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Fitness is all the rage these days; we all want it but for some of us, we’re not quite sure the best way to get fit.

Local fitness expert Sean McCawley understands this all too well.

At McCawley’s business, Napa Tenacious Fitness, it’s not about losing a little weight or popping into his studio for a few sessions.

“This is not a place to come to lose 10 pounds and then drop out, absolutely not,” McCawley said.

“It’s not just a weight-loss service, it’s not just a strength and conditioning service, this is more of what I would call ‘lifetime fitness.’”

And don’t confuse what he does with the large group classes and one-size-fits-all programs some large gyms offer.

At Napa Tenacious, it’s all one-on-one instruction customized specifically for you and no one else, said this small business owner.

“I like to call myself more of a coach than a trainer,” McCawley explained.

“My goal to help people learn how to feel better, which involves establishing a fitness and nutrition routine that turns into a lifestyle routine. My clients tend to stick with it over several years and that makes a profound difference in people’s lives.”

It costs nothing to have an initial three sessions with McCawley, he said.

“It’s important that people trust me before they commit,” he said. “The only way to build the trust is to spend some time with them. Even first-timers should not feel intimidated,” he said.

“The first time you come in I like to do more of an assessment to see where you are physically,” he said.

“The second visit is a concentrated exercise routine where I take the data from the initial assessment and then apply it to the second training session. The third session we take it a little farther. The exercises I design for the programs are very simple, I put focus on lower body movement, no matter what, every time you come in. Then upper body ‘pushing’ and ‘pulling’ movements.”

“Those three take the priority, and then for the rest of the session we’ll implement core movements like bicep, triceps target areas for instance,” he said.

“These are totally customized programs for each individual that comes in, because everyone is a little different. Each client gets their own folder and what I like to do is 4-week exercise phases where we will track all their prescribed exercises for four weeks. Each week, within a phase, we increase either the weights or the reps. After four weeks, I design a new 4-week program and then we start again.”

McCawley’s method uses what he refers to as “progressive overload” where the muscles are progressively overloaded for the first three weeks of each phase. That’s how you progress,” he said.

“The first three weeks will always be a progressive overload where the challenge of the exercises will increase. And then on the fourth week, we taper down to de-stress the body. You can’t just keep stressing and stressing and stressing; it doesn’t work that way,” he said.

Over three months, six months and a year, his customers start to accrue those permanent strength changes, he said.

But lifetime fitness is about a lot more than just working out, according to McCawley.

“I also do nutritional consulting and that’s included in the services my clients sign up for. To find out what people are currently eating, I like to use the metaphor of a lunchbox. I want to look inside my client’s lunchbox and see what’s in there. I will then ask them if they think that’s a good diet, and most times they will admit it’s not.”

McCawley explained how it works.

“We do a one-on-one nutritional session where I educate them on portion size, what’s a carbohydrate, what’s a fat, what’s a protein and so forth. Those are really important things that a lot of people just don’t know,” he said. “For instance, If you want to lose weight, 7-9 small meals a day will help because your body can absorb carbohydrates, protein and fat more efficiently. And If you absorb them efficiently, they are used efficiently and don’t go into storage. That’s what love handles are,” he said.

Who is McCawley’s prime target market? Just about everyone, he said.

“I think of myself as the ‘Swiss army knife’ of personal trainers so my current clients are all over the board. I have teenaged boys and girls who play competitive sports, I have 20- to 50-year-olds who are also looking to get into shape and make the exercise routines we design for them more a part of their life. I even work with people into their 80s and beyond.”

McCawley said he has about a 50-50 split among men and women.

“I also work a lot with people and athletes rehabbing injuries, and some of the fitness routines we do in here work very well. Rehabbing on your own is hard,” he said. “Having a coach help you helps you stick to your program makes a big difference.”

But fitness can do a lot more than make you feel and look better, McCawley noted. “If you are out of shape and sedentary you are absolutely taking years off your life.

The trick is to keep moving to keep breathing, and a regular fitness program helps you do that.”

Becoming more fit is empowering, McCawley said, and that can empower you to take on other adventures in your life you might never have thought of.

“I see this transformation in my clients all the time. People get empowered to do amazing things, and I have to say, humbly. It’s nice to be a part of that.”

McCawley said he also assigns clients fitness homework every week. It gives people exercises to do this at least once a week for 15-20 minutes, and even that can make a real difference, he noted.

You might wonder what sort of commitment McCawley’s customized programs involve.

“I don’t do any more than three days a week, but I would like to see everyone do at least one session a week, two would even be better,” he noted.

Sessions are by appointment only. Call 707-287-2727 or email McCawley at His studio is located at 1812 Soscol Ave. in Napa.

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