Lab Rat Award Winners 2012

Lab Rat of The Year- Ginny Antonacci

ginny winning  labrat2You know the Lab Rat of The Year, every one of you. No doubt!  She is in twice a day, before and after work, and again on Saturdays.  No, it is not Mike Marker.  Nothing, absolutely nothing will get between her and her goals.  She is tenacious and unstoppable and  when she walks into the Lab Gym doors is a champion of life change and transformation.  Dedicated, focused, taking action.  From all of the variables and obstacles in her way she systematically destroys her goals one by one with almost foregone conclusion sense of calm.  There are many people I meet and talk with and fear they may not have the mental tenacity to put in the effort and struggle it takes to achieve the goals they are after.  Not for a second did I worry about her as she had the goods.  The mental prowess to see things through to her end no matter the challenge.    She is on a mission not only for her on  weight loss, health, and vitality journey but to make a difference.  When she is not killing it in the gym she is offering a hand to everyone else in the lab family.  She personally began and organized the lab happy hours, ignited the STL Strong foundation for youth weightlifting, donates her evening time to help our coaches and the lift for life kids, and always has something to offer at the lab.  In fact, many have told me how she helps them get through their personal struggles and barriers.   She has overcome tremendous challenges herself and would be the first to say that she is not a natural athlete or that this comes easy for her.  She aims to inspire others and is living and breathing proof that, anyone can do it if they put their mind to it!   In fact she herself has lost a total of 130lbs! And she isn’t stopping there.  A True champion in the Lab Rat archives, the 2012 Lab Rat of the year is none other than Ginny Antonacci!

1st Runner Up-Troy Skaife

Troy SkaifeThis is not an overnight success story. Here is a someone that has been steadily working on transforming themself for a few years now. They broke through the 100 pound weight loss milestone over the  summer and went through several more wardrobe changes thereafter!

After achieving their weight loss goal they moved seamlessly on to the next goal to build 10 pounds of lean muscle mass.

He almost makes it look too easy. Why?  Because he just shows up every single day and does the work! Take a closer look  and you’ll notice that the man shows up 20 minutes before the 15 min Rule ready to go. Which means he is there to maximize everything he  can within our workouts.  No wasted time or efforts. He made the tough but necessary diet modifications that so many people resist!  He is a true role model and demonstrates every day that hard work and persistence PAY OFF!  He couldn’t do a pushup when he started at the Lab, now he does sets with his feet elevated! He is also the current all-time sprint champion on the elliptical clearing over 400 strides per minute.  He was named Mr. Motivation last Year which was merely a for shadowing of things to come.  Upping his honors to Lab Rat of the Year Runner Up, the award goes to:  Troy Skaife

2nd Runner Up-Marie Casey

The second runner up could also be called “The little Engine That Could!” This is the story of a woman who little by little, consistently, every workout, every month, made progress that eventually far exceeded her original goals and expectations. In the beginning she was extremely fearful of heavy weights or becoming muscle bound or injured.

When she started, we set short-term goals for each month and broke down what we needed to do each day in order to meet/exceed those goals. She was the inspiration/catalyst for the Goal & daily adherence sheets the trainers use daily now.  In this way she now reaches every client here! She has made a huge transformation coming from her ideals of “walking & yoga is exercise,” hitting the weights hard & participating in her rowing club 3 times per week. Recently she got bumped from the beginner group in rowing to the advanced and attributes her success much to the strength and work capacity she has developed with the Lab training.  Stating that she recovers quickly while most of her fellow team members are still gasping for air. She has lost over 15% body fat and inn her own words, “I like how my clothes fit, how my legs and knees don’t ache when I go up and down stairs, and how my posture is upright…It feels so good to be strong!”

The Mr/Ms Motivation Award: to the masochistic Lab Rat that takes a licking, keeps on ticking, and persuades others to do the same

Mr. Motivation, Jerry Vuchack

Mr. MotivationOut of the highly motivated individuals on this list, one stands out. Maybe because he shares the love and intensity of his workout with the world almost every day on Facebook. He’s in The Lab every day, working with his trainer on weight days and pushing himself on cardio days. He’s even been known to post photos of his socks & shoes in motion on the elliptical…nudging others to come in for some Sunday cardio.

