an important hormone for maintaining bone density and enhancing cognition and memory.  It’s also key for a healthy libido and preserving lush hair and moist skin.
 
*Note of caution regarding buccal troches—these are small tablets that you place in your cheek that supposedly dissolve into your skin.  Because it is dissolving in your mouth, there is a risk that you swallow some hormone, and thus end up getting oral estrogen, which, as stated above, should be avoided.
 
Myth #4:  Women should stay on hormone replacement only for symptom relief and for the shortest time possible
 
With what we now know to be truth vs. myth, the benefits of BHRT far outweigh the risks for the large majority of women.  Because conventional physicians prescribe synthetic hormones with a higher risk of breast cancer, clots and heart disease, the teaching was always to use the lowest dose of hormones for the shortest amount of time (ideally less than five years).  However, there is more and more data on the benefits of hormones for women, especially in preserving cognition and lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Improvements to skin, hair, quality of life, sleep, libido, bone health and cognition, are also noted as benefits to long-term use of BHRT.  Good news is that there is no need to stop once you start as long as you are feeling well and are being monitored carefully!
 
Myth #5:  You don’t need to measure hormone levels while replacing hormones.  Blood tests can be used and should be sufficient.
 
Practitioners have widely differing ways of prescribing hormones.  Some prescribe and dose by symptoms rather than by checking hormone levels, i.e., if your hot flashes disappear then you are on the correct dose. This might be fine, but women in general feel so good on hormones they can be unintentionally over-replaced.  Often too, below-normal levels and above-normal levels of the same hormone can cause identical symptoms, so unless you measure, you won’t know the exact cause of the symptoms. Finally, the overall goal of BHRT is not to create a virile Lara Croft, but a nice and healthy 40+ year-old gal.
 
Checking hormone levels is important to achieving the proper balance.   Accepted, tried and true hormone testing should be done with saliva, capillary blood or urine.  Blood tests will not reflect tissue levels of topically-applied hormones. Well reputed companies for testing are ZRT, Genova and Dutch Labs.  
 
My approach is to get baseline levels before starting BHRT to help determine starting doses.  Since it takes about three months for hormone receptors to saturate, I check follow-up hormone levels 3 months later, at which point dosages may need to be tweaked.  Once the desired hormone balance is achieved, I continue to check annually to ensure stability. This is a long and time-consuming process and can be somewhat costly to the patient, but it is safer in the long-run.
 
Myth #6:  Any alternative medicine practitioner can prescribe HRT well
Every woman is different and will have a different hormonal balance and symphony that needs to be carefully titrated.  Like any prescription, improper dosing can lead to doing more harm than good. A knowledgeable, well trained practitioner who closely monitors levels and adjusts dosing accordingly is imperative for BHRT to be both safe and effective.  Look for a practitioner who has completed fellowships in alternative medicine or integrative medicine, has completed the American Academy for Anti-Aging Medicine’s (A4M) mini-fellowship in hormone replacement and/or has additional formal training in hormone replacement therapy.  
 
Before I trained in bioidentical hormones, I felt I didn’t have the adequate knowledge-base to proceed with safely prescribing hormones; it was a big black box and hormones seemed scary to me because of their reputation from the WHI study.  I think this is a fear shared by most conventionally-trained physicians who would start prescribing if they pursued proper training in this field, which takes interest, time, energy and resources that already busy primary care doctors don’t often have.  When doctors see that their patients are benefitting from BHRT, my hope is that more conventionally-trained ob gyns, internists and family practitioners will pursue appropriate training to prescribe it.
 
Myth #7 BHRT is the only thing needed to make you feel better
BHRT can go a long way to improving quality of life.  But it is important to remember that pills and patches alone are still not enough.  Other important hormones to look at are cortisol and thyroid, so a thorough practitioner will be measuring these as well.  If cortisol is too high from stress, hormone balancing will not be optimal.  Replacing hormones in someone with high stress levels will only lead to more cortisol production and not the desired hormone augmentation (something called cortisol steal) and will backfire.  
 
