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The joys and struggles of weight loss: Mary and Robby’s fitness journey

April 18, 2018

Robby Heimann works out at the NCH Wellness Center.
Mary Wicklein and Robby Heimann at the NCH Wellness Center

There is a perception that personal trainers are superhumans who always eat healthily and never struggle with their weight. The truth is that trainers are regular people too. They have to work hard to achieve their fitness and health goals just as, if not harder than, the people they train.

Robby Heimann grew up playing multiple sports. Over time, he gained weight which made it difficult to even participate in recreational games. Robby set out to make a change by eating healthy and exercising. He now uses his weight loss triumphs and tribulations to help others make a change.

After college, Robby became a personal trainer with the NCH Wellness Center. Robby is 57 pounds lighter, and for four years he has worked to help people become the best versions of themselves.

In the fall of 2016, he began training Mary Wicklein. When Mary started training, her knees and back would hurt during the sessions, and she wore a knee brace to help with pain. “Mary is extremely motivated and when I give her something to work on, she is going to do her best to succeed,” says Robby.


More than a year and a half later, Mary no longer needs a knee brace while exercising. Robby notes that Mary’s form continues to improve when doing exercises like the squat and deadlift. Their training relationship has developed into a friendship with open communication.

Mary Wicklein

“Mary is a lot of fun to train because we usually trade healthy recipes and steer each other away from the bad tasting ones,” Robby says. “She likes to have fun while working out, so it is normal for us to make jokes during the sessions.”

As of April, Mary has lost 125 pounds and her fitness goals have shifted from weight loss to maintenance, increasing her muscle mass and strength.

“I sleep better, make heathier food choices, doing things is much easier, I have more energy and I’m a better mom and role model because I’m able to show my kids how to live a healthy lifestyle,” Mary says.

She exercises with her kids on an obstacle course they built in their basement, and she continues to work out five days a week, training with Robby once a week.

“He makes my workouts hard enough that I feel it the next day, but not so hard that I have ever hurt myself within the time I’ve been working with him,” Mary says.

Robby believes it’s important for personal trainers to listen to their clients. In addition to helping his clients reach and maintain their goals, Robby continues to work on his health and fitness by working out as much as he can and following the 80/20 rule (80 percent of the food eaten is as healthy as possible, and 20 percent of food consumed is less healthy). Robby believes  that small changes end in big results.

Try one of Mary and Robby’s favorite recipes: Overnight Oats


  • 2 servings of oats
  • 1.5 scoops of protein powder
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 12 g of powdered peanut butter
  • 8 g of fat free/sugar free chocolate pudding mix
  • 5 g of cocoa powder
  • cinnamon
  • stevia (optional)
  • fruit topping (optional)


Combine all ingredients together in a bowl. Mix together and let sit overnight in the fridge. Add a fruit topping of your choice and enjoy!

To learn more about the NCH Wellness Center’s programs and personal training, visit or call 847-618-3500. Mention this article and receive a free 3-day pass.