David E. Fresilli is the owner of Holistic Health and Fitness a new health and fitness studio in Ashland, Oregon. David is a corrective exercise specialist and holistic lifestyle coach who has based his professional career around his passion for developing optimum health by integrating the spirit, mind, and body to bring about lasting health and fitness.
David holds certifications from The C.H.E.K Institute as a Holistic Health Practitioner, & CHEK Exercise Practitioner, The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) as a Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist, and Performance Enhancement Specialist, along with a certification from Body Arts and Science in Pilates. He has spent the last ten years saturating himself in training and studying numerous forms of fitness. Dave is constantly expanding his knowledge and abilities through continual studies in nutrition, self-development, and all forms of health and wellness, that will enhance his client’s results. Now here in Ashland David E. Fresilli brings his comprehensive health modalities into his cutting edge fitness studio.
I spoke with Dave and learned more about his new studio, his approach, and the services he has to offer.
Dave, thanks for speaking with us today, you offer a very extensive health and fitness program that offers much more than simple workouts and nutrition plans. Can you please introduce us to your program?
I would love to. When a client works with us we look deeply into all the challenges the body is dealing with. For instance a client may come to us because they have low back pain or want to lose weight, or are recovering from an injury, or want to reach higher levels of fitness. They may also be dealing with other health challenges that aren’t being resolved. So each client is evaluated for all issues, and protocols are then designed to correct them. These protocols include mobilizations, stretches, corrective exercises, lifestyle recommendations and if needed, we refer clients out to other health practitioners such as massage therapists, physical therapists, and NUCCA chiropractors.
How are your fitness program different say from that of a physical therapist or personal trainer?
Physical therapists are fantastic at reducing pain, restoring function, and mobility. In most cases you must have your doctor give you a prescription for physical therapy for a specific issue let’s say shoulder impingement. If you’re wanting to increase your fitness, lose weight, or are dealing with fatigue, digestive issues, or any number of other health issues the therapist will refer you back to you doctor, or possible someone else with expertise in this area.
Trainers are great, I am a trainer. When I first started I was finding that I couldn’t help most of my clients with any of their health challenges beyond getting stronger and losing some weight, and could only recommend they seek help from their doctors. It was frustrating. There were many cases when I couldn’t even get the clients to lose weight. I knew there had to be a reason, and I sought out the answers. Now I understand there can be many underlying reasons why clients don’t achieve the results, everything from stress to gut inflammation, to hormone imbalances, and in many cases these are all interrelated. Correcting these issues is part of what our clients learn. This is the level I work with clients. Everything is taken into consideration.
What are most clients looking for when they first start working with you and what are some of the immediate results that many might experience as a result?
Most clients who work with us are dealing with several health and fitness challenges. They want to get out of pain, feel better, get stronger, and lose weight. Most clients start feeling better soon after starting. There is increased energy, better digestion, pain starts to reduce, their posture improves, muscle and joint begin to correct. It’s really fun to see clients getting better and wondering how their digestion, hormones, food choices, and posture were affecting their other issues.
This is where it gets really fun for me, because it is fascinating how the body works and I get to be a detective of sorts. The evaluations cover postural issues, muscular imbalances, injuries, medical history, health and lifestyle, parasites and fungus, digestion, blood sugar regulation, hormones, circulation, and nervous system, cardiorespiratory, and a few more, depending on whether the client is male or female.
With the information from the evaluation we have a overlapping picture of what is happening internally and externally. I see the whole picture, and will then design the programs based on those finding, and what the client wants to achieve. Now what is important is as the client progresses we continue to re-evaluate and progress their program so they continually get healthier and fitter. It doesn’t work to have a client do the same program continually because there is no progress after a certain point. This is why it is important to continually advance the protocols as the client gets better and stronger.
Are all of your training / fitness programs 100% customized per individual client?
Each program and the protocols that go with them must be individualized because each client is different. There is no value to having a client follow a program that will not give them the desired results. Remember we are dealing with some folks who have pain, fatigue, digestive issues, immune disorders, allergies, along with musculoskeletal issues. Their program is going to be much different from the one designed for let’s say the UPS guy who has a shoulder impingement, tight hip flexors that are causing pain and an inverted breathing pattern. We are that specific with each and every client, down to sleep, hydration, recovery, food, even your mind set.
