The WC Press Fitness Issue - March 2015

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“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. –Joseph Addison


COLUMNISTS Becca Boyd Diane LeBold Brad Liermann Jennifer Ozgur DJ Romeo Published By... Mathers Productions 13 South Church Street West Chester, PA 19382 610-344-3463

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Noting 13 21 23 31 37 39 47 51 57

Our no-nonsense table of contents

HIGHER POWER DETERMINANT James Beckerich climbs the world’s tallest peaks LOCAL TALENT Chatting with personal trainer Sarah Price from Mitch’s Gym FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT KidPHIT helps challenged children find their inner warrior OWNER OF THE MONTH Amber Osborn talks massage therapy at Tola Healing Arts THE LOOK Previewing spring fashions with Jane Chalfant OVERCOMING OBSTACLES iCore takes a new approach to personal fitness BARTENDER OF THE MONTH Chatting with Pete Schmitt at the The Social Lounge IT’S HOW YOU GET THERE West Chester University host their first ever bouldering event THE MAKEOVER Blaze Salon takes one lucky client from drab to fab





From the


“Exercise is done against one’s wishes and maintained only because the alternative is worse.” George A Sheehan

Fitness is a constant battle… at least for me. I go through swings, pushing for better health in fits and starts. In the spring I signed up for a 5k that took place in early summer. To train, I ran four days a week and pushed myself to the point I was running a sub 24-minute 5k with a mile time in the low sixes. It’s not much to brag about, but I still felt pretty proud. I pushed myself all summer despite accumulating nagging injuries that left me wrapped in an ankle brace and running in special shoes to accommodate my flat feet and what Scott Purcell at West Chester Running Store call a “pronated ankle.” By November I’d reached the point where my dog and I could run the long loop around Stroud Preserve (about four miles, up and down hills, through cornfields and over streams) just for fun. Then the weather changed. Since December, I haven’t logged more than two miles. I try to burn as many calories as possible while watching TV on the stationary bikes at Mitch’s Gym, but the networks seem to coordinate their commercial breaks so that every TV cuts to pharmaceutical ads at the same time. And it’s tough to cycle with any determination while hearing the side effects of the latest male performance-enhancer. My cardio’s been lacking. Diet is another battle. Over the past three years I’ve lost 35 pounds and managed to keep it off. And, whether it’s healthy or not, I’ve achieved those results through some pretty wicked dietary restrictions. The toughest of those diets was undoubtedly keeping myself to 1000 calories a day for weeks on end. No cheat days. Ever. I monitored my intake on a fitness tracking app and basically subsisted on egg whites, veggies and more egg whites. So many egg whites. Now that I’ve lost the weight, I try to keep my diet more reasonable, but the thing that always creeps up on me—that whisper in my ear that says, “It’s some ice cream, live a little!”— is the realization that I’m gonna have to fight for my health for the rest of my life. Pizza and beer are confined to the weekends. No matter how busy I get, I need to get to the gym. I’ll need to do that until the day I die, and frankly I find it depressing. Luckily, producing this issue gave me hope. I can’t speak for anyone else, but my motivation lags when I get bored. Lifting weights quickly grows old. I can’t bear the monotony of a treadmill. I’m bored of bikes and barbells and most certainly egg whites. But the feature stories in this issue prove that there is such an abundance of choices for maintaining your fitness—even just right here in West Chester—that you don’t ever have to be bored. Whether it’s rock climbing or mountain climbing, mixed martial arts or obstacle courses, there’s always something new to try, always something else to get you moving when the threat of bathing suit season fails to get you off the couch and into the gym. And I think that might make the battle for fitness a little bit easier... at least for me.





higher power

DETERMINANT Retired West Chester East math teacher James Beckerich climbs the world’s tallest peaks and shares his inspiration. story Jesse Piersol photos Amy Theorin






VERY wall in James Beckerich’s To get back to the shape I was in, and to apartment is filled with prints be better than I was.” of snow-laced mountains. Photos of You can bet that focus will keep James swirling clouds and endless blue skies surround smiling teammates and friends in climbing gear. A red helmet and an ice ax sit nearby. The dominant feature, however, is a giant neon sign in the glowing outline of four mountain peaks. “I was driving through Abington, my hometown. There was a sign that advertised ‘neon signs.’ I went inside with a design I’d drawn and asked them to make it.” The sign became James’ signature piece no matter where he lived. “It’s my vision, a reminder of what I do.” James has spent the last 25 years climbing every mountain he can. The retired math teacher from West Chester East High School has made good use of his summers off, summiting 40 peaks over 14,000 feet in Colorado, and going on altitude-chasing adventures in the far corners of the world.

on target for his return to top form. He’s been a regular at Mitch’s Gym for 10 years, where he lifts weights every day for 45 minutes to an hour. You’ll also see him hiking around town with a pair of trekking poles, five to eight miles daily. When he’s training for a climb, he’ll add a pack, too. His lifestyle is about moderation—a good diet with plenty of fiber, fruits, vegetables, and protein—but it’s also about unwavering commitment. His rigorous routine has grown out of getting it wrong along the way. Like the first time he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and woke up on summit morning with his nose pouring blood. “I went to the guide with Kleenex stuffed in my nose. She took one look at me and said, ‘you’ll

