Inertia. In physics, it’s the resistance an object has to a change in its state of motion. In real life, it’s a phenomenon many working humans feel in their bones. Stiff and sore from hours hunched over a desk, they’re too tired to get up and move.
What’s the cure for inertia? An external force that acts upon a stationary object. And who better to take on that role than fitness professionals, who make a living by putting bodies at rest into motion?
Just a few weeks ago, Metro published its annual Best of Silicon Valley issue, which featured our readers’ favorites in many categories, including health and fitness. We turned to the winners of the poll to provide inspiration for those seeking to begin, reboot or refresh a fitness regimen, and to make better choices about their health.

Optimizing Movement

Voted Best Personal Trainer by Metro’s readers, Rubi Slone of Move With Rubi describes herself as a “movement optimization specialist” who seeks to learn what fitness means to her clients as individuals.“There’s a lot of toxicity in the fitness industry and it’s not healthy. I try to restore the health within fitness,” Slone says.
“Fitness for some people might be grinding through some bootcamps and really intense workouts,” she says. But many of Slone’s clients are tech workers with extremely busy schedules. “Fitness to this person might mean that they don’t have those aches and that stiffness when they’re sitting at the desk,” she says. “It’s very individual to every person.”
Slone’s varied background includes volunteering at convalescent homes, and working as a chiropractor’s aide and a therapy technician at a local hospital; she then switched to working for a tech company. ”I learned empathy for people in the SIlicon Valley,” Slone says.
The sedentary lifestyle of tech workers can take its toll. “I notice that younger and younger generations, even people who are in their 30s, their bodies are really impacted, especially during this pandemic. … Bodies are aging a little bit faster because they’re not moving as much. They start to lose their muscles.”
Fortunately, Slone points out, some changes are reversible: “When we turn 30 we start to use our muscle. But what we lose in 10 years we can regain in three months with consistent workouts.”
Since the pandemic began, Slone had to adjust but overall has thrived. “I strictly do all online right now. … I work with people all over the US—East Coast and Washington, and even in Hawaii. And it’s been working out really great.”
Perhaps the biggest upside is that her clients have created spaces at home for working out. “I tell them, Let’s create a space in your home that you associate with movement,” she says. “Having that space creates an inner peace.”
But it takes more than just having a physical space to exercise. “People who come to personal trainers have tried a lot of things and they are looking for help,” she says. Because “no person is an island,” Slone emphasizes the importance of having a support network. “I’ll ask them to build their village of support. It takes a village for us to be supported and to do things. … Reach out to your family and let them know what your goals are.”

Food for Fitness

One half of the team behind Daily Nourish, the fitness training company she founded with husband David Macchi, Giselle Macchi took second place for Best Personal Trainer in the Best of Silicon Valley readers poll. Originally from Honolulu, Macchi has been a certified personal trainer for more than 15 years. “I always had this passion for health and fitness and have been an athlete since I was little, so it came naturally to pursue this kind of career,” she says. “I wanted to help people feel better and live their best lives.”
Macchi moved to the Bay Area in 2012 and worked for a large commercial gym, then segued into corporate fitness before starting Daily Nourish in 2017. “We wanted to be able to deliver a more personalized and comprehensive holistic approach to helping people on their fitness journey,” Macchi said. Both she and her husband understand the challenges facing Bay Area professionals: “how busy they are, and how stressed out they are, and how demanding their jobs and their schedules are.”
For those clients, things changed when the pandemic hit, “Right around March 2020 all of our in-person work stopped. Thankfully we had already been doing a lot of virtual and online coaching.” The next challenge was helping clients figure out a fitness regimen at home. “We worked with people who had home gyms, and we also worked with people who had nothing but a mat and a corner in the living room,” Macchi says. “You don’t need a gym membership to get a good workout and be healthy and fit.”
Giselle and David have found many ways to stay in touch with their clients. “We started doing virtual workouts every Saturday at the beginning of the pandemic, and we’ve definitely grown,” Macchi recalls. “At one point we had people turning in from France and Canada.” They also use their Instagram account, @Daily_Nourish, to inspire and motivate their clients. “We share quite a bit of information,” Macchi said. “And we also are on Facebook [Daily Nourish Health & Fitness].”
Macchi also recommends following two professional organizations on social media: the American Council on Exercise (IG: @ACEFitness) and the National Association of Sports Medicine (IG: @nasm_fitness).
“As trainers, the world of fitness is constantly evolving so we always try to keep up to date.” Macchi explains. “Things change every day, every month, every year. What was considered to be an amazing workout or fitness regime last year might not be this year. It’s really important to stay on top of the game. Every time we renew our certification we have to have a certain number of continuing education credits, so we’re always learning.”