Stress management with meditation, yoga, deep breathing and exercise are key, as are good sleep, a healthy diet and a balanced lifestyle.  Working in concert with your physician and partnering with knowledgeable fitness professionals like those at FiT in Los Altos, where they take a holistic, comprehensive approach to optimizing health is ideal.  No amount of hormones will help you feel better if you are chronically sleep deprived, consistently drink 2 glasses of wine a night and stay glued to your sofa.  BHRT should be a compliment to an already healthy and active lifestyle to help keep you that way as long as possible.
 
7 Things You Now Know about BHRT:
The saying goes something like, ‘Growing old isn’t for the weak but it sure beats the alternative.’   Appropriate hormone therapy can take some of the wind out of aging’s sails and improve quality of life.  Here are the most important thing for you to remember:
 

  • Most menopausal women are good candidates for hormone replacement therapy
  • Hormone replacement therapy can mitigate symptoms such as: poor sleep quality, hot flashes, low or absent libido, brain fog, hair thinning/ hair loss, dry eyes and dry skin, mood swings, and anxiety
  • BHRT is safer than synthetic hormone replacement in terms of breast cancer and heart disease risk and can lower the risk for cognitive impairment
  • Optimal delivery form varies by hormone type- estriol, estradiol and testosterone should be administered topically or by suppository; bioidentical prometrium can be taken orally or topically in a cream.  Once optimal dosing is achieved, pellets are a viable delivery form.
  • Initial dosing should be closely monitored until balance is restored then checked annually
  • BHRT can be used indefinitely. There is no upper age limit
  • Lifestyle factors (eating strategy, sleep hygiene, stress management, exercise prescription and self care) affect hormone balance and should be addressed along with BHRT

 
In summary, BHRT may open up a new world of benefit for women and I encourage you find out more and educate yourself.  Some questions you might want to ask your health care practitioner include:

  • Based on my age and family history, when can I expect symptoms of perimenopause or menopause?
  • What can I do to relieve and address my menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, insomnia, low energy, vaginal dryness or decreased sexual desire?
  • How do you test hormone levels?  What tests do you use and why?
  • What is your philosophy about hormone therapy? What can you tell me about natural or bioidentical hormones?
  • Am I a candidate for bioidentical hormones?
  • If  I choose hormone therapy, are there different ways I can take them such as capsules, topical creams, vaginal creams or suppositories? What are the advantages or disadvantages to these different options?
  • What are my risk factors for breast cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis, and what can I do to prevent these problems?
  • How often should I get a mammogram, clinical breast exam and pap smear?
  • Are there foods, nutritional supplements, and herbs that can help with symptoms and address health problems?
  • What types of exercise and lifestyle changes will keep me healthy?

 
To learn more about BHRT, here are two helpful books:

    1. The Hormone Cure: Reclaim Balance, Sleep and Sex Drive; Lose Weight; Feel Focused, Vital, and Energized Naturally with the Gottfried Protocol Paperback – March 11, 2014,by Dr. Sara Gottfried 

About the author: Dr. Yumi Ando is a Stanford-trained Internal Medicine physician, and is also Board-certified in Integrative Medicine.   She tries to combine the best practices of conventional Western Medicine with those of Eastern and Integrative Medicine to care for patients holistically and to optimize quality of life.
 
Www.yumiandomd.com
 

Jake Verhulp

Trainer Spirit Animal: Spider Monkey
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Born and raised in the Bay Area, Jake played baseball at Gunn High School and in college until a series of rotator cuff injuries abruptly ended his playing career. Inspired to help others avoid similar outcomes and help people perform at their best, Jake went on to pursue and attain a B.S in Health & Human Sciences from Loyola Marymount University. With experience in both the physical therapy and personal training settings, Jake brings a unique perspective and a passion for integrating the principles of injury prevention and human performance. His goal is to help each client unlock their body’s potential with immense value placed their individual goals. When Jake is not training or researching, he enjoys watching baseball, snowboarding and spending time with his dog, Barney.
What I love about FiT: It is a combination of great, passionate minds and an amazing community feel. Favorite sports: Baseball, Basketball, MMA

