by Tiffany Hyman
Intense, extreme, challenging, enjoyable, unique.
These are just a few adjectives Niagara-Wheatfield High School alum, Matt Daniels, uses to describe his unique workouts he creates for his clients.
Daniels recently started working at Blast Fitness, formerly Bally's Total Fitness, where his great reputation and personality are becoming well known. In just a year, the Niagara Falls native not only received his degree in personal training, he also has built a clientele and started a quickly-growing boot camp class.
"When people come to my camp, I tell them I'm a personal trainer, and I advertise to them if you want to work out with me once a week and attend my boot camp once a week, I promise you will get the amazing results you're looking for," said Daniels. "Nothing is better than a high-endurance, upbeat cardio workout."
"It allows people to be active," said Blast General Manager Greg Mallabar. "His boot camp is a fun and exciting way for people to work out. It gives people a new way to look at being active and definitely incorporates a new way to work out. Matt pushes people to these new levels."
"Matt's Military Boot Camp" is not just a typical boot camp with running, jumping, doing pushups, etc. Daniels, a retired veteran, puts his own spin on working out and how he runs his boot camp classes. He combines his military training with a mix of cardio, weights and a great deal of fun. The one-hour workout starts out with a few warm-up drills, followed by non-stop cardio, squats, running, sit-ups, pushups and much more. It is a fantastic workout that targets all areas of the body, including core, abs, legs and arms.
"You're going to go through a kick-butt workout with a trainer who is very personable," said Blast Fitness Manager Tim Dogmantis. "Matt pushes you and that takes it one step further. These exercises you do for an hour hold you accountable to beat those times and beat the repetitions you do each week."
"It's a mix of everything," said Daniels. "If you push the limit on those you'll get a great workout. It's a very high-impact, high-endurance training. Word spread fast (about my boot camp). There were 36 people in the last session. Mine is very intense because it is the basics, just super enhanced. I remind people when we're working out our vets do this, our active duty, our Coast Guard, our Air Force, our Navy, they all do this. Put yourself in their shoes for 45 minutes."
How does one know they want to pursue a career in the military to then a career in personal training? After graduating high school in 2005, Daniels decided to join the military, where he ranked as an E-4 Spc. He went on active duty in Iraq for 15 months.
"I felt like it was my turn to step up and serve the country," said Daniels.
While in Iraq, one of Daniels' commanders told his friend he was overweight and had to lose it quickly. With his background in sports, Daniels took it upon himself to help his friend out. Thanks to hard work, commitment and listening to Daniels, his friend lost 35-40 pounds and, additionally, passed his PE test.
"After helping my friend lose weight, I knew that was what I wanted to do ... help people in the fitness world," said Daniels.
Daniels returned from Iraq in 2010. After helping his friend, he decided to continue his dream of helping people get in the best shape of their lives. He has been training clients at Blast Fitness for months, and has received such positive feedback on his unique method of personal training, he wanted to take it a step further. In the end of May, he started the boot camp classes as a way of helping gym members attain those summer abs. Even though the class is relatively new, Blast members love the military-style Daniels throws into the mix.
North Tonawanda native, Jody Weatherston, one of Daniels clients, is a success story. Weatherston recently had a baby and wanted to take off the excess weight she gained during her pregnancy. She started training with Daniels in mid-April, and has already seen amazing results. In just a little more than a month, she has already lost 15 pounds. Because she did so well in so little time, Daniels decided to make Weatherston his demonstrator for his boot camp class.
"Matt is super motivating," said Weatherston. "He really pushes you to the point he knows you're capable of. When I first started training with him, I could not do the stuff I am doing now. He pushes you because he wants you to see results, and you get results fast. Hard work really pays off. That's why I keep coming back to him."
Weatherston is not the only one who has seen results from Daniels's unique methods. Wheatfield native and Niagara-Wheatfield alum, Kaylani Jacob, found herself unable to move days after starting his boot camp class because it was "challenging," she described.
"I really like his boot camp," said Jacob. "I don't have a lot of time to work out, but the class is great because it covers all the basics. It's super high-intensity. You're not going to be able to get such a good workout anywhere else. It pushes you to work your hardest."
Courtney Jones, a Rochester native going to school for pharmacy, is also a fan of Daniels's boot camp. Like Jacob, she has only attended classes for two weeks. She said that even though she works out five times a week, nothing prepared her for his boot camp.
"It forces you to get an awesome workout and motivates you to push yourself," said Jones. "It goes by quickly. I really like the music. Matt is fun and energetic."
After holding the class for just a week, Daniels' boot camp class has more than doubled. His positive attitude, ambition and drive keep his clients motivated to continue to be in the best shape of their lives.
"They don't call it personal training to not become personal with your clients," said Daniels. "I have a lot of energy I bring to it. I make people smile. I'm not quiet. I push people to their limits, and people usually leave smiling. I believe I stand out that much more because of how outgoing I am, and I don't take no for an answer."
"Matt's personality is great," said Mallabar. "The way he is able to work with people whether they've been working out for years, or whether today was their first day in the gym, and they've never touched a weight. He's a really good motivator, especially with his military background. He's able to push people to their limits they may or may not have ever been to before. He's able to positively relay the message to people in an effective way that it's not just explaining information to people, but the reasoning why he does everything."
"Matt's Military Boot Camp" classes are every Monday and Friday at 11 a.m. at Blast Fitness, 3880 East Robinson Road in Amherst.
For more information, contact Daniels at 716-525-0685, 716-691-4292 or visit his Facebook page under "Matt's Military Boot Camp."
Pictured: Matt Daniels, left, with Tim Dogmantis, fitness manager of Blast Fitness.