Whether it be stress from his home remodel, work or anything else, Mike Nilsson’s first reaction is to head to the Center for Health & Fitness

When Mike Nilsson decided to remodel his Hermosa Beach home about two years ago, he couldn’t have planned for the stress that was going to come along with it. Luckily for him, he’s found a healthy stress outlet —Small Group Training, or as he refers to it “the crazy Jason group,” at the Center for Health & Fitness (CHF). 

Ironically, Mike’s journey at CHF didn’t begin with Small Group Training —he became a member to be able to take the Pilates classes a friend had recommended. At the time, Mike was looking to lose weight and strengthen his core. Through his Pilates classes, he accomplished both goals and to his amazement, recalls that Pilates was also able to “get his stomach flat like no other.” Fifteen years later, Mike no longer practices Pilates, but he is thankful that it led him to his Small Group Training with Trainer Jason Bautista.

“Two and a half years ago, I got Jason and my group, and it works,” declared Mike. “My relationship with Jason is great, he’s one of the best trainers I’ve ever seen in my life. He really motivates everybody and he’s so sincere and so into it, everybody loves it.”

Aside from his love for Small Group Training, Mike has found that working out at CHF mitigates the stress he’s taken on from his home construction. “Some parts of redoing the house have actually made me physically ill and exercise has helped me to deal with it,” Mike explained. “My wife uses healthy cooking as a way to deal with the stress and I come here.”

The remodel is close to finished, but as of now, the Nilsson’s are living in one side of their duplex, a small house right next door to the construction mess. Now more than ever, Mike considers his mid-day exercises just as important to his routine as eating or sleeping and looks forward to them all morning.  “I’m dragging in the morning until I get here,” he laughed. “I’m definitely more productive at work after the gym since the exercise gets my heart and body going.”

Mike works for a small startup and says on average he puts in about 50 hours of work each week. Even with his heavy workload, he never misses Small Group Training. “You need work life balance,” said Mike. “I suggest to everyone that they go to the gym! I have to go in the middle of the day, but everyone can find a time that works for them.”

If it were just going to the gym to work out on the machines, Mike admitted that he wouldn’t do it. “That’s why I stress the importance of getting in a class, or getting a trainer,” said Mike. “You need that guided exercise and discipline. The instructors here are top notch so take advantage and let them help you.”

Though he is hoping to add Pilates and possibly yoga to his workout schedule and de-stress regime, Mike has found a home base in his Small Group Training and insists that he would never give it up. “Even though I have a home gym, I still wanted to get a membership here just for the group training,” he added. “I’ve never been through anything like it and I enjoy the variety of exercises we do in group. It keeps me on my toes.”

Since working out at CHF, Mike boasts that he no longer needs to take Advil for arthritis in his hands. Even better, his back aches have disappeared, his bunions are no longer giving him pain when he walks and he claims his mental health is much sharper. He considers himself and many of the other CHF members to be in great shape.

“It’s just so inspiring to see everyone out there working out at CHF, even some in their 90’s around here!” he marveled. “I think it’s really cool because these people are out here working at it and I truly hope that’s me at age 90.”

For now, Mike will continue to encourage his wife, children and friends to add a little exercise into their busy schedules. He reminds his children that if he can do it at age 64, they can do it at 30! “I’ve made exercise a pretty big piece of my life and I don’t think I’ll ever give it up,” he affirmed. “It’s like coming home and eating dinner to me, it’s not even a question.”