Hannah Golden

Trainer Spirit Animal: Phoenix
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Hannah has been working as a trainer since 2015.  She has a masters degree in Sport and Exercise Science, is certified through both NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) and the NATA (National Athletic Trainers Association).  Hannah has extensive experience in corrective exercise and rehabilitation having spent the better part of 5 years working within collegiate athletics. Helping clients correct movement dysfunctions and optimize how their bodies move enabling them to lead healthier lives is where Hannah leverages her expertise.  She is also a BIRTHFIT coach who supports women through the motherhood transition with education, support and fitness training. In her free time, Hannah enjoys hiking around the bay area, visiting with family, and hanging with her two cats Simba and Nala.
What I love about FiT: I love the community that FiT provides and how quick it takes to feel right at home. Favorite sports: Cheerleading

Serena Earwicker

Operations Manager

Spirit Animal: Owl

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Serena manages the day-to-day operations at FIT. If you need help with something apart from training, she is the one to get it done.

Outside of FIT you will find Serena hiking, biking and playing at the beach with her family.

What I love about FiT: FiT is welcoming and supportive to all. It feels like a hug, a sweaty one. Haha

Favorite sports: Anything I get to see live! Love the energy.

Tracey Downing

Owner

Spirit Animal: Owl

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Graduated from the Kinesiology program at the University of Michigan. She has worked as a Rehab Specialist and Personal Trainer for 7 years. Her experience ranges from physical therapy clinics to professional rugby teams, domestically and abroad. Tracey has worked with a wide variety of clientele including high school & Collegiate athletes, weekend warriors, and professionals in sport.

Since relocating to the Bay Area, from NJ by way of Michigan, NZ, & the UK, Tracey has been very involved in many community and charitable events. Most notably, she is affiliated with the Leukemia Society’s “Team In Training” in their marathon, triathlon and Ironman programs. In honor of her contribution to the community, Tracey was nominated and selected as an Olympic Torch Bearer for 2002.

When Tracey is not working or training, she enjoys backpacking, skiing, traveling, and adventure!

What I love about FiT: Seeing people change: doing more than they thought they could, learning more than they thought they would, and showing up to make themselves better.

Favorite sports: Playing tennis and watching anything my kids are playing

Brett Lando

Physical Therapist

Spirit Animal: Cheetah

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Brett grew up in San Francisco and attended St. Ignatius College Preparatory where he ran cross-country and track and field. After graduating from high school, he attended the University of California, Irvine where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Biology. While at UC Irvine he competed on the cycling team in road and cyclo-cross races and helped manage the campus bike shop.

Brett graduated with his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of California San Francisco/San Francisco State University. He is a graduate of Agile’s yearlong Orthopedic Residency, is a Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist and most recently completed a yearlong Fellowship in sports and manual therapy.

In his free time, Brett enjoys road cycling, the occasional triathlon, alpine skiing, surfing, backpacking, traveling and cooking with his wife.

What I love about FiT: The TEAM, Learning new exercises from the trainers, and a variety of fun, innovative exercise equipment.

Favorite sports: Cycling, Skiing, Surfing

 

  • Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • Board- Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists

Kendra Wagers

Massage Therapist

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Kendra Wagers has been a Massage Therapist since 2001. A native to California, she began her massage career in the Central valley working with various injury and chronic pain methods under experienced Chiropractors and physical therapists. In 2003 she relocated to Las Vegas, NV to attend the Nevada School of Massage Therapy’s accredited massage program which led to obtaining her National certification from NCBTMB. For over 13 years she worked as a licensed massage therapist in Nevada, including employment at top rated Spas on the Las Vegas strip. Receiving training in various modalities over the years including; Hawaiian Lomilomi, Thai, Sports and Shiatsu. In January of 2017 Kendra decided to return to California and is currently enrolled in the Traditional Chinese Medicine program at Five Branches University, furthering her education on overall health and wellness. With more than 17 years of experience and over 1500 hours in training Kendra has been able to hone in on her passion for healing while combining multiple techniques to provide a personalized and detailed massage to every guest. Her serene approach combined with her roots in structural techniques, offers harmony, balance, and ease to injuries or everyday stresses.