Strong Measures

John Rhodes, the third-place vote-getter for Best Personal Trainer in Metro’s Best of Silicon Valley readers poll, kicked off a new phase of his career because of the pandemic. “I lost my job at my former gym because there was no foot traffic,” Rhodes said. “I started my own business going from home to home and doing gym training in October 2020.”
With gyms closed during the early part of the pandemic, people began to think about new ways to stay fit while they were stuck at home, Rhodes said. “ During the pandemic every outlet—Target, Wal-mart, Amazon—was out of weight equipment. Dumbbells, everything, they were all sold out. Before, the excuse was ‘I don’t have time.’ Now we had all the time in the world.”
In addition to doing virtual workouts, Rhodes also does home visits, including many in the West Valley. Vaccinated and boosted, he uses safety precautions such as masks and sanitizing wipes.
And equipment is a big part of his methodology, which is based on dynamic variable resistance training. This method uses sandbags, kettlebells, lever bells, bands and suspension trainers to help students focus on seven foundational movements: squat, hinge, lunge, pull, push, rotation and locomotion.
Rhodes has a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from San Jose State University and a master’s degree in sports performance training from Concordia University of Chicago. A relative newcomer to running his own business, Rhodes says, “I still consider myself a very small-time trainer just helping people one by one.” He’s always looking to gain more knowledge, and he follows several podcasts: The Strength Coach Podcast, with Anthony Renna, and The Art of Coaching, with Brett Bartholomew.

Staying Accountable

Like other fitness professionals, Joanna Ramos found it easy to shift to online instruction for her Pilates classes. A wellness liaison at Los Gatos Ballet—voted Best Pilates Studio by Metro readers—she said, “It took me literally 14 days to boot up virtual.” And clients were more interested than ever in staying healthy. “It gave us a pause and [time for] a reorganization. People were listening to podcasts and reading books.” They began focusing on ways to boost immunity: exercising, reducing stress, lowering inflammatory markers.
“We’re all growing and learning different modalities—how to build our own resilience,” she says.
Many clients come to Ramos with the desire to restart their workouts and discover something new. “And Pilates is often something very new to them. … Especially in our valley, we have a very driven mindset.”
As an exercise modality, Ramos says, “Pilates is very much like ballet in the sense that it’s a craft. You pass the legacy through apprenticeship. … It’s important to help that next generation keep the craft alive.”
Ramos cautions, “There’s so much out there virtually. There’s so many platforms. … Look at the credentialing of the people providing the information. That’s really important. Just don’t jump on someone’s instagram unless you really know.”
One source she does recommend is Balanced Body. “They originally created some of the first equipment being used and then they expanded their reach into certification for teachers, and continuing education. And what’s lovely is they have a video library that a Pilates student can subscribe to.”
A final key to success is choosing an accountability partner, Ramos advises: “If you are training one-on-one, that trainer becomes your accountability partner. ‘I will see you next Tuesday at 9am. Here is your program.’ I think it’s important to have an ally.”
That advice also goes for those who aren’t in a formal training program. “If there’s one recommendation I would have, find an accountability partner—even if it’s just FitBit. Your Apple Watch. Set your accountability calendar. Make an appointment for yourself.”

