In our interview last year Dave Fresilli had just moved to Ashland. He opened his health and fitness studio Holistic Health and Fitness and was starting to reach out to the community. Dave’s passion for health and wellness has been infectious, from his immediate involvement with the Ashland Chamber of Commerce and BNI to his alliance building and networking with local practitioners. Dave Fresilli has engaged Ashland and Ashland has taken hold. This might explain his ability to create a thriving new practice with positive and enthusiastic word of mouth referral. Who is Dave Fresilli… and why is Ashland poised to be one of the healthiest towns in America?
I traveled to Holistic Health and Fitness to ask him.
Dave, wow… so a year has gone by since we last spoke. You’ve made incredible progress with your business. Word of mouth referral has been hot and your clients are achieving great results.
Ashland is such a special place when it comes to health and fitness. There is a concentration of so many practitioners in different modalities all doing great work for the community. It was my intention to become a part of this and share my skills with those looking for a fully integrated system of health and wellness. It has been a wonderful experience this last year starting from scratch, and seeing the overwhelming response that I have received from doctors and other practitioners who refer clients to my work. Once I was able to work with my first few clients they began referring friends and family members who were dealing with an assortment of health and fitness challenges. They would ask me, “Can you help my husband he’s got a bad knee and low back, and takes Advil like they are candy?”, or “I have a friend who can never lose weight and has severe degenerative disc issues in her neck,” or “My wife is afraid of doctors but knows she has to get help can you talk to her?” The questions about helping people are vast and varied and the answer is always, “If people want to get better and willing to do the work, I can help them and want to talk with them.”
It’s actually pretty simple what I do with clients. So simple for some that when I show clients their programs they seem confused and ask if they should be doing more. However, when they start feeling less pain and getting stronger, they begin to trust in the process.
Dave can you tell us about your training and experience? What is a C.H.E.K Practitioner? How are you different than say a personal trainer, life coach or health practitioner?
Well in a very simplistic way I am all of them rolled up into one plus a few more thrown in. It is challenging for clients to fully grasp the depth of what I teach. Yes it is about exercise, everything from corrective exercise such as post rehabilitation, postural correction, and kinesiology, to functional fitness, and summating in elite performance enhancement for athletes. At the same time there is guidance with understand nutrition and the foods that are best for each client, to lifestyle enhancement, and coaching the client to become aware and then put into practice how the mind works to bring about the results desired. The final aspect of working with a client is to help them realize they/we are all integrated beings with three interdependent aspects to our personalities. We are Spirit, Mind, and Body. For us to be fully integrated human beings we must take care of all three aspects and understand the importance of each aspect and how it relates to the health and well being of the whole.
I began twenty years ago as a personal trainer, but wasn’t able to help my clients with the litany of health issues they were presenting to me. It was frustrating because I was still dealing with my own health issues. I began to study and try protocols on myself to see if they would help. It was a lot of trial and error. Then by chance I was told about the C.H.E.K Institute as a high level program in which an integrated holistic approach to health and fitness was offered. I did some research and was sold immediately. I began the program and over the span of seven years I saturated myself in the protocols taught to develop my knowledge, skills and abilities. The C.H.E.K Institute (corrective, holistic, exercise, kinesiology) is a world-class program for all health professional who are seeking to develop an integrated approach to health and fitness. We look at each person as an interdependent sum of all the parts. Not just muscles and bones, tendons and ligaments, but also the viscera (organs systems) emotions (limbic system) energy systems and psychological and spiritual state.
That sounds like a lot doesn’t it? Well it is. As a C.H.E.K practitioner we view the words holistic and integrated to mean addressing the entire person and how each system is being affected. For instance, someone with low back pain, which is very common, could be diagnosed with a list of possible causes for the pain. However to point the finger just at one diagnosis and say that’s the cause is ignoring a possible deeper reason for the pain. Gut inflammation causes inhibition of the core musculature, which in turns causes spinal instability (what we refer to as a naked spine). Going deeper food intolerances among other things cause gut inflammation. Deeper even still, stress will cause digestive issues causing inflammation.