Colorado incident gave James a heads up about safety. “Don’t hike alone. But if it has to be a solo climb, I need to know the maps, the weather. I overpack. I take food and protective clothing for double the time I expect to be out.” As a teacher, James says he brought the same work ethic to his classroom. “Some teachers get away with minimal preparation, but that wasn’t me.” Even the year he retired at age 59, he’d still do four or five hours of homework a night. James would grade papers on the beach in Key West, leading students to wonder about the sand that sometimes peppered their assignments. “If I wanted to go out and play, I made sure to do my homework first. I told students the same thing. Go on vacation, enjoy the trips, but don’t use it as an excuse not to do your work.”

He points to his right leg, still on the mend after a knee replacement in November, as another reminder of what he does. Lean and lanky at 68, the recent surgery doesn’t keep him from zipping around the apartment at remarkable speed, albeit with a bit of a hobble. The knee rehab will take another three to four months, but in the meantime, he plans for the future. Flipping through the pages of Backpacker magazine, he stops at an article about the Matterhorn, that legendary pyramidal peak straddling Switzerland and Italy. It is his next big adventure. “It inspires me to stay focused.

...he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and woke up on summit morning with his nose pouring blood.

make it.’ I was unprepared for that altitude and the endurance I needed.” Or like in Colorado in 2007, when he had to secure a gaping laceration in his leg with duct tape after a misstep sent him tumbling 15 feet down the mountain in a mini rock slide. “I was on the way down from the summit, tired and not focused. That’s when things happen,” he says. The

“We all have a job or a gift. I was born to be a teacher,” James says. Teaching got him a deferment during the Vietnam War, but he discovered he was good at it, too. He loved performing in front of the young kids. “It was more than just math. Today, when I run into students I had, they forget what I taught, but they remember me and thank me. That’s more important than what I taught.”





James still uses his affinity for teaching, but now he’s outside the math classroom, giving his “Adventures for a Lifetime” talks to student groups ranging from high school to community college and beyond. He points to a photo of Mt. Everest in the brochure he uses to advertise his programs. “I gauge my audience—the curious to the committed. If they’re just curious about what I’ve done, I’ll do more of a travelogue presentation, or I can go into more detail about the technical aspects.”

physical part of doing it, and then there is the bonus of spiritual synergy.” Climbing mountains has made him more appreciative of his own opportunities,

climb in August up the nearly 8,000-foot Mt. Olympus in Washington state, a gift to himself for his 68th birthday. His tent mate was a Special Ops serviceman half his age. Upon reaching the summit, the

He even takes his presentations to nursing homes and retirement communities, to entertain and inspire. “Everyone can do something, even if it’s just walking around the block. Or coming to hear me talk,” he explains. “People younger than me don’t know how much they can still do.” Travelling internationally has made James a student again too. His first time on Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2006 opened his eyes to a larger world. “I saw how small my place was on the planet and I was humbled.” The new perspective inspired him to sponsor a young Tanzanian girl named Happiness through an organization called To Return ( “The first six years of school are free in Tanzania, but after that it costs money. If students can’t learn English, they can’t find work as guides or porters, or in the hotels.” Now 16, Happiness continues to pursue her education. “Every challenge is a circle,” James contemplates. “You bring back more than the summit. It’s the mental preparation, the

whether for himself or for others. “Now, every time I come back home, I’ll be standing in line for something, waiting, but I don’t mind. It’s taught me to follow my dream. To make a difference. And to laugh.” James’ most recent adventure was a

34-year-old congratulated James on his accomplishment. James’ reply? “I’m only on one-and-a-half legs right now. Wait until you see me next year.” James gestures to all the mementos of his experiences that surround him. “I look at these peaks and know that I’ll be back.”

It’s taught me to follow my dream. To make a difference. And to laugh. MARCH 2015 THEWCPRESS.COM





