MKE’s Most Fit

Get inspiration from seven Milwaukeeans who adopted tough exercise regimens – and stuck with them

Troy Washington. Photo by Kat Schleicher.
Troy Washington. Photo by Kat Schleicher.

Troy Washington

Occupation: Social worker and doctoral student in urban education, UW-Milwaukee
Age: 44

Troy Washington calls himself a “gym loyalist,” working out every day. Twice a week he also teaches classes in Kempo-Goju, a style of karate.

“You have to structure your time so working out becomes routine,” he says. “Then you have to keep pushing yourself.”

Washington’s routine includes an hour-plus of weights and Kempo-Goju training, which has an intense cardio component including kicks, punches and jumping jacks. Washington, who lives on Milwaukee’s West Side, says 30 years of conditioning has improved his muscles, posture and confidence. “I can miss work, but I can’t miss working out,” he says.

Jerrianne Hayslett and Hib Hayslett. Photo by Kat Schleicher.
Jerrianne Hayslett and Hib Hayslett. Photo by Kat Schleicher.

Jerrianne Hayslett & Hib Hayslett

Occupation (Jerrianne): Writer
Occupation (Hib): U.S. Air Force, retired lieutenant colonel
Age: 78

The Haysletts have a lifelong commitment to fitness — Hib since his Air Force days and Jerrianne since childhood in rural Virginia. Over the years, they’ve run, walked briskly and bicycled.

Today, the South Milwaukee couple visits the gym five or six days a week. Both do 30-40 minutes of cardio on a treadmill or recumbent bike. They use weight machines, stretch and do core work.

Jerrianne: “Because we both have health issues, working out is more vital than ever.” Hib: “My philosophy is, ‘Work out today so I can work out tomorrow.’”

Melissa Abramovich. Photo by Kat Schleicher.
Melissa Abramovich. Photo by Kat Schleicher.

Melissa Abramovich

Occupation: Fitness specialist, Elite Sports Club, River Glen
Age: 49

In her late 20s, Melissa Abramovich’s weight hit 300 pounds after the birth of her second child, and she realized she had to do something. She began watching her diet and started to work out, and over the years got down to today’s 150. “I decided I wanted to be in fitness and help other people,” she says.

At Elite, Abramovich teaches 15 classes a week: Pilates, yoga, ballet barre, spin, burn and firm, body pump, weight lifting, self-defense. To supplement that, she runs, bikes and cross- country skis.

She is also a black belt in Krav Maga, an Israeli self-defense system, and a deputy black belt in karate.

“I need to balance workouts so I don’t overdo any one thing,” she says.
She adds, “I’ve seen people become ‘exercise anorexics’ who exercise compulsively, or they injure themselves by overdoing it. Listen to your body.”

Mark Mone. Photo by Kat Schleicher.
Mark Mone. Photo by Kat Schleicher.

Mark Mone

Occupation: Chancellor, UW-Milwaukee

Mark Mone’s job is more than demanding. As chancellor, he must juggle the often-competing demands of many stakeholders, not to mention coping with drastic budget cuts from state lawmakers.

To stay fit, he’s become a dedicated biker and runner who also swims, skis and does toning exercises. “I feel so much better when I work out daily,” he says. “It’s great for stress and anxiety reduction.”

In an average month, Mone bicycles about 650 miles. He also tackles long, steep rides, such as a 100K in Mount Horeb and a 120-miler in the Colorado mountains. Additionally, he runs four miles two or three times a week.

To fit his schedule, “I block out early mornings and nights.”

Phyllis Bankier. Photo by Kat Schleicher.
Phyllis Bankier. Photo by Kat Schleicher.

Phyllis Bankier

Occupation: Photographer; former cabinetmaker and MPS teacher
Age: 69

Phyllis Bankier has always loved a challenge, especially if it’s physical. In college, she occasionally walked from UWM to her family home at 92nd and Capitol. When her young kids were in school, she swam. She began biking everywhere, sometimes 50 to 75 miles, just for the exercise.
Then she and her husband began running five miles a day. “I said, ‘Wait! I think I can do more!’” So, in her late 50s, she challenged herself to run a marathon. Then another. After that, she did four triathlons.

Today, she walks fast three or four times weekly, does hot yoga five times (“good for my muscles”), Pilates (“saved my back”), weights and body sculpting.

“I like that I can keep up with my teenaged grandkids,” she says. “I think I’m a good role model.”

Joe Narloch. Photo by Kat Schleicher.
Joe Narloch. Photo by Kat Schleicher.

Joe Narloch

Occupation: Trainer and studio manager, Fitness Together Brookfield
Age: 30

Joe Narloch considers himself a lucky guy. Passionate about sports and exercise since childhood, he stumbled on the field of kinesiology as a career and got a degree in it from UWM. He is now a personal trainer for a wide range of clients.

“It’s so rewarding to see how happy clients can be and realize I helped them achieve that,” he says.

Narloch’s own six-to-seven-day-a-week regime includes morning (60-90 minutes) and afternoon (45-60 minutes) workouts. He does cardio and resistance training — using the Stairmaster and lifting weights — to build muscle and strength while decreasing body fat. He also follows a healthy diet, with an emphasis on steamed vegetables, rice and fish, and reduced salt.

“It takes a while to develop a routine,” he says, “but then it becomes your lifestyle.”

Clothing provided by Clear Water Outdoor, InStep, Kit & Ace, Macy’s & Yellow Wood Gear

Hair and Makeup by Yuliya M. Litvina

‘MKE’s Most Fit’ appears in Milwaukee Health, a special issue from Milwaukee Magazine.

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