This deeper investigation we call finding the mother of the issue. So in this hypothetical case the obvious outer condition or sister of the pain is actually being driven by stress which is causing digestive issues along with food intolerances which together causes inflammation in the gut, which is causing inhibition of the core musculature, which is causing a lack of segmental spinal stability (a naked spine) that led to the low back pain. So in helping stabilize the lumbar spine not only do we want to include corrective exercise but also help the client reduce stress, and get rid of the foods the gut is intolerant to. Otherwise, all the core conditioning in the world is not going to permanently resolve the low back pain.
It is fascinating how the body works and how it is affected and affects our state of being.
If I am correct you have just received the highest-level certification, which makes you one of only 15 individuals in the United States who has achieved this level of training from the C.H.E.K Institute?
This last certification goes in-depth in helping clients overcome deep seeded beliefs and values that are prohibiting them from achieving their health and fitness goals. It ties all of the previous work together into a well-formed process to help the client break free from their limiting actions and achieve the results they have always wanted. It also gives us the tools to coach the client into realizing their highest dreams and desires and that they are perfectly capable of achieving them. Part of being at this level is being an effective coach. You see each one of us has an amazing body, mind, and spirit. It is a crime that most of us have been conditioned to believe we are so much less than our true potential. I want my clients, oh my gosh, I want everyone to wake up to how beautiful and amazing they are, and the only thing in their way from becoming what they truly want to be is their limiting beliefs in who they believe themselves to be.
Think about the mindset an Olympic athlete must have to compete. They train tens of thousands of hours just to compete for a few short minutes, sometime just seconds. They must believe they are amazing, unstoppable, the best of the best. Do you think they could have gotten to the pinnacle of their event, if they didn’t believe in themselves as the best? You must become that which you desire to be in your consciousness first, before you will transform yourself physically.
I am now in a position to become an instructor for the Institute, while at the same time continuing to help clients in my practice. I have expanded my business to coaching clients around the globe, and will now be offering workshops and seminars locally so I can reach more of my fellow Ashlander’s. I am also looking for a few trainers who want to expand their knowledge so they can begin to help their clients at a higher level.
Dave, aside from your training and knowledge you yourself have a passion for this stuff. Lifestyle, living well, maintaining a positive approach to life is central for you. Can you say more about this?
I mentioned in our first interview that I was a sickly kid. It affected my whole childhood up into my early twenties and caused a lot of grief. I put a lot of time into getting myself better through trial and error, and I made my way into health and wellness at a level that is full of youthfulness, vitality, and vibrancy. We can even throw in a whole bunch of love and happiness. Yes I am passionate about living a lifestyle of happiness, health, and wellness. I cannot take it for granted, because I remember all too clearly what it felt like to be sickly.
We all know what it is like to fall in love. It is incredible isn’t it? You are filled with childlike energy and hopefulness and everything seems possible. Well when you develop the right mindset, condition your body to be healthy and strong, clear out all the limiting beliefs of fear and unworthiness, and open yourself up to the realization that all you are looking for in the outside world is and has always been inside you, then life becomes just like being in love because you are. You will have a passion for your life. You will see all that your life has to offer and you will want to share it with everyone around you.
In our interview last year we focused more on the technical aspects of your work, but I am curious to learn more about you as a person. Where did you come from and what has inspired you to do the work you do?
I grew up in Connecticut on the shore. I have a very loving family. Four sisters and one brother, I am the third oldest. My dad worked constantly and we didn’t get to see him much so my mom was the one we relied on for guidance and support. I teased my sisters a lot, which hasn’t changed much even to this day.
I had three cousins who were much older than I and they were involved in bodybuilding. So you can imagine how a skinny, uncoordinated, runny nose kid with digestive issues would be affected being around his cousins who looked like Greek gods. I looked up to them and just wished somehow, someday I could find a way to transform myself.
You know as a goofy little kid with these health challenges you fantasize about being a super hero or maybe that was just me. I was fascinated by Jack Lalanne, Bruce Lee, and Olympic athletes. All of these icons were symbols of health and fitness, which I aspired to become. The wonderful thing about being a child is we are still full of imagination of the possible. So you see my inspiration was my own desire to be healthy and fit. I didn’t know how to do it, but somehow deep inside this voice was saying follow this path.
