Ben Petre, MD
I started with DB 10 months ago as a way to motivate myself to get up in the morning and go to the gym. I used to dread those mornings, because I could not do anything. Pushups, pull-ups, any weightlifting, they all seemed insurmountable. Now my mornings at Dauntless working out with DB have become a favorite part of my week that I look forward to. I have noticed vast changes in my abilities, strength and endurance. DB helped me cut 30 minutes off of my personal best for an Olympic triathlon, I can now easily string together pushups, and although pull-ups are still challenging, I am getting there!
Here are some baseline lifts start/present
– Back Squat 85 to 225
– Front Squat 75 to 175
– Deadlift 155 to 260
– Bench Press 95 to 175
– Push Press 75 to 105
– Pull-ups 0 to 3
– 8” box jumps to 24”
A personal trainer?? For me? Personal trainers were for the physically elite, for big brawny young men with strength, muscle, and aspirations to some significant sports goal. I was a 53-year old woman in the middle of a major life transition, ready to give some modest attention to my physical wellbeing. I had been running – well, jogging, really – since I was diagnosed with breast cancer, four years earlier. I was also being treated for osteoporosis, low bone density. The genetic old woman’s disease had made hunchbacks of so many of my ancestors. I was told I could expect, at best, to maintain the low bone density levels I had. Improvement was rare, at least without daily injections. I had joined a gym and was given a free trial with a trainer, whom I thought would just demonstrate a few weight machines. I can still remember the morning I met Dale Barr. The world of my physical wellbeing has never been the same.
DB was not interested in demonstrating machines. He interviewed me, learned my physical goals and challenges, and proceeded to give me a “warm-up” that I could not complete. I was shocked. I could not handle five squats. It turns out running is not the complete exercise I had thought. It also turns out I had found the most wonderful trainer, one who would challenge me, would not limit me by pre-conceptions of what a 50-something woman could accomplish, but who always worked carefully so I would avoid injury. He introduced me to weight training, balance exercises, and cardio-interval conditioning.
My physical profile changed, gradually. I became a strong person – and not just physically. As I learned to trust, use, and value my body, I grew in confidence. I became happier with myself, with the world. I dead-lifted an old, heavy microwave oven, a task for which I would have “called in the men” in a pre-DB world. I can still remember the day. Because I had good form, and strength, the thing practically flew up in my arms. I had achieved a level of physical independence that few women my age can claim.
After one year with DB, with my bone density showing minor improvement, my doctor decided not to give me medication for the disease. He wanted to see how things developed. This October, my second year of personal training, my bone density improved, can you believe it, five percent! Those of you who suffer from osteoporosis will know that this is an unheard-of improvement, especially without fairly intense medication. I was over the moon. All those weighted back squats had changed my spine. DB’s confidence, his willingness to work with a senior woman, his care and concern, had accomplished what medical science could not. He works with anyone, regardless of age. He has extensive experience with young people, and his other clients feature some big brawny men. And me, a person no longer intimidated by the gym, whose future as a hunchback woman has been rewritten.
Jane A. Montvilas
DB is not only the best trainer I have ever worked with, but also a very good friend. Before working with DB I lacked the motivation to work out and generally did not look forward to coming to the gym. After just a few workouts with DB, I could honestly say that I really looked forward to our sessions. He has a rare ability to motivate his clients to push themselves to the max all with positive energy. DB genuinely cares about his clients, and makes sure he understands their strengths and weaknesses. He is also the first person at the gym to welcome his clients, and get them instantly in a great mood and ready to hit it.
DB also works closely with his clients to achieve their specific goals. As I prepared to do my first triathlon a few years ago, DB tailored workouts to ensure I was working the right areas of my body, building both strength and endurance. He also was mindful of some challenges I had after going through knee surgery. I was able to do my workouts while rehabbing and had no setbacks in my recovery.
After many years of working out with DB, I can say that today I have never felt better physically. I strongly recommend DB to anyone looking for personal training. I will personally mis him, but I know there will be many people who will benefit from his amazing ability and dedication to his clients.”
DB has been my trainer for the last 18 months. Initially, I was just looking to get into decent shape and maybe shed a few pounds. I’d workout with DB a few times a week but after awhile I felt this wasn’t enough. About 9 months ago, we decided to get more serious about my training. I got a body scan and found that my body fat was 28%… ugh.
DB helped me change my diet and my workouts. We put in a lot of work over the next 6 months. In addition to the cross training we were already doing, we included upper and lower body weight training. I went in for another scan and my body fat was under 18%.
If you’re like me, you are looking for tangible results. DB got me where I wanted to be. I feel great and DB shakes up our workouts enough to make them enjoyable. His music is great too… which is definitely important to me.”
I have trained with DB for 5 years. I was 51 years old, overweight and had not worked out in 10 years. He had his hands full. Over 5 years, he helped me find my inner athlete and lose 70 lbs to boot. DB is the ideal trainer. He finds your weaknesses and strengths, which allows him to figure out the perfect training session. He incorporates strength, core and cardio in a way that is fun … even when you’ve sweated buckets and burned over 600 calories in an hour. Being prone to knee, ankle & shoulder issues, he watches closely to make sure my form is correct and is very alert to any sign that I might be overdoing it. He even took the time to monitor my food logs, which aided me in finding the right eating plan that worked for me. With his encouragement and training, over the past 4 years I’ve competed in ten 5K, two 10K’s and a 15K Race. And I will be competing in my first Half Marathon in Omaha at the end of September. Those of us in Chicago, who have had the privilege of training with him, will miss him tremendously.”
