Q & A:
- What was your favorite class, who was your favorite professor, or what is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
My favorite memory at Hofstra has to be when I beat my exercise physiology professor, Dr. Jaime Ghigiarelli, in his own speed squat contest. It was so great to participate in “hands-on” activities and really put our knowledge to the test. Having a professor who participated in all of our activities rather than just pushing knowledge on us really made the class exciting.
- What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
After graduating Hofstra, I worked as an exercise physiologist at Peak Performance Physical Therapy. I helped transition patients from therapy back into a gym/athletic setting. I also had tremendous success with weight loss clients, helping those struggling with their weight reach their health goals.
The most valuable thing I learned at Peak Performance was how to work with the opposite end of the age spectrum than I was used to. After being an athlete for my entire life, then working as a trainer all through college, I was used to high intensity/impact training. Working at Peak Performance taught me a lot about working with the geriatric population and seriously injured/physically handicapped adults.
- What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
My field of specialty is weight loss. I LOVE making people feel better about themselves physically, mentally and emotionally. Some say I have a gift of providing them with the confidence and motivation they didn’t have to get themselves living a healthier lifestyle.
I knew I wanted to work in the field of weight loss when I worked at the Diet Center in high school. I loved how good it made me feel, to make someone else feel good. An individual jumping up and down on the scale with success is one of the greatest feelings I have ever had.
- What advice would you give current Hofstra students?
Impossible is nothing. There is absolutely nothing you can’t do. I am 23 years old and own my own business. People ask what I do, and they don’t believe me when I tell them. Sometimes I actually have to show them the website on my phone to prove it to them. Work hard now while you’re young, energetic and full of ideas. Life is too short to waste. Believe in yourself…because you CAN achieve the impossible.
- In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
- How has your degree from Hofstra helped you?
I learned so much from Hofstra. The professors in the Exercise Science program brought me from the very basics of human anatomy to the complex physiology of the body. I love to learn, and Hofstra provided me with the ability to always reach above and beyond in my studies. Clients are constantly amazed when I explain to them the reasons why things happen in their body, and how amazing the human body actually is. I would have never had this knowledge without Hofstra.
- What inspired you to open L.E.A.R.N. Fitness?
Thirty three percent of children under the age of 12 in the United States are not only overweight, but also obese! These children are suffering from lack of energy expenditure and lack of nutritional knowledge, and there is no place for them to find both of these things in one fun atmosphere! So, I created it! I started L.E.A.R.N (Learning Exercise, Activity and the Right Nutrition) so that all populations would have a place to come and get healthy. Here at L.E.A.R.N we work with all ages, physical and mental disabilities. We focus on creating a “healthy atmosphere” for the entire family.
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Where do you see your career progressing to in the future?
In 10 years, I hope to have advanced my career by franchising L.E.A.R.N. I hope to create this “fitness fun” atmosphere all over the Northeast, helping all populations suffering from obesity. Short, tall, round, thin; EVERYONE has a great body, and deserves the right to feel their best!
Kristie Lengel (B.S. ’11) opened L.E.A.R.N. (Learn, Exercise, Activity and the Right Nutrition) Fitness, a first of its kind fitness center on Long Island that strives to lead the fitness revolution for all ages. Many of her clients include children to whom she teaches fitness and nutrition at an early age to help fight against the childhood obesity epidemic.
Kristie graduated magna cum laude with a degree in exercise science and a minor in psychology. As an athlete most of her life, she knew she wanted to work with people with regard to weight loss and overall general health/well-being. Kristie went on to obtain Certified Personal Trainer Certification (CPT) from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), and has worked for a number of gyms around Long Island over the years. Kristie herself enjoys doing HIIT training to stay in shape. “I’d much rather do a half-hour high-intensity work out, including cardiovascular and resistance training, and not be able to walk the next day than run a billion miles.”
A typical day at L.E.A.R.N. Fitness involves teaching classes in the morning, followed by nutrition consultations and personal training sessions in the afternoon. When school gets out around 3 p.m., Kristie holds kids exercise classes to get children active and sweating after a long day of sitting in school. Later in the evening, she holds more exercise classes for the adult population. Her facility focuses on producing a “healthy home” for the entire family. “I’d like to say that my clients achieve success, because I have a gift of providing them the motivation that they don’t have on their own to push just a little further than they thought they were capable of. My upbeat personality pushes them to levels that they didn’t think were possible.” Kristie has acquired a large customer base due to word-of-mouth recommendations, particularly from pediatricians. Social media sites such as Facebook, Groupon, and Living Social deals have also brought new clients to Kristie’s gym. She gives much credit to her mother, Kathleen. “She’s a staple in my life,” Kristie says. Kathleen currently helps out as the “office manager,” and in return Kristie helps her mother achieve her own nutrition and fitness goals. Kristie also credits her success to Dr. Katie Sell, her professor and advisor throughout her years at Hofstra University. “She was the best, but toughest, teacher I ever had. She’s also the greatest advisor. She’s the reason I am where I am and, without her support, I have no idea where I would be today.”