26001 S. Woodland Rd.
Beachwood, OH |
(216) 831-0700
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Success Stories

Full-time Shaker Heights attorney and new mom Melanie Fletcher raises the bar when it comes to exercise.
More about Melanie's story

Three days a week Melanie rolls out of bed at 5:30 a.m., jumps into her gym clothes and heads to the Mandel JCC for a 6 a.m. class. “Sometimes when the alarm rings I groan, but I remember how good I felt the day before from my workout and want to feel that same high again,” she says. “The amazing things exercise has done for my body and mind are great motivators to get to The J.”

Melanie became a Mandel JCC “gym rat” as she calls herself, soon after her eight-month-old daughter was born. “I gained 50 pounds during my pregnancy and knew I had to do something to get back in shape,” she says.

After looking at big box gyms Melanie followed her sister’s advice and checked out The J  - and within minutes she was sold.  “Nothing came close to The J in terms of cleanliness, class variety and programs for new moms and their kids,” says Melanie. 

“I got an email from The J about small group training classes, and decided to give them a whirl,” says Melanie.  Soon classes like boxing, TRX, power TRX, and chisel became an integral part of Melanie’s workout regime.  Not only did she enjoy the targeted workouts led by experienced instructors, she began to build a community of friends of all ages and abilities within her classes.

“There is a sense of camaraderie and accountability in a small class,” says Melanie. “We count on each other to show up, to motivate each other, and to have fun working out together.”

The rewards Melanie has gained from her Mandel JCC membership extend to her baby daughter as well. “We have so much fun at the Moms and Babes classes.  The J’s Family Place is fantastic and I’ve had a chance to meet and bond with so many other new moms.  Plus the Kid Kare baby-sitting service allows me to bring my daughter to The J while I go work out .” she says.

“My only regret is not joining the Mandel JCC sooner,” she says. “Building muscle has made me stronger, and friends and family tell me how great I look. My mornings at The J give me the personal satisfaction of knowing I have carved out a portion of each day to do something special for myself.”

Melanie advises anyone looking for an exercise program to find something they like and stick to it.  “Make a one-month commitment and after that time you will be amazed at how good you feel mentally and physically. Remember, it’s not about being the best, but about being the most consistent. The only bad workout is the one that didn’t happen.”


Mark started working out with a personal trainer at the Mandel JCC because he wanted to get into shape and lose weight.
More about Mark's story

Mark was living an inactive lifestyle and decided it was time to change his health habits. Since he started working with trainer Travis Rogan, Mark has achieved all of his goals. He lost more than 20 pounds and remarkably reduced his body fat percentage from 22.4 to 11.5. He has made working out a part of his daily routine and likes exercising first thing in the morning before the demands of everyday life get in the way. Even though he has reached his goals, Mark continues to train with Travis because he finds that the support motivates him to continue exercising and improving himself.


“I had to make a decision, lose weight, keep it off and be healthy or I might not be around anymore”
More about Linda's story

For people struggling with weight loss or lifestyle management, they often talk about that one “turning point” that really solidified a decision to make a change. For Linda Vickery, that moment came when she attended her niece’s wedding in a size 22 dress. In addition to wanting to shed the pounds, Linda wanted to improve her health. “I had to make a decision, lose weight, keep it off and be healthy or I might not be around anymore,” she explained. Linda joined The J and started working with personal trainer, Justin Trent. In addition to Linda’s new found exercise regimen, she also changed her eating habits and joined Weight Watchers. The results after 18 months: 71 pounds lost and a 7.6 percent drop in body fat. That size 22 dress? Linda is nowwearing a size 14 and said she’s not stopping there.

A trip to her doctor confirmed she no longer has high blood sugar, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Linda believes the accountability and custom workouts you receive from a personal trainer really contributed to her success. “The trainer will give you something that you would not do on your own and get you to a place you might not get to on your own,” said Linda. When Linda first started working with Justin one of her goals was to be able to be more mobile. “I had a hard time walking because of my knees. I wanted to be able to move and go up and down stairs,” she said. Now she is able to easily go up and down stairs, do squats, jumping jacks and countless other exercises she wasn’t able to do before. And she feels better overall with the person she’s become. “It’s given me confidence going out socially because I feel so much more confident with who I am and with my body,” she says.