CA State Massage License #73011

Katie Deangelis

Personal Trainer
Strength and Wellness Coach

Spirit Animal: Hummingbird

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Originally from the Bay Area, Katie graduated from Chico State University with a Bachelors in both Exercise Physiology and Nutrition with an emphasis in Sports. While observing strength coaches during her internship at Norcal Strength and Conditioning, she became fascinated with the human body and its biomechanics.
Shortly after her first year in college, Katie found that excelling her knowledge in both the foundations of functional movement and nutrition was essential in order for her to pursue her career in preventative health care.

Katie enjoys training each client individually tailored to their goals and intentions by incorporating multiple training styles, thoughtful programming and relating exercise to their interests and daily lifestyle. Her mission is to help clients feel physically and emotionally powerful, strong, and pain-free by using an extensive and realistic approach to intentional movement, intuitive eating, and to encourage behavioral change rooted in nourishment for the brain, body, and soul.

What I love about FiT: FiT embodies a comprehensive approach to fitness and overall health so that you can not only envision but become the best version of you. Our priority isn't just about what you can accomplish inside the gym, it's about training for the life you visualize living. It's about showing up as the healthiest, strongest, and most powerful version of you. At FiT, we don't just workout, we train because we see the athlete in everybody.

Favorite sports: Functional bodybuilding, weightlifting, swimming, boxing, biking, and volleyball

 

  • American Council on Exercise
  • Crossfit Level One
  • NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, In Progress
  • Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certified, In Progress

Kevin Martin

CSX- Opex

Spirit Animal: Puma

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Kevin graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX with a B.S. in Business Administration with a focus in marketing. As a student, Kevin was a five-time conference champion in the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard diving events. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

He has a particular passion for rehabilitation and improving overall functional status. He enjoys identifying and correcting areas of the body that are not operating at their full potential so that everyone can live life to the fullest!
Kevin has completed a full ironman, multiple 70.3 triathlons, 2 full marathons, as well as several shorter distance triathlons and road races. In addition to triathlon, he has a background in gymnastics, swimming, diving, and volleyball. He enjoys helping everyone find the athlete within themselves and find a love for movement and exercise.

When Kevin isn’t training at FiT or exercising, he enjoys cooking, surfing, hiking, and spending time with his wife and dog. He especially loves being a father his young daughter Mayley.

What I love about FiT: Community, Hard work, Supportive, Fun

Favorite sport: Volleyball, Surfing, Diving, Running, Cycling, Swimming (triathlon), Weight lifting. I love watching all sports.

Tyler Pinkney

Trainer Spirit Animal: Dragon
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Tyler has had a passion for fitness and competition since he was a young boy. As he grew, his passion and competitiveness grew big enough to help him win multiple achievements as a Division I student-athlete at the University of Oregon. After his collegiate career concluded, he knew he wanted to stay connected to the fitness world leading him to pursue his Masters of Education in Coaching, Sport, Recreation, and Fitness Administration from Angelo State University. Tyler has worked for multiple universities helping athletes achieve success during their collegiate careers. Now he is excited to put his expertise to work for FiT’s clients and use his knowledge and expertise to help them reach their goals.
What I love about FiT: The people I work with and the opportunity for knowledge. Favorite sports: UFC, Boxing, Soccer, and Track  
  • 4 years of collegiate coaching experience
  • Former Division I Athlete
  • Assisted multiple athletes to the professional level
  • Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, National Strength and
  • Conditioning Association
  • Basic Olympic Lifting Certification, Totten Training Systems
  • Bachelors of Science in Psychology
  • Masters of Education in Coaching, Sport, Recreation, and Fitness
  • Administration

Juliana Oliveira

Trainer

Spirit Animal: Dolphin

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Helping people to achieve a healthy and balanced lifestyle is Juliana’s passion. Originally from Brazil, Juliana grew up playing different sports such as swimming, volleyball, and surfing. She has always had a passion for exercise. After moving to the US, she decided to turn her passion into a career and obtained her personal training certification. Juliana believes with hard work and determination anyone can achieve their goals. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, working out, hiking, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.