Becca Boyd has a passion for good food


I’m often surprised by gym-goers who remain active so they can “eat whatever they want.” I find the link between eating healthy and working out to be iron-clad— to be the healthiest version of yourself you need to do both. But, to help bridge the gap between what you want to eat and what you should eat, here’s a recipe for a sweet pre- or post-workout snack, followed by an easy, flavorful, protein-packed dinner. Chewy Nut and Chocolate Squares about 20 bars 1 c. roasted, unsalted almonds; 1 c. pitted dates; 1 1/2 c. oats; 1/2 c. walnuts, raw or roasted, unsalted; 1/4 c. honey; 1/2 c. unsweetened coconut; 1/2 tsp. cinnamon; 1/2 c. peanut butter; 1/4 c. bittersweet chocolate chips. 1. Pulse almonds, walnuts, dates, coconut and oats in food processor until well chopped, about 10 2-second pulses. 2. Add honey, cinnamon and peanut butter and process machine about 30 seconds or until no chunks remain. 3. Press a piece of parchment paper into an 8x8" baking pan and transfer mixture into pan. Press into corners and flat across the surface. 4. Microwave chocolate chips in a small glass bowl for 30 seconds and stir. Microwave in 10-second increments until chocolate is smooth. Pour quickly onto peanut butter bars and smooth with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula. 5. Cover and refrigerate until firmed up, at least 1 hour. 6. Lift chilled bars out using the parchment sling. Cut into 20-25 squares and place in tupperware, layers divided by pieces of parchment paper or waxed paper. Bars will keep in the fridge at least one week. Lemon, Parsley and Parmesan Chicken serves 4 3 tbsp. flour, divided; 1/4 tsp. pepper; 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided; 4 chicken breasts, sliced or pounded thin; 1/2 tsp. salt; 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed; 1 c. chicken broth; 1 tbsp. lemon juice; 1/4 c. finely chopped parsley; parmesan cheese, for topping. 1. Mix 2 tbsp. flour, salt and pepper in shallow bowl. Dredge chicken to completely coat and shake off any extra flour. 2. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and brown, then flip to second side and brown. Transfer chicken to a plate and tent with foil. 3. Add remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil to pan and reduce heat to medium low. Add garlic and remaining 1 tbsp. flour. Whisk and let cook until garlic is light brown and fragrant (about 20 seconds). 4. Add chicken broth, lemon juice and parsley and let cook, whisking occasionally, for about a minute or until mixture thickens slightly. 5. Add chicken back to pan and nestle in sauce. Let cook for several minutes, flipping once (to reheat chicken and adhere sauce). 6. Transfer chicken to serving plate and top with remaining sauce. Add parmesan to chicken and serve.







PHOTO Andrew Hutchins


Sarah Price has had the pleasure of whipping our staff into shape at Mitch's Gym. We want to talk about it. The first thing I’ve gotta know is, what time do you wake up? This morning? 5am. Wow. What time do you usually start work? Anywhere between 6 to 7am. I consider it an achievement if I'm out of bed by 8am. What time does your work day end? Sometimes 2pm, sometimes 7pm. What all do you do in that time? I offer

one-on-one personal training, small group training and run group fitness classes. How long have you been at Mitch's?

More than three years now. What brought you here? Being able to work full-time. When I had the opportu-

nity to come here I couldn't resist. What got you interested in the profession? I’ve been an athlete my whole life,

and I started working in a gym my senior year of high school with the intention of becoming to be a strength and conditioning coach. But while working at a YMCA in college, I became interested in personal training so I could help everyday people. So for you the job is about helping people? Absolutely. Well, do you have one piece of advice for someone who might be considering seeking out some help getting in shape? Don’t

be afraid to try new things, and don’t let the first day at the gym scare you away. There are a wide variety of ways to work out, and I guarantee we can find you something that you’ll enjoy. Do you have any good success stories?

I’ve had quite a few over the years. I’ve helped everyone from people hoping to increase bone density, to working with athletes who are looking to push it to the next level. I’ve actually had a few people I’ve helped to lose more than 70 pounds. I think one of my favorite stories is a girl I train who does paralympics dressage. She’s down in Florida right now, competing in horse shows and winning.

Well, that’s the good; what’s difficult about the job? The hardest part is con-

vincing people it’s a lifestyle change, not something that’s gonna happen overnight. How about for the people who’ve already made that lifestyle change. Do you enjoy pushing them? I love having clients I

can take to the advanced-level stuff, who I can see enjoying a tough workout. For your part, how do you stay in shape?

Hmm. Well, it’s kinda part of the job—I teach six classes a week, I play field hockey and I do my own workouts as well. Is studying also part of the job? We have continuing education credits that we have to get each year in order to keep our certifications, and because I have numerous certifications I’m always learning new exercises and new routines. Sounds like a lot of work. How do stay motivated? I don’t want to be a used-to-

be. When I was younger my mom used to always tell me, ”So-and-so used to be in really good shape,” or, “This person used to always dress to the nines.” These people used to be really great at things, but then they let life get in the way. My goal is to maintain a healthy lifestyle so I never have to say, “I used to be that.”



