Member Stories

Robbin’s Adventure.

Stepping in the Doors

I moved to Hadley when I was twelve-years-old, graduated Hopkins, moved away, and then came back.  I saw Energia, which was your original name, but was unsure at first.  I tried doing my exercises at home for a while, but it wasn’t working for me.  After giving up on my home routine, I decided to join you all. I found out you had changed your name and moved into the old car dealership space, where you are now.  I have been here for three years.  Before stepping in the doors, I had never done spinning.  I didn’t enjoy spinning at first, but now I like it.



Turning 60

I was turning 60 this year, and wanted to do something really cool, so I chose a seven-day sport adventure, which required me to have a level three in athletic ability.  That means you have to be in really good shape.  I did Everest in 2013 and trained for a year.  This time, my training was here at 50/50.  I upped my spinning, did two classes in a row frequently, took barre and circuit classes, and felt good.



The Adventure

My seven day sport adventure included the beautiful sights of Machu Pichu, 11,000 feet of climb from Cusco to Lima, salt mines in Chinchero, biking down cliff roads with huge drop offs and no guard rails, hiking across the Incan Trail, rafting through class 3 and 4 rapids, and a 14,000 foot decent that took us 12 hours to get down.  I helped to dye clothing and made my own cup of coffee from bean to cup. One of the hardest parts was the 14 miles into the Mountain of Match Pichu with so many stairs and mountain climbing that took everything I learned in barre classes to help me up.  I even super womaned over zip lines and don’t feel like I am 60 years old.  I had to go over a bridge that was terrible and could not balance well, but my upper body was able to hold on and help me make the walk across.



My Community

I like the group feeling at 50/50, being able to go in and do my own thing.  I don’t feel intimated, or get any grief when I can’t get something.  I do what I can do.  I am kind of a private person, a homebody, but I can walk in, engage in a conversation, and people really like me. I have met some really good friends here. Since joining, I have felt strong, and if I hadn’t been here, there is no way I would have been able to do this trip.  Thanks 50/50!


John’s Story. Back to Energia. Pan-Mass Challenge

I originally started spinning at Leading Edge Gym in Amherst. When it closed I moved to Energia in 2010, before Justin was there. I ended up leaving Energia for a while, because one of the instructors opened a new space in Amherst, but that only lasted for 10 months. When I got back, Justin had taken over and it was clear the energy, vision, and enthusiasm he brought to the business was boundless. When we made the move to the satellite location and became 50/50 Fitness/Nutrition, where Embodied Chiropractic is now, I decided to start personal training.

I was 62 at the time and it was something I could see as a need for myself. I always felt that I was in ok shape for cycling and skiing, but felt that my cardio/pulmonary system and overall upper body conditioning could be improved. I could finally, honestly admit to myself that I did not, and probably would never, have the self-discipline to do this on my own. I had tried personal training once before. The individual I worked with was nice, but there wasn’t the connection I was looking for, something I believe is absolutely critical for success.

I started working with Katie in February 2015. I thought we would be a good fit and that she “got” me. I think we got it right as we are still working together four and a half years later. One of my biggest frustrations at the time was skiing at altitude. I would easily get winded and wouldn’t recover quickly. The improvements I have realized in my conditioning and strength have resulted in my skiing being some of the best and most fun I have ever had. I have stayed with 50/50 over the years because I find the environment welcoming, inclusive and non-judgmental. The sense of community is real and important and is encouraged by the management team. I have found the instructors to be universally excellent with a good mix of different styles, but all lead with a balance of knowledge, inspiration and motivation.



My next goal is the Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) in August. It is a cycling fundraising event whose mission is to raise money for life-saving cancer care and research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston through its Jimmy Fund. The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is committed to providing expert, compassionate care to children and adults with cancer while advancing the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, cure and prevention of cancer and related diseases. The PMC started in 1980 with 36 riders and raised $10,200. Last year over $56,000,000 was donated to the Jimmy Fund. The goal this year is $58,000,000. One of the most unique aspects of this event is that 100% of donated dollars actually go to Dana Farber,

While I have faced some challenges over the years, they pale in comparison to the challenges faced by my wife Mallorie upon getting a thyroid cancer diagnosis in October, 2009. Intellectually, I thought I would be able to handle that information, but in reality, the emotional toll was completely overwhelming. However, as the days went on and we learned how far the care and treatment of this condition has advanced, in part due to the valuable research made possible by the funding provided through this event, hope and belief displaced the despair. The years have passed and we are happy to continue to report that Mallorie has as clean a bill of health as one can have. It is behind us and we move forward. But not all are so lucky. My 65 year young cousin recently lost her battle with brain cancer in May. We all know someone dealing with this disease and it is vitally important that we continue to raise funding for important research and technology improvements for the ongoing fight against cancer in all its forms.

I am asking for your help by contributing whatever you can to support this worthy cause. My goal is to raise $4000 for this event. Every contribution, no matter how small or how large, is helpful. Your tax deductible donations can be made by credit card directly through the PMC website at in John Stothoff in the Donate link) or mailed to me with checks made out to PMC-Jimmy Fund.