He has good reason to be smiling and overjoyed by his workouts, especially with his results. His original motivation was a serious health warning from his Doctor, but after making a serious commitment to training; in less than 6 months he had improved all areas of concern, including cholesterol and Cardiovascular risk factors and received a clean bill of health! He remains highly motivated and happily addicted!

The Mighty Mouse Award: for a powerhouse in a little package
The Lab Gym Mighty Mouse award goes to Aphrodite Dede Catsavis.

MIghty MouseThe Mighty Mouse of Lab Rats is small, smaller than most Lab Rats. She may be mouse sized, but she is seriously STRONG! and she is INTENSE! She shows amazing dedication, she is always eager for the next challenge and always willing to do the extra work!  She leaves nothing in the tank and even set a record with 420 down & ups for “Down & ups on the minute.”

She actually “envisions herself as Mighty Mouse” when she bench presses, which is surprising because I’ve never noticed Mighty Mouse wearing a pink cape, which is the signature color of all this woman’s workout wear.

The Dynamic Duo Award -  in honor of two patrons that partner up for pain at the Lab

This year’s Dynamic Duo is Donn and Buff!
What better way to spend QUALITY Time with your friend or your partner than WORKING OUT together at The Lab? We have many dynamic duos with celebrity status at the gym.

These two in particular are like peanut butter AND jelly, peas AND carrots, milk AND cereal. Sometimes naughty, sometimes nice, one is a little sugar and the other is a little spice.  One is the energizer bunny and the other one is Dr. Jekyll or is it Mr. Hyde.   They have been Lab Rats since Lab #1, through a minefield of medical challenges they have come, and their dedication is second to none.

The Groupie of the Year Award – To recognize the hard core Group Fitness Class Goer of The Year!

The Groupie of the year is Valeria Bernardo

The Groupie of the year demonstrates her commitment by showing up for the early classes every single morning! She really mixes it up and has actually taken every class we offer at The Lab… Even in the past month! She has recently announced that she is pregnant and if you go into labor at the Lab, please try to make sure it is in Gina’s class, since she has preggo and exercise down to a science.

The Rookie of the Year Award: for an outstanding newcomer at The Lab…

The Lab Rat Rookie of the Year Award goes to Vince Goudey!  

Rookie of the Year Vince and BenThis newcomer sets an amazing pace in the gym. His trainer, Ben, even admits that this is the only client he has ever had a hard time keeping up with! We did a fun work density analysis of all of  our clients and he came in as the work density champion for the most tonnage lifted inside of 60 minutes!

He has a full time job, also runs a farm, and always finds a way to get his workouts in. He will even work all day, get his off day cardio in very late at night, pull an all-nighter on his farm, then come in for a 5:30am session, without complaint.

With this incredible work ethic, drive, and attention to detail, he has transformed himself into a “ninja. Some numbers of note are a Trap Bar DL up to 335/3. Squat up to 270/3. He has dropped his BF% from a starting point near 22% down to 13.68%.

The Member of the Year Award: dedicated to someone that appreciates and believes in The lab as much as we do.

The 2012 Member of The Year is Dr. Anthony Sodd.

The SoddsSince joining the Lab at the end of the summer, our Member of the year is in The Lab every day at 5am working hard with his trainer. But this member’s story doesn’t stop there and his health and fitness goals are not just about him. He is a man on a mission! As a surgeon, he is in the business of saving lives. The Lab has now become his way of improving the lives of his entire family. His wife is working hard with her own trainer at the Lab every day and the rivalry between these two “training teams” is fierce. Their daughter? She’s there too and has already made a tremendous leap toward her own health and fitness goals.  And, he has even brought in 2 sister in laws.  Next year we will likely need to add a separate category for this family, because they are all in it to win it. Through his commitment to get his entire family working out, eating like they never have before, improving the quality of their life, and keeping exercise as medicine all in the family.

The Justincredible Award -the Trainers and staff vote for the other awards, but I like to give my own special award when Lab Rats blow me away in a way that defies categorization!