Fist. KniFe. gun. Real TRaining for worst case scenarios

342 Hannum ave, West Chester, Pa ď ´ 610.888.8212




Good Fight Stu Bryant and KidPHIT help challenged children find their inner warrior stor y KATE CHADWICK photos ANDREW HUTCHINS

Stuart Bryant doesn’t look like a superhero, except maybe for the Clark Kent glasses. Clearly, he’s physically fit, but beyond that, the 55-year-old owner of Mr. Stuart’s Martial Arts on Hannum Avenue seems relatively unassuming when you meet him: polite and well-spoken, sporting sweatpants, t-shirt and a shaved head. Most people call him “Stu.” And rather than swooping in to save others, superhero-style, he instead offers self-defense training so they can save themselves, in the form of mixed martial arts programs like Haganah (Israeli tactical fight) training, kick-boxing, and the like, as well as a full-service gym with 24-access. “Our gym isn’t like the chain ones you might find out there,” Stuart told

us. “There are no bowls of Tootsie Rolls on the counter when you walk in. But if you’re here to do the work to get fit, my door is open to anyone, and I’m here to help you do it.” But what nudges him into superhero territory is his creation and founding last year of KidPHIT, the only program of its kind in the world, offering physical fitness training in a group setting to children on the autism spectrum. In typical Clark Kent fashion, he modestly shrugs it off thusly: “You can call these kids challenged, yes,” he said. “But let’s face it—every single one of us is challenged in some way or another. The way I see it, my job is just to help whoever is in my path.” 





These children ended up in Stu’s path via his wife’s job at Devereux, a leading nationwide nonprofit behavioral health organization, with a strong treatment program for children on all levels of the autism spectrum. “I was teaching karate at the time,” Stu told us. “And I came up with the idea of maybe offering some kind of program that wouldn’t involve just physical fitness, but also promote interaction with and among these kids. It’s really revolutionary, and the only class of its kind that we’re aware of.” The children, along with an aide, are transported twice a week from Devereux for one of four classes offered by Stu. The six-week program charts the kids’ progress, and they are graded for their performances in four specific ranges: physical, emotional, attitude and compliance, or the amount of physical and/or verbal prompting needed on a given day. “The great thing is that we’re not only seeing changes in areas of physical fitness, which is obviously a goal, but in the way the kids meet and then handle situational challenges,” Stu said. You probably know someone affected by autism, either personally or via a family member. The most recent statistics from the website indicate that autism prevalence has increased sharply in the past decade, affecting 1 in every 68 children; as recently as ten years ago, that statistic was 1 in 166. Boys are also four times more likely to be on the autism spectrum than girls (a statistic that was apparent in the KidPHIT class we visited: three boys and one girl). Some of the kids attending KidPHIT are more functional than others, some are almost entirely non-verbal. Stu seems to have the ability to somehow manage to treat the kids alike, in a manner that is both “just like anyone else,” and on an individualized, specific level when necessary. I sat in on a KidPHIT class on a cold, clear morning, and, as the kids entered the gym with their aides (walking past “Bob”

I CAME UP WITH THE IDEA OF MAYBE OFFERING SOME KIND OF PROGRAM THAT WOULDN’T INVOLVE JUST PHYSICAL FITNESS, BUT ALSO PROMOTE INTERACTION WITH AND AMONG THESE KIDS. the rubbery punching dummy sporting a KidPHIT T-shirt and a hand-lettered “wipe your feet” sign), Mr. Stuart greeted them all warmly, heartily, and by name: Austin, Ian, Aidan and Abby. Stu then had the children line up for a series of stretches and warm-ups. There was only one other gym patron present at the time, lifting weights and doing exercises on the rack, well out of the way of the action. Stu says this is by





portant element of most adult group exercise programs,” Stu told us. “But, when you’re dealing with children with autism, it's historically been perceived as being too intrusive, maybe providing a little too much distraction. I think we're changing that perception, as you obviously saw, or you wouldn’t have Speaking of distractions, I couldn’t help but notice music asked. The music adds to the energy in the room, but it isn't playing, albeit softly, in the background during the KidPHIT overpowering.” class. It was mostly anthem rock at a very low volume—some Indeed, as the kids and their aides (who seemed very into Bad Company, AC/DC, and the like—which would certainly the program, while keeping a watchful eye—and sometimes get me going (let’s face it: if the beginning of “Hell’s Bells” hand—on their charges) moved from warm-ups into exercisdoesn’t get you warmed up, you’re simply not applying youres, they seemed to find a certain rhythm; although it was hard self). But it prompted the question: wouldn’t the music prove to guess how much a part the music played in that, it was also too distracting for autistic kids, who are already challenged in difficult to dismiss it outright. Stu’s constant positive feedback the area of focusing on specific tasks? “Music is a very imwas impossible to dismiss though, as he encouraged the kids relentlessly: “Abby, what’s next?” “Good job!” “You got this” and—this reporter’s personal favorite—“This is your best one” were among the phrases Stu used to praise the children, and he managed to hit just the right note of enthusiasm without overwhelming them. At first it seemed difficult to tell whether the kids were internalizing any of the feedback, but then we started to notice that there was some eye contact happening and that high-fives were returned promptly and with definite intention. design, and that the classes are scheduled during the slower times at the gym, typically mid-morning to mid-afternoon, in order to keep distractions to the kids—as well as to the clients—to a minimum.


