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Competing through the Covid

While the competition TLC owner Steven Kurtz is currently enduring may be intimidating to many, the fitness training center he operates at 1316 Commerce Park Drive is designed to address the fears and uncertainty some may feel when tackling the decision as to how best to initiate a training regimen. The Tamaqua, PA, native studied

While the competition TLC owner Steven Kurtz is currently enduring may be intimidating to many, the fitness training center he operates at 1316 Commerce Park Drive is designed to address the fears and uncertainty some may feel when tackling the decision as to how best to initiate a training regimen.

The Tamaqua, PA, native studied business at Lehigh Community College before transferring to Penn College in 2010. Following his graduation from Penn College he liked the area so much he laid down roots and opened his own business.

“I grew up in an active family and my Dad did body building in the early 1970’s as a hobby,” Kurtz explained. “Watching him do this at a young age his work ethic inspired me in terms of self-esteem and building up my confidence. We actually had a home gym in our barn and I trained there for ten or twelve years before I ever went to a public gym.

“Training and getting coached by my Dad has provided me with some very special memories and are times I cherish the most. It has given me great inspiration and he always supported me 100%. He loves what I am doing and I’m living a dream, hopefully providing others with those similar opportunities my Dad has given me.”

In addition to his duties at TLC, Kurtz is in the final stages of a virtual body-building competition to which the 5’7”. 185-pounder is working hard to conquer.

“With all the restrictions in place during the covid pandemic, this competition is being held virtually. Over the course of eight weeks, ending April 11, the competition seeks to determine who can improve their physique the most. If I make it to the finals I would get to go to Pittsburgh and compete against the best people in the challenge. During the virtual competition I have to upload pictures weekly, in a certain time frame, and also put stuff on my social media business page to make sure it is in sync with the time frame involved. I have to submit photos every week of the mandatory poses they require.

“Axe & Sledge, a Pittsburgh-based fitness supplement company, is running the competition and hundreds of people have entered. My interest in the competition was forged during the 2020 pandemic shutdown and it helped me get through some very difficult times. I’ll be competing against individuals up to 200 pounds. If I can achieve the best condition possible, proportion wise you can still beat guys who weigh more.

“There is a lot of money on the line, prizes, social media and fitness exposure. These factors make it more meaningful than just a regular competition. It’s fun, a bit crazy, but I like the challenge trying to reopen my business after three shutdowns in the past year provides some extra incentive.

Kurtz’s preparations for the competition are not for the feint at heart.

“I begin my day at 5:00 a.m. doing fasted cardio, meaning I fast for about 16 hours so there is not much in your stomach and do cardiovascular work. Then I eat some food and later in the day do weight training from 45 minutes to an hour and a half, plus extra cardio work on top of that. Normally, that all would consist of three hours a day training.

“Fasting from 12 to 16 hours prior to his morning cardio workout allows me to burn more fat. Following the morning workout my diet mainly consists of carbohydrates, oatmeal, waffles and similar foods to bring your body back up because your muscles and brain need to fuel up. I will occasionally “cheat” with some foods, but I have to count the food, measure, weigh etc., so this is very precise.”

Asked the simple question, why, the past year provided the answer.

“This challenge and the company help save my mindset, business and family from the 2020 shutdown. We went thru three shutdowns, and I started another business to survive. I was listening to the owner of the company every day and it helpeded turn business around and after everything we went through, we are recovering but business is still not at full capacity.

“After the shutdown last March, we lost a large majority of our clients and in-person training as we were closed for several months. Luckily, we do have an online training platform and that’s what helped keep us afloat. Not seeing people, not renewing memberships, the first few weeks alone we lost thousands.

“We have six to eight personal trainers at our studio, but we also offer classes, group workouts and open membership. We love to meet clients where they are at in their lives. With this being a private studio, there are not many people around, especially during the day. We provide a friendly, private, intimate atmosphere that allows our clients to feel comfortable. We have clients that are vastly overweight, some that have never been in a gym and have seen some amazing transformations take place.”

Most of TLC’s clients are in the 40-65 age grouping. They are middle aged professionals with busy lifestyles that are seeking some accountability. Hours are 5:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. during the week and 6:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on the weekends. Additional information can be gained via their website tlcfit.org or by calling 570-225-6222.

Asked what makes him tic, Kurtz responded, “In a good way, by positively impacting others lives, that is what got me in this profession. We are surrounded by such a great group of clients, members, family and friends and I measure that success more than monetary value.”

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