I will be riding with added incentive this year, knowing that my physical efforts and your contributions will help make a difference for those that are fighting so hard. Thank you all.

-John Stothoff

Kat’s Story. Perseverance. Fitness. Art.

“My neighbor Chris invited me to 50/50 as her guest because I was feeling bad and needed more exercise. I took my first class with Justin. It was hard, but I survived, liked it, and knew it was something I really needed. I had tried another local gym for a while, but it was so anonymous there. In Poland, where I was born and raised, you do sports and outdoor activities with others, and it is very social. When I moved to the United States it felt like something extra that I had to do, getting together with people outside of activities, and so I stopped for a while. What I have found at 50/50 Fitness/Nutrition is wonderful people, a great atmosphere, and everything I need.

I knew right away after taking the intro class that I wanted to keep going. I started to feel much better immediately and the instructors were great. I joined just before May Madness, the big team challenge you had, and it forced me to try new things and do more than I thought I could. I learned a lot about myself and what I was capable of.

I am an artist, which is my second career. In Poland I was a professor at a University teaching business psychology, and also did workshops on soft skills. I met my husband here in the U.S., and we talked over Skype for two years before deciding that I would move to his home in Massachusetts. It was a big adjustment. At the start, I had to travel back and forth to give my workshops. I got pregnant, and not long after my daughter was born, my husband got sick. He passed away in 2013 and I had to take care of our daughter mostly on my own, putting only a little focus on myself. It was a very tough time in my life. I took it one day at a time.

I couldn’t teach business psychology anymore. I was grieving, my daughter was grieving, and there wasn’t space for other people in my life, which is why I got into art. Art is something that has been very healing and helpful for me to be happy. I do mostly paintings, mixed media, and collage. I love texture and am creating mostly abstract art at this point. I have a stained-glass studio in my house as well and like to play around with glass in my spare time.

Slowly my life has started to come back to a good and happy state. I have my art, and am about to begin teaching again. Somewhere along the line I met a man who had also been widowed, fell in love, and started anew. We have created a happy family. I started taking better care of myself, especially when I found 50/50 and everything it offers. I have stayed with it because I see so many positive changes in my body and my mind, and when I am happy with something there is no need to be looking for something else.

I am finding people who have goals similar to mine and who are active and healthy. I have found new friendships, which means a lot to me, with people I like, enjoy, and love. It’s been nice to have so many sincere people around me, and such great trainers. It enriches and supports my life. Thank you all, and thank you for listening to my story.”

– Katarzyna Lively

Janis’ Story. Cancer. Comeback. Ferocity.

My career began as an English teacher, but while I loved the students, I felt frustrated with the subject matter. I was offered an opportunity to run a high school library and found that the interdisciplinary nature of the work was exactly what I liked. Over the past thirty years I’ve worked with students from pre-school to grad school, helping them find, evaluate, and assimilate information about every subject you can imagine. Since retiring from full-time work I’ve taught grad classes for Simmons College Library and Information Studies program and have supervised grad students when they go into schools to do their internships to become certified as library teachers.

When I retired one of my first priorities was getting back into shape. I’ve always been a walker, but I added Pilates classes to my routine. When Mindy’s classes moved to 50/50, I came along. Katie occasionally subbed for Mindy, and I, like everyone else in the classes, fell in love with her. She and Mindy collaborated on developing a TRX class that incorporated Pilates principles, so I added that to my exercise schedule.

Two years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Although I had planned to keep exercising throughout treatment, I had several complications and by the time I was out of treatment I felt like I had lost every muscle in my body. Among other things, I developed thoracic outlet syndrome and weak, sore knees. I went to PT, got stronger, and started working with a personal trainer at 50/50, Michael McCarthy. I enthusiastically went back to my walking, pilates and TRX, but overdid it and ended up with more aches and pains.

Again, I went to PT, but it didn’t help, so I came back to 50/50 and started working with Brittany. She has been amazing. Brittney has taught me how to use the right muscles for each exercise instead of having my back, neck or knees do all the work. It has made a huge difference and I feel stronger and more confident about my ability to exercise without reverting to the old cycle of overdoing it and hurting myself. One of the most unexpected, fun parts of training is punching Bob! I never thought I was the kind of person who could hit something, but after I threw my first punch my inner boxer jumped out! I love it! It makes me feel strong, fierce, and indomitable!

This fall my husband and I are traveling to Tanzania for a safari and in March I am to England with my book group. Our group has been together for 35 years and we always talked about doing a trip together. Now that we are retired, our time has come.

I have stayed with 50/50 Fitness/Nutrition over the years because of the skillful, engaging, fun staff and the sense of community you have built. I feel like I am coming in to talk with friends and have a good time. There is a wonderful mix of ages and a great environment. I’ve gone to a lot of different exercise places over the years. I found the level of teachers to be uneven and the atmosphere felt cold and anonymous. 50/50 is the exact opposite. It’s a pretty remarkable place.

-Janis Wolkenbreit


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