After a series of group exercises like jumping jacks, the kids moved off to different areas around the room: stepping over and through large tires on the floor, heading over to the large stretch bands suspended from the walls or with individual bands to work their arms, or doing plyometric exercises from the floor up onto a step. “Mr. Stuart” was seemingly ev-





erywhere at once; as the watchful aides worked to keep their charges on task, he moved around the room, assisting with a shoulder, here, to literally lean upon a child pulled himself up a step, to distributing a pat on the back here or an encouraging word there to another who had successfully navigated the rubber tire course. The group then finished, as they usually do, taking turns working their way, using both feet and hands, up a steep incline in the gym’s floor. The aides worked alongside them, but, at one point, when a child stopped halfway up and did not seem inclined to go any farther, Stu walked down and met him halfway, then climbed the rest of the way with him. Mission accomplished, and, witnessing it, I couldn’t help but internally cheer. “This is so good for them,” said Emily Koppenhofer, a Devereux aide who was there with Austin the day we visited. “Mr. Stuart is great, and the program definitely offers a release of energy for the kids—it calms and centers them. And doing it as a group is an ice-breaker.” Our final question for Stu was about the idea of someone skilled in the area of…well, fighting, teaching mixed martial arts techniques to challenged kids. “We’re human beings, yes, but we are also animals—the fight or flight instinct is alive and well in all of us,” Stu said. “There are plenty of times in our lives where fighting is inevitable, whether it’s a verbal disagreement with a spouse to literally—but hopefully not ever—facing an actual physical confrontation. The instinct to fight and defend yourself is primal, and honoring your inner warrior is both noble and important. And, if anything, I’ve noticed that autistic kids fight harder, because everyday tasks are simply more challenging to them.”

As of press time, Devereux is the only student provider for the KidPHIT program, but Stu told us that interest in it is spreading, and he’s been fielding other inquiries from area schools. KidPHIT is a nonprofit, whose program relies entirely on donations—neither the families of the students nor Devereux is charged for the program classes. It is a 501©(3) charitable organization, and all donations are tax-deductible. All Stu knows is that he’s getting results from these kids, and it seemed pretty obvious to us, as everyone gathered in a group at the end of class to hear their grade for the day, that he’s not the only one on board with the program. “When I first started this, I had no idea what I was getting into. I just looked at it as a challenge, like anything else, and I knew I’d give it my best shot,” Stu told us. “And one day I was leading a class, and I got to the part where I said ‘Okay, now who knows what’s next?’ And this little boy, I’ll never forget it—his name was Alex—he just LIT UP. He yelled ‘Jumping jacks, jumping jacks!!!’ And he was just kind of beside himself, you know? It was like this light bulb moment, and I knew then that what we were doing was reaching them,” he said. “I think it’s easy in this life to forget that we’re all so important to each other—that we’re catalysts to each other,” he added, “And you know what? I’ve never been so excited about doing jumping jacks in my life as I was right then.”

You can find out more about KidPHIT by checking their website,, or by calling Mr. Stuart’s Martial Arts at 610-888-8212. You can also follow them on Facebook for updates.





Owner of the


PHOTO Andrew Hutchins


Amber Osborn is an Ashiatsu massage therapist. Yup, the kind that walks on your back! How’d you end up in massage therapy? I went to West Chester University for health science, and my favorite course was an alternative and complementary medicine class. My professor, Roger Mustalish, made the class awesome. I knew I wanted to be doing something that helped people—massage seemed like a nice fit. After I graduated WCU I went to the Cortiva Institute in King of Prussia to study massage. Was it intense? I went from 9am to 4pm every day for six months. And that's just a general therapeutic massage license. Wow. That’s a lot more than I assumed.

Yeah. A lot of information goes into being

a massage therapist—we know as much about the body as a physical therapist. So you got your degree, then what? I moved back to the Lancaster area, and I helped start a small practice in my hometown with a childhood friend. How’d that go? It went well, for being a small town and a new business. A lot of people weren’t open to the idea of massage being a therapeutic necessity but rather saw it as a luxury. But I’m sure you learned a lot. I learned a lot of the business side. I never took any business courses—never thought I’d own my own business—but you’re just thrown in there and have to figure it out as you go. People don’t realize you can be good at your trade but bad at running a business. What made you decide to come to West Chester? West Chester is a great place for

starting a business: there are a lot more like-minded people here, people who are open to massage being part of their health plan. Between that and a desire to be closer to my now husband, West Chester was an obvious choice. Happy? Oh my gosh, yes. I’ve been in this new space for just about two years, and I’ve made it to the point where I have steady clients, and I’m not worried about,

“Am I going to have clients today?” Is it fair to attribute some of your success to the unique type of massage you practice?

Definitely. At first I was a little hesitant about Ashiatsu because it’s such a new thing on the East Coast, but once I started working on people and they realized the benefits—especially people who enjoyed deep pressure—I found people stuck with it, then told other people about it. What made you decide to study Ashiatsu? I was intrigued when I first articles

about it in Massage magazine, how it was working with gravity and allowed me to take care of myself. After a long week of work my body hurts, and while I was helping other people I was neglecting my own health. I no longer have to force or strain— I’m kind of floating on people and the pressure is there because I’m using gravity. What sets it apart? I’m really able to deliver 120lbs of pressure, plus the foot is broader than the hand, so I can get more work done in half an hour than a person can do by hand in an hour. I have to ask: is it painful? It’s not a painful at all because the foot is so broad I can do long, deep strokes. It's like a deep Swedish massage, all the benefits of deep tissue without the pain.