What I love about FiT: I love the schedule flexibility.

Favorite sports: Snorkeling and swimming

Angelo de la Cruz

Orthopedic Massage Therapist & Personal Trainer

Spirit Animal: Wolf-bear-dragon-unicorn beast

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While studying biological sciences at Cal Poly SLO, it became clear that my health was suffering. I was always tired, I couldn’t sleep well, I had digestive issues, and my emotions would swing dramatically at times. The realization came that in order for me to enjoy life to its fullest, I had to get serious about improving the quality of my health.


Since then, I’ve studied with doctors, physical therapists, clinical nutritionists, physical trainers, bodyworkers, and top innovators in the field of health & wellness. Instead of chasing the symptoms of illness, the most effective approaches to well-being are those that work to eliminate things that degrade health AND instill lifestyle habits that allow the natural environment of our bodies and mind to operate as efficiently as possible. In this way, we can be lead lives with less pain & sickness.
My work aims to use the technology of the body to help you live a more vibrant & productive life.


Some of the things I have fun doing are Olympic Weightlifting, breakdancing, parkour & free-running, snowboarding, creating electronic music, digital art photography/ videography, competing in American Ninja Warrior (My competition run is here) & learning about quantum physics.

What I love about FiT: Uplifting, motivating, supportive

Favorite sport: Martial Arts, ninja warrior obstacle courses, break dancing

  • Former Life Science Support Scientist at NASA Ames Research Center
  • Certified High Performance Coach
  • 2nd Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo
  • CrossFit – Level 1 Certification
  • USA Weightlifting Club Coach Certification
  • Intrinsic Coach Certification – Life & Health Coaching
  • BS Anatomy & Physiology
  • American Massage Therapy Association – Professional Member
  • Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork
  • Certified Hendrickson Method Instructor
  • Primal Reflex Release Instructor
  • Certified Massage Therapist
  • Certified Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner

Jeffrey Prusmack

Neuromuscular Therapist, Z-Health Practitioner, Strength and Conditioning Coach

Spirit Animal: Sea Turtle

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Throughout decades in the health & fitness industry, Jeff has had the pleasure to work with hundreds of fantastic people whom he considers all to be athletes. His approach utilizes a neuro-centric approach to training and bodywork which incorporates movement and postural rehabilitation, myofascial and trigger point therapies, musculoskeletal strength & conditioning, and other various strategies.

When not in the gym or doing bodywork, he enjoys listening to music, playing music on the drums, spending time with his partner and their dog, hiking and exploring, cooking and eating, and learning new things.

What I love about FiT: I love working with awesome people and assisting them with their goals. I love when they leave feeling better than when they came in.

Favorite sport: Olympic weightlifting

Personal Training

  • Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, NSCA
  • USA Weightlifting Level 1 Coach
  • Performance Specialist Level 2 Coach, Poliquin International Certification Program
  • BioSignature Practitioner, Poliquin International Certification Program

Bodywork

  • Z-Health Exercise Therapy Specialist (EEP, R, I, S, T)
  • Advanced Neuromuscular Massage Therapist & Health Educator
  • Certified Massage Therapist (CAMTC #80926)

