Success Stories

The adage says a picture is worth 1,000 words, but for Michael Nagorski, it amounted to about 260 pounds. That’s how much he estimated he weighed in the pictures from his brother’s wedding – pictures that wound up changing his life. “On the day of the wedding, I put on the suit jacket, and it didn’t fit properly,” Nagorski said. “I was mortified. I tried not to wear my jacket as much that day.” Though his weight had fluctuated over the years, Nagorski could no longer ignore the impact of his high-calorie, sedentary lifestyle. But it wasn’t just ill-fitting clothes that convinced him to join Fusion Fitness Center, where he’s a regular at Team Training classes and in Fusion-sponsored charity challenges. “My father died a month before I was born. He was refereeing a hockey game. He died on the ice,” Nagorski said. “When they did the autopsy, it said it looked like he had multiple heart attacks.” Nagorski shed 50 pounds in a year, thanks in part to his workouts at Fusion and changes to his diet. Tracking his calories and adding supplements through dotFIT helped him lose the last of his extra weight. He literally became the poster boy for healthy lifestyle changes when his weight-loss success was highlighted during the kickoff for “31 Days to a Healthier You,” a social media campaign developed by the Delaware Department of Health & Social Services. For Nagorski, who is now a father himself, the focus is less on the number on the scale and more on how he feels. You can find his name on the Results Are Earned board for reaching the goal of making 10 workouts each month for more than a year. In class, he’s known for pushing himself – and others – to aim for constant improvement. “I’m looking for new ways to push myself and see where it goes,” he said. “I’m more in the maintenance phase, but I’m just finding ways to add a little joy.”
Mike Nagorski  

Polly Sierer grew up playing basketball and tennis, but she never thought of those sports as exercise.To her, exercise was grunt work, something you had to do, rather than wanted to do. It was mechanical and boring, she thought, eliciting none of the passion she felt while swinging a racquet on the tennis court. But after joining Fusion Fitness Center earlier this year, Sierer has discovered that working out doesn’t have to be ho-hum and – best of all for this tennis fanatic – it also can help her game. “It’s greatly impacted my ability to hit the tennis ball. I got immediate results with that,” said Sierer, who plays throughout the year on both single and mixed doubles teams. “My legs are a lot stronger. I go after every ball. I feel I’m more mobile somehow. I’ve got more pace on the ball.” Sierer admits it took a little convincing to see the benefits of joining a gym. She’s not the type to jump on a treadmill if free time pops up in her schedule. The thought of lifting weights made her nervous. But with careful supervision from the Fusion staff, she’s discovered her body responds well to strength training. She quickly found a home in the Team Training classes, led by Fusion coaches who not only demonstrate the exercises but offer adaptations for those with injuries or other limitations. “A lot of the age group at Fusion is in their 30s, 40s and 50s. It’s important that you feel a part of that when you go in – that you’re not too old to be there. Or that it’s going to be boring,” Sierer said. She credits the Fusion staff with creating an environment that encourages members to set challenging goals and feel confident they can achieve them. It takes the right person to know how to deal with customers on such a personal level, Sierer said. And she should know – she spends much of her day talking with residents and community leaders as the mayor of Newark. “One of the biggest benefits of Fusion is that they’ve made it fun to go there. It’s a very positive atmosphere,” she said. “I always feel better when I come out of there.”

Polly Sierer  

Emmalee Stranick Redstone walked through the doors of Fusion Fitness Center looking for a challenge. Except she wasn’t too sure what that challenge would be. Stranick Redstone had exercised at other gyms in the past – “playing the ‘rent the equipment game,’” as she calls it – but she didn’t have any expectations at Fusion beyond breaking a sweat. “I remember going in, and the only thing I knew is that when you do a squat, your knees are not supposed to go past your toes. Other than that, I had no idea,” she said. Fast forward five years, and her feelings about working out – and being a member of Fusion – are decidedly more concrete. She’s a fixture in 7:10 a.m. Team Training, where her sunny disposition brightens those mornings when it’s still dark as the warm-up begins. You can count on Stranick Redstone to be the first one to cheer on another member during the charity fitness challenges, even when they’re part of the competition. Her motives are genuine – she wants others to see there’s more to their strength than the size of the kettlebell they swing. “Fusion has helped me achieve so much more than I could have ever imagined physically, mentally and even in other ways – including opportunities to give back to the community,” said Stranick Redstone, 25. “You walk in knowing that you have an awesome community of people working to achieve more and those same people are cheering you on.” Rather than coasting after summiting to her first athletic goal – quite literally at the top of a climbing rope – Stranick Redstone continues to push herself, whether it’s trying to master a one-armed pushup or increasing her running distances. And there’s only one place she plans to do it. “Fusion is the type of place you not only come to exercise, but you walk in with the expectation that you are there to push yourself to achieve more than you had the last time you left,” she said. “I will never leave.”
Emmalee Stranick Redstone