What are the different stages of training programs and how long do they range?
After the evaluation I design a corrective / stabilization program that will last between 8-12 weeks depending on the client and the severity of the issues. There are times when a client needs to be in this stage for longer periods. In this stage we are training the body to strengthen the joints, learn proper movement patterns, heal the gut, boost the immune system, relieve the stressor causing the issues, and move them out of pain. Think of this as building the foundation. If the joints aren’t stable and the muscles healthy, your not going to be able to do much before it falls apart again.
The next stage is a hypertrophy phase. This program ranges from 4-8 weeks and is design to build on the stability that was establish earlier. The client now begins to strengthen, tone, and build muscle, as they continue to progressively strengthen the internal systems, and reinforce and strengthen postural alignment.
There is a third phase, Power. Depending on the client they may move into this phase or rotate through the first two phases. This Phase may last three weeks. First I want to say that power is the ultimate condition we want to strive for. Let me explain so I don’t lose anyone. Power is relative to each person. Most people hear power training & they think they are going to be doing Olympic lifts and that seem frightening except for those heavy lifters. Power is about being as strong as you can regardless of your size. So what does that mean… I have a perfect example. Football players train for power, and we see how big and muscular they are, right? Well how many of us want to be like that. I know no women do, and thank goodness for that. But what about Olympic figure skaters? Those tiny feminine bodies gliding over the ice, then suddenly they launch themselves through the air spinning 2,3,4 times and landing on ONE LEG! Now that’s Power. Power isn’t about being big, it’s about using all the muscle you have. And by the way those female figure skater are in the gym several times a week with their trainer doing some serious power training along with stabilization and hypertrophy phases.
It’s such a vast list, but here goes. Joint pain, muscle imbalances, injuries, poor posture causing pain and dysfunction, gut disorders such as leaky gut, food intolerances, and allergies, TMJ, cervical spine issues, thoracic outlet syndrome, diabetes, self sabotage, not being able to follow through, parasites and fungal infections. I have worked with all these issues.
In reality most of them come down to one cause. Are you ready… the body is unable to heal itself and so health problems begin to manifest. Think of your immune system. 85% or more of your immune system resides in your gut. When the immune system is overburdened and cannot keep up it begins to break down. The more it breaks down the more susceptible the body is to stress, injury, illness, parasites, fungus, disease you name it.
Your background in corrective exercise offers you several advantages you simply won’t find elsewhere can you please talk about this?
The best way would be to describe a program. Let’s say a woman with upper back pain, feels tired but jittery, constipation, low back pain, and knee pain from playing field hockey as a teenager. Milk makes her sick, and when she eats certain foods like Chinese takeout she gets terrible headaches. Her goals are to lose 30 pounds and have no pain. All her friends say that working out will help. She joined a gym and tried on her own but her knees and back were then killing her so she stopped. She’s tried many different diets and they work for a while then the weight comes back on. The doctor said she is pre-diabetic, has hypertension and her cholesterol is getting high enough that he wants her on meds. She feels like she’s falling apart and doesn’t know what to do. She hates the thought of taking medications but she’s about to give in.
We do the evaluation and discover she has a gut dysbiosis, causing the food intolerance to dairy and causing the constipation, the Chinese takeout contains MSG causing her neurological reaction, she is drinking coffee, and soda to keep her energy up and has a tendency to over do it occasionally, causing adrenal fatigue. Her postural assessment show moderate Thoracic Kyphosis (over flexion of the upper spine) causing her upper back pain, and her evaluation shows SI Joint instability causing the low back pain, tight quadriceps, with femoral torsion, causing medial rotation at the knee. Her movement assessment demonstrates she has little experience in proper form of exercises, and she states she usually just takes classes, or does what she sees everyone else doing.
We look at her food intake and it is mostly processed foods, and carbohydrates, yet she feels she eats pretty healthy.