Even more, today I have this same voice pushing me forward to share and help others. It wakes me in the morning and says, “How much better can you become as a practitioner, how much healthier can you personally become, how else can you touch people, what else can you do to express this passion?”
Early in your childhood and throughout your younger years you faced many trials and tribulations. You had some real suffering and had you not made a clear choice to change you wouldn’t be here with the health and wellness you have today?
I want folks to know that who I am today is something I dreamed of becoming. That is I dreamed of being a healthy, fit, happy person. I didn’t know how to heal myself. I tried and tried some more. Some things worked for a bit while others didn’t at all. I was learning as I went. The critical point is I made the choice to get better. Yes it was challenging and there were many times of frustration and sadness, and wanting to give up.
It’s important to know that now matter where you are in your health and wellness no matter how much you are still struggling, I have been there. I understand what it means when a client comes to me and says it to hard to stop eating all the junk food, it’s to hard to get up and do my stretches even though I feel so much better and my pain goes away when I do, I don’t want to have to think about all this breathing stuff, and I can’t stop thinking when I meditate.
This is why it’s so important for all of us to have a dream to achieve. It needs to be a big dream, one that scares you. When a dream is that big it holds a lot of power for you. It gives you purpose and you will not let go of it just because things get a little frustrating or challenging.
Every single one of you reading this must go deep inside and listen to the voice that is shouting at you, “You are so much more than what you are dealing with. You have the capabilities to transcend your present state of struggle and step forward into what you truly desire to be.” Yes it takes time and action, yes it takes believing in your higher self, and yes it takes conditioning your mind to focus only on the goal and not the frustrations. The only thing slowing you down from being what you desire is your lack of will to create it. However, when you step forward with boldness and let go of the fears, you will be self-empowered to make it happen. This is just some of what my clients experience when working at the studio.
Your C.H.E.K Level 4 Certification centered around the lifestyle component of health and wellness. Why is having a positive and healthy inner game just as vital as the outer game, and how are they both connected?
Oh this is the key to creating everything and anything in your life. We were never taught how our minds work. It’s so simple really, but we were conditioned to believe things just happen and we have to deal with them.
This is not how the mind of athletes and successful people are conditioned. No matter what type of success, these people believe at a deep level that they deserve to be and have success, happiness, health, and wealth. Someone who is healthy and fit in their subconscious beliefs knows themselves to be healthy and fit, and lives accordingly.
Goddard Neville writes, “You are that which you are conscious of being.” This is the reason why most folks do not reach their goals. They may start off well with lots of motivation, but as time goes on their consciousness of being is saying, “What are you doing this isn’t who we are?” This is when people sabotage themselves and when asked why they are doing that they say, “I don’t know.” This is also why people who lose incredible amounts of weight and change their lives only to gain the weight back. It is the same reason why most folks who win the lottery lose all the money shortly after. They are still in a consciousness of lack and literally can’t stop themselves from going back to who they were.
It seems crazy, but it is true. So we have to recondition our state of consciousness into believing we are what we desire to be if we are going to reach and sustain our goals. The best part about this is by conditioning the mind it makes the actions we take so much more enjoyable.
Something I have appreciated about meeting and speaking with you is that you are very welcoming to the opportunity of change. I don’t feel pressure and I don’t feel judgment. Please talk about the experience you seek to create for your clients.
Pressure and judgment, oh if we could all just let go of them, what a world we would live in. It’s hard though, not judging, not putting pressure on those in our lives so we can get what we want. Ah, but that is the key isn’t it? Once we recognize that when we are putting pressure on someone or something it is because we are trying to force our will so we can get what we want.
Judgment is really a tricky thing. It’s the ego trying to prove its existence by creating separation between others and ourselves. When we judge others we are actually pointing out things about ourselves we are unhappy with. So in reality we are in a state of self-judgment/ disappointment/ or pain. We see in others that which we don’t want to see in ourselves.
