Personal Trainer Works From the Inside Out

Tommaso Sanna of Oak Park Fitness leads the way to better fitness and nutrition

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Show/Hide Gallery

By Lisa Browdy

Health Blogger

Getting past those first gung-ho weeks of a new exercise program requires an elusive tool: motivation. There are no quick fixes in exercise, and it is not uncommon for some of us to give up when we don't loose weight or gain definition right away.

Making things harder still is prioritizing time for fitness when we are already juggling the demands of home, family and community commitments. Then there is that rotten catch-22 of exercise: we don't do it because we don't have the energy. And the reason we don't have energy is that we don't get enough exercise. What to do?

"I tried exercising on my own but it was hard to get motivated," said Michelle Eagher. She now works out four times a week with personal trainer Tommaso Sanna, owner of Oak Park Fitness. He often comes to her home to lead her through a workout in her finished basement.

"One misconception is you need a lot of equipment and a big room to work out in," Tommaso says. "With just a couple of tools and a good mat you don't need a lot of space." He brings some weights, resistance bands and medicine balls to his clients' homes, and utilizes whatever equipment they might already own.

Michelle's workout begins at 6:15 a.m., which is usually before her three children (ages 9, 5, and 4) are awake. The morning I visited to see Tommaso in action, all three were up and about, but Michelle stayed focused on her workout while the kids played nearby.

"Engage those muscles...right there," he directed her. "When you come up I want you to really exhale from the whole diaphragm." Michelle's routine included jumps, squats and weightlifting. There was one particularly challenging move that required doing push-ups with one hand on the floor and the other on a medicine ball, then rolling the ball to the other hand. Sometimes Tommaso would have her go back to an exercise she had done earlier, but this time with heavier weights.

"One set is to prime the body, then we go heavier," he explained. "We do circuit training, which activates as many muscle groups as possible."

In addition to providing guidance on the proper form for exercise, Tommaso also gives his clients a lot of education about food. "Fitness is so much about nutrition, it is important to eat to compliment the workout," Tommaso explains. "When you exercise you are breaking down muscle. You have to rebuild them with branch-chained amino acids."

After their workout, Tommaso accompanied Michelle and her kids to the kitchen, where she blended up a smoothie with fruit, ice, and a special whey protein powder that he endorses. A native of Italy raised in Barcelona, Tommaso has a background in culinary arts, and was once an executive chef in the prepared foods department at Caputo's. He teaches cooking classes and emails his clients recipes and meal plans.

After becoming a personal trainer in 1998 Tommaso studied to become a certified holistic health counselor at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York (the same program that I am in). This program trains us to help our clients make lifestyle changes that encompass nutrition, activity, stress reduction and even spirituality.

"Moms are the nucleus of the family, and when she improves her diet it inspires the husband and children," Tommaso explains. "And when the endorphins of exercise start her day, that is a natural drug like love, and the stress of that day will fly past her."

In addition to his home visits, Tommaso also sees clients at a fully equipped gym. This week Tommaso is moving his gym to Evolution Fitness at 711Madison in Oak Park. He recommends that his clients work out with him three to four times a week, and prices sessions in packages to encourage a commitment to fitness. "Every person will have plateaus, and it is important to keep things continuously moving forward."

Tommaso's website is

Email: Twitter: LisaBrowdy

Love the Journal?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Wednesday Journal and We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

6 Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Shannon from River Forest  

Posted: December 19th, 2012 3:26 PM

I have worked with several trainers in the past - and NONE of them compares to Tommaso! I never thought I would be able to get in the shape I am in today - and I know I would not and could not have done it without Tommaso. He is so knowledgeable in what he does - and keeps you motivated and on track. He is the best of the best!!!

The trainer :-) from Oak Park   

Posted: October 20th, 2011 1:50 PM

Thank you for post you all. You guys are amazing and I am please to have you as a student/client.

Carmen Salerno from Melrose Park   

Posted: October 18th, 2011 2:05 PM

I been training with Tommaso of Oak Park Fitness since March and lost of over 50 pounds. I've worked out with a few trainers in the last five years, and Tommaso is the most skilled and capable of them all. He motivates me to excel and challenges me at each workout. He really pays attention to my technique. I appreciate how much he dedicates himself to fitness and health. If you're seeking an exciting routine change, an experienced and dedicated trainer and a way to get fit, then hiring Tommaso

Jaclyn Nocita from Melrose Park  

Posted: October 17th, 2011 9:33 PM

I have been training with Tommasso for about 3 months now. He is absolutely great. I train with him 5 days a week and he helps me plan out my meals some days. He taught me so much on nutrition and working out. He truly is an amazing trainer and chef. I feel good after each and every workout with him. Keep up the good work Tommasso!

Vilmaliz Bosque  

Posted: October 17th, 2011 11:41 AM

I have been training with Tommaso since 2008 and he is awesome. I never used to workout before but now I can't live without it. All of my workout routines include all exercises that he has taught me. I love that he keeps it interesting and always challenges me to things I can't imagine doing but when I finally achieve that goal I feel so strong and energized like new woman. He has completely sculpted my body and for the first time in my life I can put on a bathing suit without having to hide.

Cara from Oak Park  

Posted: October 14th, 2011 6:58 PM

I also train with Tommaso - in fact, just before Michelle at 5:30a. He's spectacular! I lost about 20 pounds since training with him and I feel so much better. My energy level is far higher which is key having 2 kids and a busy job. Unfortunately, on those days when he doesn't come to train me I don't seem to have the motivation to get up early and work out. But on my training days I manage to pop out of bed at 5:20a and I feel great all day. He motivates me and keeps me accountable.

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2019

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad

Classified Ad