Children in


Jennifer Ozgur is a mother, wife and teacher who still finds time to get out and about with her family

I’ve been a runner since I came to WCU and had a classmate who’d drag me around the quad several times a week. She was the track star at her high school and I became her pet project, culminating with me entering my first 5k and almost having a nervous breakdown. I was overwhelmed with all the people and was under some impression that if I didn’t come in first, I was a failure. I remember her coaching me throughout those twenty-some minutes of torture. At one point, I got so frustrated at her “encouragement” that I punched her in the arm. Miraculously, I finished the race and decided to try one again with the goal of beating my own time. I was hooked. I grew to love everything about running. I loved looking forward to letting loose at the end of a long day. I loved setting goals for myself. I loved taking in the scenery as I brainstormed and planned solutions to problems in my life. I ran my way through many setbacks and accomplishments. It relaxed and energized me at the same time. Running was the one constant in my life, even after my initial friend and I parted ways. As I got older, I've had to alter my running to fit my lifestyle. I can no longer go for a two hour run to train for a long-distance event. I abstain from running in the rain or trail blazing, lest I get hurt and become incapacitated, no longer able to meet my family obligations. I don’t push my body to the point of abuse; I treat it with care and respect to prolong its activity. This mentality shift, along with a long-standing interest in Eastern holistic approaches (initiated while attending a health psychology graduate class where I learned about transcendental meditation, the evils of animal flesh, past life regression, visualization and bio-feedback) led me to my newest passion. When it started getting colder this winter, something inside me said to go for an exercise class to supplement my running routine. I thought I’d try power yoga. At the risk of sounding pretentiously Zen, yoga is like going for a run in your mind. Like running, you get out of it exactly what you put in. You can half-heartedly run using bad form, only partially exerting yourself and feel like you just wasted your time. Likewise, you can stand in a pose, your mind thinking about the laundry that needs to be folded, or you can fully engage your body, lengthening, deepening, and completely focus on trying to master the form. Do it in a room that’s jacked up to 80 degrees and slowly lower yourself from plank to upward facing dog and you’re in a zone. With running, I’d find myself pushing my physical body. In yoga, the challenge borders on spiritual. With both, I emerge lighter and stronger at the end of a session. I’m not about to abandon my sneakers and the pavement (once it gets back above 50 degrees outside), but I think I’ve found a discipline for life.





Tell Me something


Kate Chadwick takes a moment to spotlight a local citizen for doing something swell

Who she is: Kelley Meagher What she does: Kelley is the volunteer coordinator at the Chester County Historical Society for their annual National History Day event, being held this year on March 20 and 21. Why she’s on this page: When we asked Vice President of Development David Reinfeld for a suggestion, he didn’t hesitate to nominate Kelley. She’s spent the past seven years volunteering at CCHS and was recently hired as part-time volunteer coordinator for National History Day. “National History Day is a year-long event for students in grades 6-12,” Kelley told us. “Students conduct inquiry-based research using both primary and secondary sources to support an annual theme.” The theme for 2015 is “Leadership and Legacy.” Inquiry-based research involves asking questions like “what does this mean?” “What else was happening at this time?” and “Is this true?” then investigating those questions. “There are no wrong conclusions,” Kelley said, “if the student ‘historian’ supports his or her findings.” Students also choose a method to present their findings: research papers, documentaries, performances, websites or exhibits. Their work is then evaluated by a team of volunteer judges. Approximately 2,000 students in Southeast Pennsylvania participate in NHD at the school level and nearly 350 compete at the regional level. What she likes about West Chester: Kelley’s favorite breakfast spot? “Penn’s Table. Hands down. Ask Anthony what’s going on in town; he’ll know! Order the #3. My family’s photo is above booth #5—we had our rehearsal dinner there.” Her favorite place to buy clothes is Kaly. “You’ll come back for what you didn’t buy the first time,” she said. Her favorite borough activity is the Christmas parade, and she suggests stopping by the Lincoln Building prior to the parade’s start to hear students participating in the Gettysburg Address Competition. What we like about her: Volunteering is in her blood. While raising children for 13 years, she occupied her time with “all the volunteer work I could physically handle.” This included the PTO, volunteering as a Sunday school teacher, as member and later president of the Local Moms Club, phone counselor with Nursing Mothers Alliance, reunion coordinator for her Swarthmore College class, as well as Museum Teaching Assistant volunteer at the CCHS. Moral of the story: There’s much to be learned from the past, particularly in West Chester. “Did you know that West Chester is considered the ‘Athens’ of Pennsylvania?” Kelley said. “I feel that we all have a responsibility to learn about and support our communities. There’s a collective sense of purpose here at the Chester County Historical Society. We realize that everyone has their own story to tell and this is what makes our collective history.” Do you know a WC resident who’s doing good things and deserves a little recognition in Tell Me Something Good? Let us know! Email details to






Jane Chalfant shares some great looks for spring




Light, bright and airy — it's spring again!