The first Justincredible award goes to Brittney Paul!Brittney Paul
In this first very special case, one of our original Team Lab members underwent a major knee surgery that could have completely ended her lifting career. But no, she is Justincredible and has made a huge come back to compete at the national level in under a years’ time. She is even very close to beating her all-time best lifts and that is Justincredible.  You may see her many action videos online performing incredible feats of strength and athleticism in Team LAB but little did you know she has been ordered to never compete in weightlifting again.

The 2nd Justincredible award goes to Tabitha Porter

The next Justincredible woman joined Bootcamp with no weight training experience this once naive girl in the gym in less than 6 months has managed to go from barbell squats with 45lbs to hitting an A+ triple with 220 pounds!  Deadlifts with 270lbs for 3 reps!  And can even bang out more bodyweight pullups than the guys.  In fact, she is the strongest person in bootcamp minus her very huge husband.  This mother of 2 has lost over 30lbs and has dropped her body fat by 15%!  She has taken on several adventure runs in the process as well as being specially invited to Team LAB as the strength she has shown in less than 6 m

Justin with the Princes of Paleo & Justincredible Tabitha

onths would make her a national level weightlifter.  And that is Justincredible!

The Boot Camper of the Year Award-The Lab Bootcampers are a tight knit and social group, like a family, or a cult, or perhaps some multi-level marketing scam. The Bootcampers go for coffee together after getting killed in their Bootcamp workouts, because Misery loves company! They also challenge each other to do every crazy run and obstacle course event in the State of Missouri and beyond.  You name it, and bootcamp will do it. They are a wild bunch of crazy, unstable, grass kickers that gladly make it hurt before most people get out of bed.  Always in competition with each other I never know what kind of insane feat of performance I  might witness…needless to say, this year got a  little crazy.

The Bootcampers of the Year are Matt Brazzelton & Jeff Jensen

The Bootcampers of the Year started strong at the beginning of the year and never let up! They took their training into high gear, pushed the heavy weights, and adopted a tight Paleo diet.  These two were neck and neck in a friendly competition of their own and BOTH of them even dropped from over 23% down to 10% body fat!  Which is amazing when you consider how old they are and how fit they already were!!!  Although at times you might see eye rolls from other Bootcampers at these dedicated do gooders, these Paleo Princes (aka the Pet Shop Boys) have become a positive influence on others in the group! In their free time, they do things like bike 300 miles across Wisconsin in the summer for the annual Aids ride. They even hosted a spinathon at The Lab to raise money and awareness.  Nominees for bootcampers of the year for the past 3 years these two FINALLY when the top honors!

This year we are starting a new honorary award in dedication of a particular lab rat extraordinaire who has made a great impact on me and The Lab since it was merely one of my wild ideas.  She was a strong influence on me to give me the backbone to make this a reality.  And  to this day she has done nothing but continue to support and enrich our community in ways that most will never know. Ironically, she is really not big on awards so I have to keep this short.  However, we want to keep her spirit and influence in the fabric of The Lab’s culture forever.  The New Award is titled, The ‘Lynne Cooper Award.’  Dedicated to someone who ‘enriches the labs culture and broadens our scope of influence’.  

The Lynne Cooper Award goes to Suzy Oge

We couldn’t get rid of her if we tried, the only employee we have who doesn’t ask for a paycheck, and perhaps is our biggest fan.  After digesting the Lab kool aid  as a client and losing over 60lbs in record time something snapped in her and she has never been the same.  She has since gone on a WORLD WIDE mission to to spread the word and influence the lives of others.  A Lab rat of the year runner-up  and infamous health and fitness blogger, her influence has literally crossed oceans.  She fills in the gaps for us at the Lab and has been a critical action taker in getting new developments to occur with the labs mission, reach, and influence.  Logging in hours of work, donating time, offering valuable advice, man hours from working on websites, to new hire training filming, and stuff I don’t even know about we are sure glad she won’t leave us alone.

The Lab Gym's Lynne Cooper Award

Congratulations to all the winners!

This entry posted in Articles & Newsletters, Events & Competitions, Lab Rat Hall of Fame