Moving Body and Mind

The seeds for Breathe Together Yoga, voted Best Yoga Studio in Metro’s readers poll, were planted in 2008 when yoga therapist Jennifer Prugh first met Rob and Melissa. Rob was looking to help Melissa heal from metastatic cancer treatment. The company website tells the whole story, and it’s a beautiful illustration of yoga’s restorative effects. It’s just one of the many worthwhile articles available on the studio’s website.
“We specialize in health of mind and body, so our approach to fitness is very much a mindful approach.” Prugh explains. “For those who enjoy moving at home, we recommend our free library of over 300 videos made by our teachers who are experts in the field of mind/body wellness.”
The Los Gatos-based yoga studio features classes by Lawrence Munoz (spinning and yoga teacher), Christy Li (personal trainer and aerial yoga teacher) and Noell Clark (yoga teacher for the 49rs). Prugh adds, “For those looking to support their health in all ways, our teachers have written over 500 articles on every topic related to supporting a healthy lifestyle.”
In addition to meditations that can be found on her company’s website, Prugh also recommends the Insight Timer meditation app, which lays claim to offering the world’s largest collection of free guided meditations, with more than 100,000 titles.
For those getting into yoga for the first time, Prugh also recommends three books: The Joy of Movement, by Kelly McGonigal; Breath, The New Science of a Lost Art, by James Nestor; and The Tree of Yoga, by BKS Iyengar.
Also working at Breathe Together Yoga is Bridget Puchalsky, who was voted Best Acupuncturist by Metro readers. Prugh says she and Puchalsky provide nutritional consultation for “non-dogmatic seasonal cleanses that help people eat more nutritiously in a supportive environment.” Puchalsky also teaches yoga classes and serves as Breathe Together Yoga’s wellness director. She has skills in ayurvedic medicine as well.

Discover Your ‘Why’

Beginning a fitness regimen can be difficult—especially if there are underlying health problems. As Rubi Slone says, “When people come to a trainer they often have a lot more going on.” She often finds clients need more than just an exercise program, so she refers them to doctors, nutritionists, mental health professionalsl and chiropractors—in particular, chiropractor Lisa Lynch of Specialized Chiropractic, who was voted Best Chiropractor in Metro’s readers poll.
Lynch graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic West in 2010 and is certified in Active Release Techniques as well as Graston Technique, and is a certified RockTape practitioner. And she’s also a certified yoga instructor.
Lynch offers some tips that will help resting bodies begin to move.
She says that “discovering your ‘why’—what is fueling you to make positive changes in your life” can be a crucial part of sticking with a fitness program. “When we are seeking health and fitness to fit someone else’s goals or ideals, we are not being authentic to ourselves,” Lynch says.
A morning routine is also key. “Taking time at the beginning of each day to reflect on our goals through journaling, mediation, a walk, etc.—hopefully away from a screen—will help us to hone in on our ‘why.’ It doesn’t have to start out with something strenuous (although some people thrive with the jump-right-in methodology). It can just be establishing a routine that allows us to care for ourselves, which will then catapult us into a healthier lifestyle that is authentic to who we are and what our individual needs and goals are.”
Like other health experts, Lynch emphasizes finding a community that supports one’s goals. “There are many Facebook groups, for example, where people support one another in fitness and nutrition goals. This supportive community will also include chiropractors, acupuncturists, physical therapists, local privately owned gyms, yoga studios, etc., who understand the challenges of self care and create a support network to help you define and adhere to your goals.”

Finding Your Inspiration

We asked the fitness experts interviewed for this article to share some of their favorite motivational material—books, websites, fitness apps and more—to encourage others just beginning their fitness journeys.

Rubi Slone |

Atomic Habits, by James Clear. “Really interesting and it simplifies a lot of information regarding habits. It makes you stand back and say, ‘Why did I have that whole bag of chips?” (Also recommended by Giselle Macchi, who says it’s “a great book for people starting out new year’s resolutions and creating good habits to carry out throughout the year.”)