Education

  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2001

Current and past athletes

  • Desk Jockey
  • Parents
  • Post-rehabilitation
  • Special Conditions
  • Hockey – NHL Professional
  • Tennis – Youth National Champion
  • Fencing – Junior/Senior World Ranked
  • Triple Jump – Junior/Senior National Ranked
  • Olympic Weightlifting – Masters
  • Equestrian 3m Jump – Amateur
  • Sculling – Masters
  • Downhill Skiing – Amateur
  • Black Belt Karate – Amateur
  • Figure Skating – Youth
  • Varsity Volleyball, Basketball, Baseball, Golf, and Football

Shaun Conness

Trainer Spirit Animal: Australian Shepherd
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Shaun graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.S. in recreational resources. Shaun is a Certified Medical Exercise Specialist with the American Academy of Health, Fitness, and Rehabilitation. Member NSCA. He is a C.H.E.K. practioner level one and a C.H.E.K. Certified Golf Biomechanic. He is a Titlist Performance Certified Golf Fitness Instructor (TPI CGFI). Shaun has also completed the BacktoGolf program in Carmel, CA. Through these courses and application, Shaun has gained extensive knowledge about the mechanics and flexibility demands of the golf swing, as well as the strength and conditioning needed to optimize one’s golf potential. Shaun has trained athletes from senior Olympic Sprinters to PGA and LPGA golfers over his career. He has worked in the home, large gym, and private studio settings. Shaun prides himself on having a strong work ethic, being positive, and enjoying life. You have to have fun.
What I love about FiT: The culture, the environment, and the team. Favorite sport: College football and basketball, pull ups  
  • USAW Club Coach
  • NASM Certified Trainer
  • TPI Golf Fitness Instructor
  • CHEK Practitioner Level 1
  • CHEK Certified Golf Biomechanics Specialist

Jennifer Mulry

Personal Trainer

Spirit Animal: Bear

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Jen graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.S in Psychology in 2005.  She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with the National Strength and Conditioning Association, a USA Weightlifting Club Coach, and is ACSM Special Populations Certified.  In October 2006, Jen started FITBuddies, a training group for individuals with autism and Down syndrome.  In 2011, Jen founded BuddiesInAction to expand FiTBuddies programs.  BuddiesInACTION now offers 1:1 training, group classes, virtual training and health & wellness consulting services for individuals of all abilities. Jen’s passion is teaching individuals to not only move properly but also learn to enjoy movement.  She enjoys teaching other professionals how to work with the special needs population and loves the creativity of building unique programs that fit every individual’s needs. Outside of FiT, Jen spends most of her time chasing after her twins. She enjoys long walks with her duo, hiking, reading, uninterrupted dinners with her husband and is always looking forward to the next east coast visit with family.

What I love about FiT: I love the family atmosphere at FiT and the collective effort to all be the healthiest version of ourselves.

Favorite Sport(s): Basketball & Swimming

Jeff Samson

Trainer
Martial Arts Trainer
Assisted Stretch Practitioner

Spirit Animal: Blue Whale

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Jeff has been working with clients in the Bay Area since 2007 and performs personal training, martial arts instruction, and assisted stretching to youth, working adults and retired seniors. Most of his youth was spent as an unathletic chubby kid who found various ways of getting into trouble. It wasn't till he was a young adult that he began to study fitness, train himself and learn martial arts. He entered and won a fitness transformation competition in 2006 which changed his life forever. The personal training he received and positive changes he saw from the competition inspired him to teach others. Jeff went back to school and earned his Fitness Specialist certification through the Wellness and Human Performance Department of Mission College and has held certifications in Circular Strength Training, USAW Olympic Weightlifting, and Bioforce Conditioning Coach. He currently holds a BA in Humanities from The New College of California, is a Life Stretch Instructor through the Stretch to Win Institute and certified FST (Fascial Stretch Therapy) practicioner. Jeff is a longtime local having lived in California all his life from San Diego to the Bay Area. When he's not training clients or learning new things about health and fitness he enjoys trying new restaurants, sipping specialty coffee, whiskey tasting, looking for whales in the sea and taking road trips.

What I love about FiT: Great space, staff, clients, ability to pursue my passions

Favorite sport: Jiujitsu