As a Holistic health and lifestyle coach and Corrective Exercise Specialist, I take all this information and design a program for her to correct all these issues, so she is not only getting healthy and fit but also losing the weight, and getting herself in great shape. While all this is happening she learns all about posture, how her body works, and how to keep her body health and fit.
You mention that form is critical to correcting dysfunctions. Can you give us an example?
This will be fun. Now before we start I always tell my client’s posture is first and foremost, then form, then breathing. It is important to have good postural alignment before you can do a exercise correctly without putting undue stress on the musculoskeletal system. We’ll take a simple exercise for example a squat. It is common to see knee collapsing toward the center, Hips shifting to one side, low back either rounding or extending to much, upper back rounding neck and head driving forward. all these discrepancies are causing stress in the joints and vertebrae, and on the tendons, ligaments, and muscles. Now compound that squat by the number of times it is done, and that person, the next day if not sooner; will be complaining of pain in those area.
Every time you do a repetition, you are training your brain “this is the way it should be done.” If you are not doing it correctly for proper function, you are creating a dysfunction movement pattern that is being entrained. Then when I work with clients and have them try to do it correctly it take a bit of retaining to teach the nervous system the proper way.
When we first spoke on the phone you shared your enthusiasm about living in Ashland and wanting to support it in being one of the healthiest towns in America. Will you say more about this?
I moved my studio to Ashland because of the people, and the mountains. For most of us it is about being with like minded people, and I found that right away by visiting Ashland over the past four years. There is such a current of health and wellbeing in Ashland that I had to be a part of it. The thought of being part of one of the healthiest towns in America would be such fantastic goal for all of us. When we use the word holistic or integrative most people have an understanding and are open to how important it is. I love sharing my passion for health and fitness and it makes it so much more exciting when I am in an environment where so many believe health and staying fit needs to be a part of their lifestyle.
Dave your work really goes so much deeper than just physical exercise. Let’s talk about about the mind spirit connection to body and how you work with this aspect in your program?
To be a fully integrated being, I like to remind clients they are spiritual beings having a human experience. We lose our conscious awareness, forgetting we are actually our higher selves, and we fall prey to the weight of our daily lives thinking we have no control over what is happening. So to reconnect, I like to bring meditation, Tia Chi, and breath awareness into a clients practice. This can help a great deal with stress, and allow the client to start reconnecting with the inner self. This in turn allows the client to see beyond the present results of their life, and begin to create a new vision for their life. This affects the body physiologically by putting it onto a parasympathetic state, a state of healing. Developing a mindset that supports the clients desired results can then be established with greater ease. This mind set or paradigms, will lead the client into having the motivation, persistence and determination, along with a positive attitude that they can and will achieve their desired results.
So the overall goal for me is to help the client develop the spirit, mind and body of a happy, healthy, fit, successful person, who knows they can and will achieve what they desire by focusing on the outcome and taking the steps to create it. This is why I say it is a lifestyle. It’s more than exercise, its’ more than food, it’s more than mind set, its all of them combined.
In your experience why do people fail when they try to make changes in their health and fitness?
I write about this quite a bit because it is in most cases the main factor to whether you will create what you want in life. Most people truly want to get better, healthier, fitter, but they will mention not having the time, energy, or desire to do the work. The culprit could be their paradigms. Paradigms are the habitual programs which control how we think, feel, and act towards each and every moment in our lives. Many folks have directly or indirectly conditioned themselves to think in such a way that it causes them not to take the actions, and even when they do, shortly after they find themselves sabotaging their efforts with thoughts of ” this is to hard, or oh why bother, I’m not good enough” or any number of other reasons so they can stop. We see this in professional athletes just as we do with the average person. Once we become aware that we can change our paradigms, or simply put, how we think about something, we can make the changes. Your mind in this sense is a muscle that can and should be developed to give you the results you desire. We coach clients to realize their old paradigms how they are stopping them, and how to change them.
On the inverse what quality do you see in people when they succeed?