Do you want to get rid of judgment? It’s so easy. You have to start truly loving yourself. This is important. When you love yourself and embrace yourself, flaws and all you will then be able to embrace others. Many people reply back, “What do you mean I have to start loving myself, what good is that going to do? How is that going to help my body heal? Remember the concept that everything you are looking for in the outside world you must find within yourself? Well this is where it starts. Oh come on, what could it hurt? Nobody’s looking. Gaze into the mirror and tell yourself with a big smile, “I Love You.” Do it enough times and you will start to believe it and then watch what happens to your life.
Part of being a level 4 C.H.E.K practitioners is learning to love yourself so you can be fully present in a non-judgmental state. We are introduced to Marshall B. Rosenberg’s “Non Violent Communication, Byron Katie’s “The Work” and several other communication practices so we can move past not only our own blocks, but also be empathic with our clients.
Those are great insights you shared. You are also very unique because you seem to not only talk the talk but also walk the talk.
Happiness, health, and wellness are a lifestyle. What does that mean? It’s how you live your life. They are the choices you make that support being happy, healthy and well. I am so grateful that I am able to live this lifestyle and get to share it with others. How incredible it is to have a career in which everyday I am able to help people get stronger, healthier, heal themselves, and begin to realize the potential within them. I know this is my path in life, because the voice inside is joyfully laughing and saying this is what I’ve been telling you all along. This is who you are meant to be.
Walking my talk is critical to being an example for others. I can’t in all honesty ask my clients to eat well, drink plenty of water, get to bed on time, and do their stretches and exercises if I show up overweight, dehydrated, and tired and complain I didn’t feel like doing my workout. Is anyone really going to trust in my abilities to coach them?
Our bodies are direct reflections of our thoughts, actions, and lifestyle. Take care of your health and your body will radiate a healthy, vibrant energy. There are 6 components to health and wellness I teach all my clients. If you follow these guidelines the body will heal itself and grow stronger.
This is a powerful message Dave. Whatever the situation, wherever you are coming from, we all face challenges and it can be a very steep climb. To be present with these issues and really make that commitment to live a better life, this takes time.
We all have times when things aren’t going smoothly. No one escapes this. I know it’s hard and sometime heart wrenching. This is why it is so critical that you understand your potential. Even when things get rough if you have developed a mindset of positive reinforcing beliefs in yourself you will continue to persevere and move towards your goals. This makes the difference between succeeding and giving up.
It can get hard. Ask anyone who has succeeded, and they will tell you there were times they thought they would lose it all and they almost quit. I have worked with clients that have created billion-dollar businesses and even they had times when they had to mortgage their homes to make payroll. So many of my clients deal with severe pain, and severe weight issues and they struggle in the beginning to see results. Weeks can go by and they feel like little is happening yet I reassure them it is happening, just stay consistent and believe in yourself. Then as time goes by they start seeing and feeling results. It is all about making the committed decision to make it happen and stay consistent with your thoughts and actions.
Our body and mind need time and consistent influence towards what we want to achieve. There are a few numbers I will share with you. The first you probably know. It takes between 30 -40 days to change a behavior or habit. This is the time needed for the brain/nervous system to basically rewire itself to the new conditions you are putting it under. Whether it is to stop smoking, change your eating habits, or start an exercise program.
The second number is it takes between 300 -500 repetitions to establish a new motor pattern (think of learning how to jump rope) and it takes 3500-5000 repetitions to correct an improper motor pattern. The point is it takes time for the brain to reorganize established patterns of movement and behavior. The corrective actions must be daily and consistent.
You must believe in yourself enough to give yourself a real chance. A few weeks or months will never create lasting results in anything in life. You must make a committed decision to create the health, wellness, and life you have always desired. You want to be bold and courageous. You can do this. I’ve worked with hundreds of clients now and each one that decides to do what it takes achieves their goals.
If you’re thinking, “I don’t know if I can do it alone!” then pick up the phone, come see me and I will show you You can!