PHOTO Andrew Hutchins

Do you need a nice dress for the workplace or your next party? At Jane Chalfant you will find fabulous microfiber dresses that retail under $200.00. This coral shift dress by Donna Morgan is sleeveless, but you will find many with a three-quarter sleeve. Jane Chalfant also has very cute print skirts in the same jersey fabric that can be topped by a Michael Stars tee. At Jane Chalfant, you will find a great selection of cotton sweaters for the cool Spring months ahead. Mary is wearing a cotton tape yarn pullover by Curio in a white and melon combination. She chose to pair it over a white ankle pant by Lisette of Canada. These pants have been endorsed by Oprah Winfrey and Kathy Lee Gifford.

Outfit One Dress Donna Morgan, $138.00 Outfit Two Sweater Curio, $158.00 White Ankle Pant Lisette, $10.99 MARCH 2015 THEWCPRESS.COM


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In order to better understand iCore’s mission, I think it’s important to step back in time. I’m thinking of a time when running was second nature, when exercise was just a thing you happened to do. I’m thinking about scaling jungle gyms, riding bikes for hours, playing pick-up basketball for an entire afternoon and swimming all day. These activities weren’t considered training, nor did they require any preparation. I never turned down my friends for a bike ride in the morning, claiming I needed rest for basketball in the afternoon. There are those who thrive on their time spent in gym, just as there are those who can throw on a pair of sneakers and enjoy training for a marathon. But everybody else has long known that staying in shape is difficult because—somewhere along the way—it stopped being fun. It used to be that staying fit was simply a byproduct of large amounts play. Now, 'fitness' is something we strive for through forced routines and boring diets. But does working out really have to feel like… well, work?






ark Falcone doesn’t believe fitness and fun have to be separate. The former sponsored skateboarder currently competes in elite obstacle races and challenges, and that—coupled with his passion for extreme sports, the right fitness knowledge, and an entrepreneurial spirit—set him on the path to creating iCORE FItness. iCORE is a massive, 10,000 sq. ft facility with the look of a repurposed warehouse. Industrial lighting illuminates steel equipment and the sounds of tire flips, clanging metal rings, and human exertion echo throughout the gym.

There is a jumping pillow that owner Mark Falcone describes as a “25 by 25 foot BOSU ball,” the malleable platforms with rounded bases meant to enhance core strength. Nicknamed “the blob,” this feature is perfect for people practicing flips and tumbles. Those practicing more advanced aerial routines will find excitement in the trampolines and foam pit. There are climbing ropes, a rock wall, Olympic rings and even a zip line, not to mention Olympic-style free weights, jump boxes, medicine balls, dumbbells and all the workout machines you’re

Despite the fact the space screams “we mean business,” it all retains the feel of a massive indoor playground for adults. After all, the list of grownup toys housed in the building is impressive.

Witnessing the scale of the course is a bit intimidating... used to seeing in your run-of-the-mill fitness club. As gym member Stephen Fresta puts it, “Where else can you play like this and get such a grueling workout?”


aken independently, all the pieces are exciting and impressive, but it’s only when you begin to link them that you realize the whole is so much more than the sum of its parts. That's because iCORE Fitness houses a full-scale obstacle course that is no less impressive than what you mave have seen on the show American Ninja Warrior, a state-side spin-off of the hit Japanese competition series Sasuke, where participants attempt the world’s most challenging obstacle courses. Contestants train year-round





with the aim of completing the most obstacles, in the shortest amount of time, with hopes of advancing to the next round. Few ever actually complete the final stage, but those who do are immortalized. Jeff Skowronski, who was warming up for the course when we spoke, made it clear the obstacles were his reason for joining. “I have so many obstacle races coming up; I need to train here,” he said. “You can’t find these types of equipment anywhere else.”


itnessing the scale of the course is a bit intimidating, but tackling its various sections really made me respect those who can complete it. The athleticism and strength required by some of the obstacles was beyond my capabilities and—as an

Life’s full of obstacles, and overcoming those obstacles is how you live a full life. active athlete who’s undergone strength, endurance and even military training—that’s saying a lot. For instance, take the salmon ladder: the objective is to complete a pull-up with enough momentum to lift your body and the bar into the air high enough that you can lock the bar into a joint several inches higher than where you started. Then you do this six more times. The course was difficult, but it’s the difficulty that makes it worth trying in the first place. As Falcone said, “Life’s full of obstacles, and overcoming those obstacles is how you live a full life.” He believes people can overcome the physical challenges that





they’ll face at his gym, and use that as motivation to conquer their obstacles in the real world. As someone who, at age 26, refused to take on a menial job and dedicated the next two years of his life to building the facility and career of his dreams, Mark knows a thing or two about that.