My Clients are the people who are truly wanting and ready to get healthy and are ready to put in the time and focus to do the programs. They are ready to step up and get the results they are desiring. The clients who come to me have real fitness and health challenges. Some are dealing with muscular / skeletal pain, others weight issues, chronic pain syndromes, arthritis, fibromyalgia, posture issues, gut issues causing so many other health challenges. Others are just ready to get in the best shape of their lives, or get ready for an athletic endeavor, maybe run a marathon or get ready for a competition. They all have one thing in common. They want and are ready to do the work to achieve their goal. When you are ready to do something you will do it and you will follow through. You are without knowing it, changing your paradigms to create the results you desire. The person who is looking for a quick fix is still looking for someone else to do it for them. My passion is to educate and show clients how to do it so they can then do it for themselves.
What has been your own key to success in overcoming any challenges you have personally faced?
I was a very sickly kid. I suffered from major gastric issues from infancy till my early twenties. It was debilitating. chronic fatigue, joint pain, I had difficulty focusing and learning, Attention deficit before they knew what it was, I was that tired but wired runny nose kid, with severe allergies. The reason I tell you this is because my success in healing myself was born out of the frustration that no one else was helping me. Not the doctors, not my parents. I had nowhere to turn but me. So I stepped up (sound familiar) and began learning why my body was turning on me. I was astounded to find out that so many of my issues while seeming different, were all coming from my gut dysbiosis. I found out that I had a leaky gut, and sought out protocols for resolving the issue. I overcame all of those health challenges and learned a valuable lesson. Success comes from making a committed decision and having the dedication and deep desire to achieve what you want. I have used this formula to create everything in my life.
Can you tell us about a recent success story?
I love this story it is actually a testimonial on the website. So I will let Laura tell you herself.
“When I met Dave Fresilli a year and a half ago, I could barely move without pain. I had so many issues, I was afraid to list them: profound scoliosis (curvature of the spine), an injury to the sacroiliac joint for which I’d already been in physical therapy for a year, a frozen shoulder, and a diagnosis of fibromyalgia to account for the pain I experienced at the mere touch to my hips and legs. I was so out of shape that I could barely do three squats. Dave was undaunted, and set out to design a painstaking, long-range plan for my rehabilitation and reconditioning that would rebuild my strength from the inside out. What he accomplished is miraculous: Today I am out of pain and, at 56, I’m in better shape than I have been in over 20 years. I’m as impressed with my measurable increase in strength (I can lift 185 lbs – way beyond my body weight) as I am with the change in body tone (I dropped from size 12 to size 8 without realizing it). By the way, the “fibromyalgia” cleared up after 2 weeks on probiotics.
Dave is much more than a Personal Trainer; his level of knowledge about the science of the body, from the mechanics of movement to nutrition, is exceptional. He meets his clients’ needs with dedication, and attends to their varying levels of ability with compassion and skill. Moreover, he makes it fun! He’s the friendliest guy at the gym, the one everyone knows and loves.
I can’t recommend Dave more highly. He has the skill to help you recover and rejuvenate. With these words, he challenged me and made me realize my hopes: “Surprise yourself!” I encourage you to sign up with Dave and do the same.”
Tell us about the relationships you have with your clients.
It truly is a close relationship I form with a client. I get to express and share my passion and skills for health and fitness. I share my own past struggles openly so clients know I have had to overcome health issues. On the other side of the coin, clients open up their lives and trust me to coach them towards their goals. There is a high level of trust on both side of the relationship. How awesome is it to be able to coach people to create real health and fitness in their lives, do what I love to do and have a successful business doing so. What could be better.
How do we go about learning more about your services?
I make it easy for everyone. Folks can go to the website, and send an email, or call, they can even stop by and say hello. We will make an appointment for a free consult and I can answer all questions so we feel completely comfortable working together.
Do you have an open house or special events coming up?
There will be seminars and workshops going almost every month, and the best way to learn about these is to sign up on the website and I will send out a notice to you. I will be teaming up will many different practitioners in Ashland and we will cover interrelated subjects on health and fitness that I work with, from fundamental factors of health and wellness to Ayurvedic medicine, NUCCA Chiropractic, form and function of exercise, nutrition, hormones, sports performance, and more.
Holistic Health And Fitness
2205 Ashland Street Unit 102A
Ashland, Oregon 97520