I know this is the time of year when we generally put our workouts on the back burner as we push our way through the long lines to assure we get our Elf on a Shelf. I know we are supposed to be all merry and bright and indulge in the festive goodies that seem to find us wherever we stand. But in the midst of all this shopping and noshing and fooling around in the name of the holiday season – I would highly suggest you take a moment to check out an amazing woman in the northwest suburbs who serves up a lethal dose of some serious Boot Camp. Tami Haukedahl, a former Illinois State Trooper, runs Train Like A Trooper Boot Camp (www.haukfitness.com) in Arlington Heights – and she really is someone you need to know.
TLS: Tell me a little about yourself – where did you grow up – go to school?
HAUK: I am originally from Madison, Wisconsin. (Yes, I am a die-hard Packers fan!) We moved to Illinois when my Dad got a new job here. I went to Mundelein High School. I graduated from Illinois State University with a degree in Criminal Justice. I played Division I basketball for ISU and I was on the track team as well. I was a captain of the b-ball team my senior year. We finished 8th at the WNIT in 1980. I was fortunate to play with two Olympians when I was on the ISU team: Cathy Boswell and Charlotte Lewis. Both played for the USA Women’s Olympic Basketball team.
TLS: When did fitness become a “way of life” for you? Was there a time/moment/epiphany?
HAUK: My Dad was an art teacher and a coach; football and girls’ basketball. He coached Carmel High School Girls Basketball for many years and turned around that program in the mid-eighties. He played college football (University of Wisconsin- Madison) and semi-pro football until he was 40. He pushed my two younger brothers and me in our athletic endeavors. Later on he told us that he saw the athletic abilities in us and wanted us to get the most out of our talent. He did push hard. But, I was able to attend college on an athletic scholarship (basketball). So, all that hard work paid off.
I became an Illinois State Trooper right out of college and a condition of our employment is that each Trooper must take and PASS a physical fitness test EVERY year. The test consists of 1 ½ mile run, maximum bench press, crunch ups and the sit and reach test (flexibility). So, I was always training and staying in shape. There is a saying on the wall of the Illinois State Police Training Academy gym in Springfield that says, “When you chose Law Enforcement you LOSE the right to become unfit.” We live by that motto in the ISP.
I have always played in sports leagues; flag football, basketball, softball…..I truly enjoy working out and how I feel afterwards; strong and fit.
TLS: How did you make the decision to start your own business?
HAUK: I have always had an interest in becoming a personal trainer so when I retired from the State Police; I decided I would get my personal trainer certification. I am certified through the American Council on Exercise. It was a tough test, but I believe the certification and educational process is a must. Once I earned my certification, I had to work through how to use it. Work for a “Big Box” gym; start my own personal training business out of my house? Work part-time at a gym and do some personal training on the side? There were so many questions I needed to sort through. One of my dearest friends has worked in gyms for the last 20 years as a personal trainer and she told me that the best advice she could give me is to start my own business. So, I jumped in. First, I had to think of a name for my business; my nickname has been “Hauk” pronounced “hawk” for my entire life. Hauk Fitness was born. From there I decided I would do a boot camp style workout; it’s what I’m comfortable with coming from the State Police. So, I named my boot camp “Train Like A Trooper”. I started out in May 2010. I had no space. So, I worked out people at a local park in Arlington Heights. I had 5 people show up for those first few months. I kept at it because I know my program works. I believe in my program design (metabolic training). I kept telling myself; “Keep going, they will come”. And, they did. Today I have 90 people in my boot camp classes. I have hired another master trainer, Leanne Konicek. I now have my own gym inside the West Meadows Ice Arena, right off Rt. 53 and Euclid in Rolling Meadows.
TLS: What sets Hauk apart from other Boot camps?
HAUK: This is a great question! I bring value to the boot camp adventure that you can’t get anywhere else. We run toboggan hills. We pull car tires. We run stadium stairs. We swing Hauk Sticks; which are PVC pipes filled with sand to replicate the State Police Crowd Control batons. Every single workout is different! In 3 ½ years, I have never repeated a workout. I love exercise design and I know how to get results.
I know every person’s name. I know their kids’ names. I know their birthdays. I truly love my members and show my gratitude to them every day. They trust me with their bodies and their $$$. I take that very seriously. It is an honor for me.
I do little things in my business that set me apart. For instance, I offer my peeps free bottled water at every workout. I give free t-shirts to my peeps. Occasionally I offer free Saturday workouts. I offer free yoga classes, too! (Nice counterpoint to boot camp).
My members also set us apart. They are so positive and friendly. I love to watch them form friendships and make plans to do things outside of boot camp. They welcome in new people with open arms. No need to be nervous at all!
TLS: Do you find it challenging to help clients overcome the mental game of making fitness a priority in their lives?
HAUK: I love this part. Making fitness a priority is a mental challenge to be sure. As a matter of fact, the mental part is possibly the most difficult part of the whole thing. I tell my people to keep coming and let me do the rest. I know some days they don’t feel well, they’re sore, they’re tired…I tell them just get to me and I will do the rest. What happens is the positive energy and the fun we have perks them up! I distract them with my cheesy jokes and impressions. Before they know it, the workout is over and they are drenched in sweat and smiling!
Fitness must be enjoyable! When it is, it becomes a habit. We have a lot of fun. I push them, to be sure. But, I am right there doing the exercises with them. I talk them through it. You will never see me get in someone’s face or yell at them. I respect and care for my members. I can coax unbelievable training sessions out of them. It’s all accomplished through positive reinforcement and trust. Too often in life we hear the negative stuff about ourselves. When my people come to boot camp, they are only going to hear how great they are and how hard they are working. They feel great inside and out after the workout and that is what we are after!
TLS: What are your long term goals for Hauk Fitness?
HAUK: I am working toward expanding. I would love to have a few locations so I can bring my special brand of fitness to as many people as possible. I am expanding my class offerings as well. We will be offering Yoga Body Boot Camp in January as well as the more traditional yoga practice of Vinyasa Flow. My wife, Mary Kay Bartelt, is our certified Yoga instructor. She rocks the yoga classes!
My Boot camp workout is like no other workout you will ever experience. It is a fat-incinerating, muscle-building 45 quick minutes. I understand the metabolic process and I train my people in a way that sets their metabolism on fire! I would love to change the world; one body at a time!
TLS: Greatest reward from the life changing work that you do?
HAUK: The greatest reward is helping people. As a State Trooper, I also helped people and this is yet another way I can continue to help others. The greatest reward I get is when people tell me they have gotten their lives back because they have lost weight and gotten healthier. I have quite a few clients who have lost 80 – 100 pounds in my boot camp. I modify EVERY exercise. So, we all can workout at our own specific levels together. Most exercises are timed; so if someone can do 45 push ups in a minute; great. If another person only does 3 push ups in a minute; also great. We are all working at our own levels and no one is either leading the class or holding it up. We work together. I also love to see the changes in strength, fitness levels and building lean muscle mass as they are happening. Sometimes the changes are subtle for my members, but I can see the differences within the first week. Love love love that!
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About K. Guzman
Kathy grew up all over the US - lots of east coast time. She is a surfer girl with an unabridged curiosity. A woman whose mid life awakening continues to bring her to the place she was meant to be. Her degree in Journalism/Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida is being yanked from the archives and put to good use. Her two kids are grown and rock stars in this wild world – her Harley is ready for some serious summer miles – and her heart remains open to life, women and the possibilities each day brings.