BeWell Fitness Trains Teams, Students

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Stephanie Gay
Founder of BeWell fitness, Ben Wallenbach and head coach, Jason Reno work with the Libertyville boys soccer and football teams for strength and conditioning. They provide a personal and safe workout environment for athletes to continue to get better.

Although Ben Wellenbach is not a native of Libertyville, he has become instrumental in the physical development and wellness of athletes in the area.  

Wellenbach opened BeWell Fitness 12 years ago and is the current owner. BeWell Fitness is a gym located on 1753 Northwind Blvd. in Libertyville.  Wellenbach has been working with LHS athletes for six years.

Before opening BeWell Fitness, Wellenbach played college hockey and during the summer, he would intern at a performance facility in Boston, his hometown, with what he considered to be one of the best strength coaches there. The 1998 women’s Olympic hockey team trained in the same facility as Wellenbach and he got to work with them, which gave him the opportunity to see the evolution of athletes from the high school level to the college level, and all the way to the Olympic level.

Prior to opening BeWell Fitness, he did an internship with the Indianapolis Ice, a minor league hockey team. He then moved to Illinois to finish college and just four years later, he opened BeWell Fitness.

“I was an athlete all my life, and I knew that at some point I wasn’t gonna play beyond college. So, I still wanted to be part of a team,” he said. “I still wanted to be part of an organization where I was helping and affecting athletes and still a part of sports in some way, and this was my, let’s say behind-the-scenes opportunity to really provide that support system.”

Shortly after opening the facility, Wellenbach was introduced to the Libertyville High School head coach of the football team at the time, Randy Kuceyeski.  Wellenbach volunteered his time with the Wildcat football team in order to gain their trust. When Mike Jones became the head football coach, Wellenbach continued volunteering, and he was eventually successful in transitioning from a volunteer to a strength and conditioning partnership, not only with the football team but also with other teams, such as boys soccer.

According to Mr. Jones, he and Wellenbach shared similar goals and visions for the athletes relating to strength and conditioning, which caused them to continue to work together.

 

“I wanted to tailor our strength program to helping our kids be better athletes,” Mr Jones said.

Currently, Wellenbach still works with the boys soccer and football teams. Kevin Thunholm, the boys soccer varsity coach, has been working with Wellenbach for two years.  Thunholm expressed his goal for the athletes working with Wellenbach, which is to keep them healthy and injury free, and Thunholm considers this goal successful. He also explained how  Wellenbach provides additional aspects to strength and conditioning.

“So he’s got a good hand on the nutrition and at fitness, but he’s really good at getting them pumped up to succeed, and he puts them in places to succeed,” Thunholm said.

In addition to working with LHS teams as a whole,  Wellenbach works with athletes individually, outside of school. Thomas Pearson, a senior, has worked with Wellenbach through the soccer team at LHS as well as outside of school on his own time.

According to Pearson, his father and Wellenbach met at XSport Fitness and kept in touch when he opened up BeWell, which led his father to put Pearson into BeWell Fitness.

Along with accompanying the athletes through their workout and making sure they are doing the training correctly and in a safe way, Pearson described how BeWell differs from others.

“I think that the biggest thing about BeWell is that it’s personal, right to you, like personal training just for you,” Pearson said. “Not necessarily huge weights or anything like that, just working different muscle groups, which was something I wasn’t used to, so it was really good work.”

After tearing tendons in her hip and having knee surgery, Tatum Blacker, a freshman who has participated in track and lacrosse, went to BeWell Fitness for physical therapy and later, training.

According to Blacker, Wellenbach was able to get her back to a full recovery eight weeks earlier than expected after her knee surgery.

“[The training there] makes me stronger and less prone to injury and then it’s also just really fun because he’s good at interacting so it’s not like I’m just working out,” Blacker said. “We’re actually having a good time.”

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