Choosing to train with DB two years ago was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. I would go through ups and downs with my weight and working out for years, never finding a workout I actually enjoyed and finding people that loved working out crazy. DB has changed all of that for me! Since starting with DB I have lost 25 pounds, 5% body fat and 30 points on my cholesterol test. As I always tell my friends, he is a trainer, weight watchers counselor and a therapist rolled into one. His knowledge, motivational skills and words of encouragement cannot be compared. I’ve seen him work with top class athletes or beginners like myself and he comes up with challenging and different workouts for all of us. I never thought I would look forward to working out but going to training is actually my favorite time of the week now! DB knows when I need to be pushed and also knows when he needs to make me smile, which he constantly does! I highly recommend DB as a trainer to anyone that wants to improve their workouts, their health or just wants a change in their daily routines. You will never be disappointed.”
When I first met DB, I was part of a group training session and he was my trainer. Now, I’ve had personal trainers before, taken classes, worked out to DVDs, etc., but never trained in a group atmosphere — so needless to say, I was a bit nervous. How was I going to keep up with everyone else? Is my form right? Who’s going to be watching me? Where is my cupcake?
But all of those fears soon melted away when, while doing my warm-up exercise machine, DB walked over to me and told me my form was wrong. He showed me the correct way to “do the move” and my “form fear” soon melted away. Later, while looking around at my fellow trainees, I noticed there were a couple of young women and men in my group of 4, but I felt up to the challenge – heck I got up at 4:00 a.m. to do this, so there was no turning back. Needless to say, DB gave us our workout instructions and adjusted various moves to my beginner status. As we all took to our assigned routines, DB watched each of us individually, gave us a few pointers and then walked on to the next person. Always moving, always watching. Now, I’ve watched a lot of TV shows and not once did DB yell and scream at us to “keep it moving”, nor did any of us cry out of frustration, pain or fear. In fact, when I was finished with my session with DB, I felt great! That day. Two days later, I felt every muscle that DB intended for me to work. Muscles that I didn’t know I had! As time moved on, I felt as though my body craved working out. DB had successfully woken up my muscles and made them aware that they should be used for something other than holding up a drink.
All kidding aside, DB is very personable, attentive, innovative and encouraging. All of the things that you would want on the other side of a dumbbell. If I mention that something is hurting, he always adjusts my routine. The most memorable morning I had working out with DB was when he entered me in the fireman challenge. I would watch people drag a 130 lb. dummy 50 yards, do burpees and run and push weights across the floor and think, Wow, I wish I could try that, and then I did…. DB told me that I would be doing the challenge that morning. I was scared, doubtful and scared (did I mentioned doubtful or scared?) but DB had faith in me that I was up to the challenge. In fact, during the entire time, I was hauling, lifting and panting, I could hear DB in the background cheering me on. When I completed the challenge, there wasn’t a friend, family member or coworker that didn’t know about it. I even tried calling the Chicago Tribune but they were not interested. I was so proud that I had accomplished this and touched that my trainer knew I could do it all along. DB is going to be sorely missed in Chicago and now I understand why the contestants on the Biggest Loser cry when their trainer is switched on them or leaves the show. Chicago’s loss is Maryland’s gain.”
Dale is a terrific personal trainer who takes great pride in the quality of his work. His clients should know that Dale will go the distance to connect with them on a level above the usual trainer/client relationship. He truly brings the best out in you and actually makes working out fun as crazy as that seems. He has an ability to adapt to his surroundings and learns quickly, is able to read a person and determine their strengths and weaknesses. I cannot say enough about him as a trainer but more importantly as a person. He will undoubtedly excel in his profession. I recommend anyone that wants to get in shape to give him a call. Two dumbbells up for Dale!”
Dale’s top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Expert
As a young professional new to the city, with my busy full time job and a hectic travel schedule, I found plenty of excuses not to exercise. I started working with DB at Train with Ron because I needed someone to motivate and inspire me to stay on track with my exercise goals. He takes personal training to an exciting new level that involves much more than the traditional gymsweat routine, by incorporating new elements to keep your focus. DB clearly possesses a wealth of knowledge which he freely shares with his clients. He is funny and personable, but very serious about keeping you on track. He wants to see you succeed and in turn you don’t want to let him down! One thing is for sure, my results speak for itself!”
Dale’s top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Expert
I can not say enough about the wonderful experience I’ve had training with Dale. Not only is he very instructive and creative in his approach,but the effectiveness of working with him is extrordinary. I thought I was in pretty decent shape, but he took me to a whole new level. I really appreciate his approach and his ability to motivate me to push myself. I recommend anyone trying to improve their strength, speed and over all physical well being to give him a shot. You will be shocked how quickly you’ll see results.”
Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Good Value