Photo by Benjamin Margalit/Margalit Studio

Cardio training at Brecksville’s Fitness Together


Published: 07/18/2016

by Patricia Nugent

Five years ago, Keith P. of Brecksville was in a need of a real boost, and it came in the form of a thoughtful Father’s Day gift from his wife, Grace.


“She bought me a few workouts with a trainer at Fitness Together,” he says. “After undergoing six grueling months of chemotherapy to combat cancer, I was left exhausted, drained and barely able to pick up our active two-year-old daughter. My wife was wondering if I was ever going to get my energy back.”


This year, 40-something Keith is in the best shape of his life, heaving 100-pound dumbbells and going through a rigorous five-day-per-week training regimen.


“I come here so much because I love it,” he says. “The trainers are ultra professional and motivating. They push me harder than I ever would push myself. I never know what sort of exercise they are going to throw at me.”


Focusing on Heart Health

As a doctor, a kidney specialist, Keith is well aware of the importance of cardiovascular health to a person’s overall wellness.


He was thrilled to take part in the studio’s new Cardio Together program, which harmonizes cardio and strength training. 


“My trainers are great at mixing up different exercises to elevate my heart rate, yet they are functional and fun, such as different moves with kettlebells and medicine balls,” he says.


Amanda Ricci, who is one of his trainers and has a background in cardiac rehab, favors free-form movements that are easier on joints than repetitive ones, such as jogging on a treadmill.


The Cardio Together program is part educational and part functional. Clients learn everything from how often to get their heart moving to how much and for how long.


During the program’s initial cardiovascular consultation, the trainers explain the principals of FITT training (frequency, intensity, timing and type). Not all cardio is created equally, explains Sean Sullivan, Fitness Together owner and trainer. He says often clients report walking for an hour as their cardio, but that might not even push the heart rate where it needs to be pushed for beneficial results.


“We teach people how to monitor the zones of how hard their heart is working,” he says. “Each target zone has a goal, whether it’s fat burning or endurance training.”


Clients chart their cardio in a journal that helps trainers further customize a program that’s most beneficial for their health and meets their individual needs.


Sean mentions that as trainers they are especially excited to be able to now track clients’ cardio outside of the studio as well as inside, as clients wear a heart rate monitor that’s synched to the trainers’ system. During workouts at the studio, trainers monitor each client via a tablet to ensure they are hitting the zones they should be for optimum results.


Some benefits of the program people are already realizing include:

• Improved cardiovascular and respiratory functions;
• Improved metabolism and circulatory functions;
• Improved body composition (less fat, more lean muscle);
• Improved energy and an overall feeling of wellness;
• Increased performance, strength and endurance;
• Lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.


“Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America,” says Sean. “So we are thrilled to offer this preventive heart-healthy program to our clients.”


An Elite Level 

Each of the private training suites at Fitness Together is outfitted with the latest equipment, from cardio machines to TRX suspension bands, battle ropes, medicine and stability balls and weights geared toward both individual and small-group sessions.


“It’s all about accountability and results,” Sean says. “Once people see the big difference our customized level of training makes in their lives, they enjoy sticking with us. Most of our clients have been with us for years.”


Joining Sean, the other nationally certified trainers at the studio include Adam Teplitz, Lisa Clark, Brooke Kratche, Amanda Ricci, Justin Traft, Kelly Bailey and Michael Roberto.


In addition to Cardio Together, the forward-thinking studio also offers a science-based counseling program, Nutrition Together. Without prescribed meals or sup-plements, the goal is to basically change the way people eat through educational sessions that range from how to eat light to grocery shopping, dining out and establishing healthy eating behaviors.


“With a nutritionist on staff to work with our clients, this program has produced terrific results,” adds Sean. “It’s the perfect complement to training for an extra edge, and to help them look great and feel better.”


Fitness Together is located at 8251 Chippewa Road in the back of the Heinen’s Plaza in Brecksville. Hours are Monday–Friday, 5 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday, 6 a.m.-3 p.m.; and Sunday, 7 a.m.-1 p.m. For more information, call 440-550-4862, or visit