Meet AMFC charter member, and Fitness Hero, Dick Applequist.  He and his wife Connie could hear and see the progress of the Center’s construction from their home; when the doors were ready for opening, they were among the first members to have fun and get fit beginning in December of 1997.

AMFC Yoga Instructor, Kat Rykus, nominated Dick for Fitness Hero because of his unwavering dedication to maintaining a varied, balanced and disciplined regimen of strength, cardio and flexibility exercises including workouts on his own and group exercise classes.  He says that when he first started years ago, he was taking thyroid medication, carrying too many pounds and just didn’t feel all that great.  From the start, he worked with fitness staff to make a plan and then dove into 2 hour workouts covering strength, aerobics and stretching, 3 times per week, Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.  (He kept Tuesday open for bowling in the winter and golf in the summer).

Actually Dick says, he feels better after 3 hours here than 3 hours at the golf course! His time per workout increased as he began to add more variety to his routine.  He knew he needed better flexibility and balance as he grew older, and so decided to give yoga and try; he discovered that yoga is wonderful for many aspects of health, strength and wellness – not just flexibility – so he’s stuck with it and is a true yogini. 

Some of his time here, which he also attributes to his great health and wellness, is time spent conversing with friends or enjoying a relaxing, invigorating steam.  “It’s all important,” he says, adding that the balance, community and stress reduction are all part of the mix lending to his kind, calm and sunny disposition.  Sometimes he uses the bike to cover cardio because he also uses that time to read.  Because he wants to thrive and enjoy life at every age, nothing gets in the way of his weekly scheduled workouts.  And that strategy works. 

Dick Applequist is an inspiring member and his commitment is proof positive that exercise is good medicine.

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AMFC Members Gary Gaspar and Julie English each nominated AMFC Personal Trainer, Mark Shane as an AMFC Fitness Hero. 

From Julie, “ I have worked with Mark for over 10 years.  I have used every excuse in the book not to work out and Mark has always just stood there with a smile J.  Mark has:
1. Good sense of humor
2.Patience of a Saint
3. The ability to make me want to work out
4. Makes me feel guilty when I skip
5. Great listener (kind of like a psychiatrist, he just nods and smiles at everything I say)

Overall, he has taught me how to work out correctly for my body.

Says Gary, “I’ve been working with Mark for over 15 years.  My initial goal was overall strength training.  Mark worked with me to set some specific goals and develop a training program to achieve them. I would work with him every other Friday and he would write up all of my workouts for the days between that I do on my own. We set a bench press goal of 315lbs, which is 3 plates on each side of the bar. (I weigh 175lbs).  After achieving the goal and surpassing it, I peaked at 325lbs.  Almost 3 years ago, I found out that I needed open heart surgery to replace a defective aortic valve that I had since birth.  Mark helped me through my rehabilitation and we set a goal of getting back to 315 on the bench prior to my 50% birthday.  We have made it to 305 several times and today I attempted 315 for the first time and came within a hair of getting it.  With 18 months to spare, I now know we will get there very soon!”


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Nominated by Julie Vipond
Whether Tasha is teaching a class or doing personal training with me, she always give you 100%. She knows just how far to push you and bring out the BEST in you! 

She is a tough trainer but so motivating, and she makes training and her classes really fun. She is very genuine and caring. Tasha leads by example on a daily basis. When times get rough in training, she is always there to lift me up. Kinds words combined with a little ‘motivational push’ makes all the difference in the world.

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AMFC member, John Mollison, nominated his wife Sue as an AMFC Fitness Hero.  From John, “That I am a “regular” and (according to Karen) hold the record for Fitness Assessment push-ups is wholly due to my wife’s positive influence and example! 

            She started me on the road to wellness 19 years ago.  I made 7 minutes on an elliptical machine to her 60.  However, she encouraged me to come back, ever increasing in small increments until the motivation to sustain and grow on my own accord took hold (about 3 years, by the way).

            Today, her consistent effort and obvious “good shape” extends to our kids – my son actually pre-empts video games to come to AMFC and our daughter enjoys training w/Kristin. I think it’s very plain to me that Sue is a Fitness Hero to many.

Says Sue, “Life is full of distractions that can keep us from exercising consistently.  Don’t let the distractions defeat you!  Don’t compare yourself to other people because your story is not their story.  Work for your personal best.  One of the many things I love about Avera McKennan Fitness Center is the variety of exercise options they offer.  Find the class or machines you enjoy and make it fun!”


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Sign up at Member Services now for Karri’s Functional Fitness Training in February.  Functional training provides a practical training method for benefits that extend out of the gym and into daily living.  It makes the physical aspects of life easier.  These classes involve resistance and core training using body weight, free weights and balance trainers.  The benefits of Functional Fitness Training include:

  • Stronger Core
  • Increased Flexibility
  • Increased Strength
  • Better Balance
  • Improved Agility
  • Improved Cardiovascular Endurance
  • Better Posture
  • Stronger Joints

When:   Tuesdays, February 4, 11, 18, 25
Time:   7:45 – 8:30AM
Where:  Aerobic Studio