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Meet Dean Petrulakis

1) Considering you are a frequent flyer of FITT-RX, many would assume you have always worked out. Have you always been active?

Yes, for as long as I can remember, sports have always a big part of my life. I started playing basketball when I was 5 or 6 and played all the way through college. I played baseball and soccer as well as a kid–so basically I played organized sports pretty much year round. In the summers we played outside from sun up till sun down–and we played seemingly every sport we could–but basketball was always the sport I loved and played the most. My mom had to have my sister come to the park most nights to call me home for dinner. Even after college I stayed active playing men’s league basketball and working out at the gym 5 days a week with my buddy. When I stopped playing basketball competitively I transferred those competitive juices to golf and love squeezing in a round when I can–which is harder and harder these days. Sports and fitness have always been a part of my life, and I don’t see that ever changing as long as I’m physically able!

2) What do you find helps your family maintain a healthy lifestyle?

When it comes to staying active with the family that involves playing in the backyard, shooting hoops in the front yard, chasing the kids in the house playing silly games and lots of walks on the prairie path with my son Pavlos! Pavlos has Autism and loves long walks, and many times we go early in the morning on weekends when it’s nice and quiet. It’s so relaxing and it’s also good exercise for both of us!

3) Many people struggle with the idea of getting up before the sun rises. What motivates you to wake up and workout multiple times a week at 5:30am?

The single reason I joined FITT-RX was because of the variety of 5:30 am classes M-F. 5:30 am is the only time I can get my workout in based on work and the family schedule. I never used to be a morning person, but now I love the early morning time because it’s truly the only time of day that’s all mine. I wake up at 4:45 and the house is quiet so I can start my day calmly and peacefully before heading over to FITT-RX. I start the day on my terms and in a positive manner. Working out to start my day gives me an a amazing jolt of energy and is a huge sense of accomplishment mentally. I can totally understand why people might look at working out that early as crazy and not feasible. My advice to those folks is that if you struggle with finding the consistent time to workout and really want to commit to a fitness regimen then give the early morning classes a shot. For me it meant a change in lifestyle–specifically getting to bed earlier. The biggest thing I can say though it that without a doubt starting your day off by kicking ass in a tough class at FITT-RX is so rewarding and it makes the rest of the day that much better!

4) Since joining FITT-RX, how has your healthy lifestyle translated into other fitness goals ? In my time at FITT-RX, which started in the Fall of 2015, I’ve seen huge improvements in my overall strength and fitness level. I love how the trainers push us and keep the workouts fresh and challenging. Last summer Lindsay Forsberg convinced me to do the Tough Mudder, and finishing that event and completing every challenge on the course was certainly a proud accomplishment for me–it was a test for sure! 3 other accomplishments stand out as well–completing the Fight for Air Climb a few times (once with my oldest son Andrew), finishing second with my 3 teammates in the Fitt Spin-a-Thon a few years ago (we almost won against some very stiff competition) and of course taking 1st in the Spring Challenge this year (Blood Sweat and Burpees kicked some serious butt!) What’s funny about the Spin-a-Thon is that Megan Wenstrup and I are still annoyed we didn’t win. She’s super competitive like I am, and we were talking about it a few months back and both of us were still pissed we didn’t win. Yes, I’m just a tad bit competitive!

5) What is a fun fact most people do not know about you?

Only people who have known me for a while know that I used to be a journalist and tv analyst for high school sports. I covered high school sports for the Daily Herald in college and after college I worked for Media One ( local cable) covering high school sports as a sideline reporter for football and a color commentator for basketball, hockey and even some volleyball. I loved doing this, and it was at a time when I was considering becoming a sports journalist full time. It was a great experience. I love high school sports, and getting a chance to cover those games was special. I even got to cover and interview a few future NBA players.

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