Eat. Lift. Thrive, by Sohee Lee (IG: @SoheeFit). “There’s a huge shift in the fitness industry right now. It used to be this really toxic thing…no pain, no gain.  … Let’s help these people in sustainable ways so they can have their own autonomy and not rely on a trainer.”

Lean and Strong: Eating Skills, Psychology, and Workouts, by Josh Hillis (IG: @JoshuaHillis). “He works more on eating skills as opposed to dieting, because diets don’t work. … Some people may not have developed the skills to acknowledge when they’re eating because they’re bored or they’re upset. … He gets into the psychology.”

The Roll Model, by Jill Miller. Stories of people who have triumphed over chronic pain, illness and emotional trauma by using the Roll Model Method and its Therapy Balls.

Strong Women Lift Each Other Up by Molly Galbraith (IG: @themollygalbraith). “I really appreciate her perspective. She just released a book.”

Giselle Macchi | | IG: @daily_nourish

SuperLife: The 5 Simple Fixes That Will Make You Healthy, Fit, and Eternally Awesome, by Darin Olien. “He’s a health and fitness guru—not just people’s health but the health of the planet. He talks about the principles about being awesome in life. He also cohosts this Netflix series Down to Earth. And his podcast is really good, too. It’s called The Darin Olien Show. We’re big fans of his.”

John Rhodes | | IG: @JRhodes810

Elite Baseball Development Podcast. “The coach for the Yankees is a top-notch guy when it comes to training baseball players. He’s a brilliant mind, how he gets everything across to people of different ages and different levels from Little League to all the way to the pros.”

The Happiness Equation, by Neil Pasricha. A Harvard MBA, Walmart executive and bestselling author, Pasricha shares his formula for a happy life.

Ignite the Fire, by Jonathan Goodman. “This book talks about different types of people that you may come across in the industry, but it’s a very easy read. It’s a very small book but very informative. … He was one of the first people to emphasize the importance of online training.” “One of the companies I work with. They have infographics on how to build a healthy meal.”

7 Keys to Being a Great Coach, by Allistar McCaw. Sports performance coach Allistair McCaw shares the knowledge he’s gained while working with Olympians, Grand Slam winners and other champion athletes.

Joanna Ramos | | IG: @gojo.pilates

Balanced Body ( “They originally created some of the first equipment being used and then they expanded their reach into certification for teachers, and continuing education. And what’s lovely is they have a video library that a pilates student can subscribe to.”

Jennifer Prugh | |IG: @BreatheTogetherYoga

River of Offerings: 12 Journeys Following the Path of the Ganges River, by Jennifer Prugh. The owner of Breathe Together Yoga wrote a book in 2021 that documents a series of pilgrimages over the last ten years to spiritually significant locations along India’s Ganges River.

Bridget Puchalsky | | IG: @bridgesky_acu_yoga_veda

Healing With Whole Foods, by Paul Pitchford. “Classic—a good place to start for people trying to eat more plant-based food.”

Tiffany Cruikshank (IG: @TiffanyCruikshank). “This acupuncturist and yoga teacher provides some good information.”

The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine, by Ted J. Captchuk. “That’s a nice starting-out point for people looking to learn about health from the acupuncture perspective.”

Tanya Scott | IG: @TanyayaPilates

Caged Lion: Joseph Pilates and His Legacy, by John Howard Steel. “This is a new book about Joseph Pilates, founder of Pilates, which came out just before Christmas.”

Pilatesology. “This app is a huge platform for Pilates. There are hundreds and hundreds of videos of all types of pilates—all kinds of teachers …  everything you want, beginners to advanced, the best of the best. Workshops, all the information you want for pilates.”

Pilates Anytime. “This app is similar to Pilatesology but uses different kinds of equipment. Pilates is huge internationally. … It’s making a huge difference in people’s lives.”