Yes my first year was about getting established and getting the groundwork completed. This year I am taking that bold step forward and getting out and speaking to groups and organizations about health, fitness, and wellness. I want to speak to as many groups as possible to coach and inspire everyone to create a fun, happy life of health and wellness. I get really excited about this stuff so it’s always a lot of fun. This is all part of my contribution to making Ashland the healthiest town in America. So if you belong to a group or organization just let me know and we’ll set a time and date.
When we first met you shared the goal of wanting help support Ashland into becoming one of the healthiest places to live in country.
Ashland is such a supportive community to be a part of. Most folks are already doing such good work in their daily lives towards health and wellness. It’s one of the reasons I felt so at home here. Can you imagine when we as a community reach that critical mass of consciousness towards living a lifestyle of health and wellness? This is a very exciting place to be. Making it happen is as simple as being conscious of what you are doing on a day-to-day basis to improve the health of your spirit, mind, and body. It’s as simple as making the better choice. If you don’t know how then I’ll be there to show you. Do you want to learn more about it? Then come to a seminar or workshop I am offering. If you are feeling stuck and need that extra push, come see me, I love to motivate people.
From personal trainers to coaches, business owners, family members and seniors; you have an open door to help people live and fulfill their potential. What has been the most exciting part of this journey for you in Ashland?
Each and every client I work with is a special person with limitless potential. That is the way I approach everyone. I develop deep caring friendships with them all. It has been incredibly rewarding to gain the trust and friendship of my clients and see them blossom into independent, confident healthy people. You have to understand that many of my clients are coming to me in a debilitated state and are concerned they will never regain their lifestyle. So to start with someone in a debilitated state and months later they are now coming in with a smile telling me how much they were able to do over the weekend is a very rewarding moment. It doesn’t take long after that when I start hearing from friends and family if they can come in to see me.
Dave, what have been some of your favorite memories and experiences from getting to know Ashland over the past year?
I love the parades, and all the community events. It makes me feel like I am apart of a town in which the people really care for one another. I love going to Chamber Greeters on Friday mornings where I get to rub elbows with so many incredibly supportive business owners. I love going to Farmers Market and getting my produce, they even sell worms! How cool is that? People are starting to recognize me now and will come up and say hello and ask me questions about what I do. Most of all I love how kind and warm everyone is.
How about one or two of your favorite client success stories…no names necessary… just kudos!
Much like a doctor I must keep case histories private, but I can tell you that I consistently work with clients with severe disc issues, pain syndromes, post-surgical rehabilitation cases, injury cases, severe weight issues, neck and head cases, people just wanting to get in great shape, and elite athletes wanting to reach their full potential. With each and every one of these cases I have seen clients accomplish their goals.
As people get to know and learn more about what you are doing what have been some of the key factors in choosing to work with you?
I am here to coach and give clients the skills and knowledge and help them hone their abilities into a functional, holistic, integrated lifestyle. As I mentioned above I work with so many different cases. The only thing needed is the desire and the commitment from the client. Clients appreciate the personal attention and detail to the work when I am with them. As I said before I become good friends with my clients so there is a great deal of emotional support that goes along with having me there. Holistic Health & Fitness is a private studio so I am there with my client in a focused, private environment where they feel safe. It is about being fully focused on the client. On top of all that we have a lot of fun. I love making my client laugh and feel loved, because that is where the healing really starts.
Dave somehow I get the feeling that you are just getting started here in Ashland!
I have such a big dream! I am focused on creating a truly amazing facility so I can help more people and at the same time support the health and wellness community in Ashland. All this will go towards making Ashland the healthiest town in America. I invite everyone wanting to improve his or her health and fitness to call or stop by. I offer a free consultation so we can get to know each other. If you are a health practitioner stop in and let’s see if we can work together. If you are a trainer and want to learn how to help your clients at a deeper level I am happy to help. I am already working with a few trainers in helping them develop programs for their more challenged clients.
Would you like to share any last comments with our readers?
I would just again like to thank everyone in Ashland for being so open and accepting. You have made this last year so incredibly fun. If you are thinking about improving your health and fitness, or are challenged with some health issues, or overcoming an injury or surgery, or just want to get in great shape, come in to see me. I promise you will learn a great deal and in the process begin to heal yourself and reach your goals.
Holistic Health & Fitness, LLC