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Achieve IT program brings the gym to the outdoors

By: Teresa O'Hanlon, Placer Herald Correspondent
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Can nature add something extra to your workout an indoor gym can’t provide? According to studies by the Mayo Clinic, outdoor exercise provides many benefits, including a variety of workout options and a sure cure for the winter blues. Rocklin fitness specialist Mechelle Bertolucci makes a point to connect with nature when exercising and finds the great outdoors is a powerful asset when training for a rigorous hike, marathon or triathlon. “There is a natural rhythm that I can feel when I am outside,” Bertolucci said. “I feel more relaxed and grounded. I’m more aware of my breathing and surroundings. I also like feeling the changes of temperature. Whether it’s hot or cold, I like to challenge myself to push through whatever it is that is given to me that day.” A former elite level collegiate gymnast, Bertolucci enjoys working out at Clover Valley Park near her home in Rocklin. About five years ago friends and neighbors starting taking notice of her daily drills on the grass, under the oaks and across the fields. Cardio and strength training, yoga and a relaxing cool down drew people in. It wasn’t long before Bertolucci had an informal team of admirers eager to train in her outdoor operation. “I started talking some of them into trying 5K and sprint triathlons,” Bertolucci said. “I love to encourage people to try things they may not think they can do. Right now some of us are training for the Mud Run in Folsom at the end of October. It’s a 5K military boot camp course with obstacles.” Bertolucci’s philosophy of working the body with intense kindness, care and compassion also enriched other parts of her life and she enjoyed sharing her fitness techniques in a small-group atmosphere. This summer she turned her informal outdoor workouts into a full-time business called Achieve IT. Her goal is to lead customized small-group workout sessions in just one hour, welcoming athletes of all levels. Bertolucci provides nutritional tips, a focus on physical and mental training and goal setting. “My classes are small so there is more individual attention,” Bertolucci said. “I do check in massage at the beginning to get an idea of how they are feeling that day. I also keep the workout changing so there are results and motivation to try something new. My specialty is encouraging people to try something they thought not possible. I will be there to help them formulate a plan and support them throughout their journey.” Lauren Kennedy of Rocklin has been training five years under Bertolucci and attends Achieve IT classes twice a week at various parks and The Fountains in Roseville. “I like her workouts because you leave there not only feeling you’ve had a great physical workout, but you feel much calmer,” Kennedy said. “I like the balance between cardio and strength training and yoga, which calms you down. You feel like you’ve really pushed yourself physically and then you can calm down mentally. Mechelle will ask you what area you want to focus on and tailor a fitness plan for you.” Achieve IT training sessions run twice daily, four times per week. The first class is free. An eight-class punch card costs $100 or there is a $15 drop-in fee per class. “I believe people don’t take enough time for themselves,” Bertolucci said. “Slow down and reconnect with what’s really important. In class we work a lot on breathing techniques that help your nervous system. Being outside is also very healing. It’s a chance to take in some fresh air and enjoy the present moment.” Achieve IT outdoor fitness training Owner: Mechelle Bertolucci Information: (916) 216-4569; mechelle_achieveit@att.net