or Mark, the appeal was obvious. He’d been confronted at his old gym for improperly utilizing their equipment—apparently seeing someone do push-up handstands on a weight bench made a few members nervous. But that doesn’t mean iCORE Fitness should only attract those with the capacity for muscle-ups. Of course the high-intensity functional training should spark the interest of those who are into CrossFit. Even if you’re not hoping to end up completing obstacle courses on TV, the space is great training for Tough Mudders or Spartan Races. But it’s also good for student athletes or anyone seeking a new, fun way to get fit. Speaking with former wrestler Connor Finnegan, I was struck by what he said about his experience at the gym. “I haven’t used these muscle groups since my wrestling training.” And it’s hard to argue with the results. “In a week and a half I’ve lost six pounds and increased my deadlift max by 60 pounds,” he said. While iCORE is still new and budding, the future holds teambuilding exercises for companies and organized activities for kids, those who Mark refers to as his team of “mini-ninjas.” And although it’s young, iCORE is already the largest gym of its kind in the entire Northeast, so it wouldn’t be surprising if—in a few years time—they were turning out the kind of elite athletes you might see on the next season of American Ninja Warrior.


hallenge is intrinsic to creating a sense of accomplishment and living a fulfilling life. And in the atmosphere of iCORE, the challenge makes for a more rewarding experience for both the participant and anyone who’s there to bear witness. During my visit we watched while people worked pull-ups, dips and handstands into a seamless routine on the gymnastic rings. Others showed off their climbing techniques and grip strength on the hanging doors—they clung in the air to each suspended door, carefully transitioning their bodies limb-by-limb onto the next. It created an exciting and supportive atmosphere where everyone was cheering each other to success, whether cleanly jumping atop a four-foot box or sprinting up a 14-foot warped wall. Yet, iCORE isn’t just about individual achievement. During my visits I participated in one of their high-intensity interval classes, called COREFit. In groups of three, we rotated through six different stations, each consisting of a different exercise to be sustained for one minute. The first round was exhausting, so we really had to push each other in round two. Instructor Kyle Curran encouraged us to stay in the workout while making sure we were being safe. His belief in the power of positivity shone through. “You know, we all deal with a lot of negativity in the world on a day-to-day basis. I just want to encourage people to stay positive and keep pushing themselves,” he said. By the sixth station of the second round my group was pretty well spent; we’d long since moved past the burn and into something much more intense. Still, sitting in a crunch position passing medicine balls back and forth, we were all smiling, and as we finished the routine, high-fives were dished out all around. I was in agony, but I felt great. I was having fun.





Bartender of the


PHOTO Andrew Hutchins


Pete Schmitt is quite convinced The Social Lounge is the best spot in the borough How long have you been bartending? On

and off for about 22 years. What else were you doing? I did some

real estate, went to school, but I always kinda worked restaurants. What brought you back? Necessity. I was out of cash. I was thinking you’d say something about how you loved the job. You love it

when you’re in it, but when you’re out of it you don’t miss it. Why’s that? It’s a lifestyle change, unusual hours, weird days off. But when you’re in it, you get used to it. I could never do a nine-to-five job now.

What brought you to Social? I was in town, going to Social socially. I started by picking up some shifts as a relief bartender taking shifts when I could. Now I’m there full-time and have been for the last twoand-a-half years. What separates you from other bartenders? I had a willingness to show I was

ready to do whatever they wanted to do to get the job done without complaining, whether doing a day shift or a serving shift or whatever. You still do that? I don’t have to take the serving shifts, but everybody has to take a day shift or two. What brought you to Social, socially?

Well I’m obviously older than the 21-yearolds you’ll find in town, and I wasn’t into hanging around the 21-year-olds anymore. Social gets a 25-35 demo with good food and good music. What night do you guys have live music?

We have it Wednesday through Saturday, plus Tuesday is open mic. Any good acts at open mic? A band named Kintala came through when I was working, and now they get regular gigs. What’syour favorite night? Probably Saturday. We get a good dinner crowd, and

it’s become a really good late night. What’s the music like on Saturdays? The bands vary—everything from modern covers to funk, jazz and blues. Do you get to enjoy it while working? You hear it but can’t really pay attention, so you miss it a bit, but you know when it's good. You can tell by how the crowd reacts to it. You think the live music sets you apart?

Yeah, I think it does. You can go anywhere and hear a DJ, but hearing live music is great. I also think our food sets us apart. I think it’s far and away the best in town. Wouldn’t you say you might be biased?

I’m just being honest. I’m out a lot in town, and I think we do it better. Honestly. What is it about the food? I mean, the combo of flavors of specials or even regular menu items are things I never see anywhere else. Yesterday there was a fried chicken entree with shrimp and lobster cream sauce over cheddar grits. Wow. That sounds unreal. Do the specials rotate in and out a lot? We change the

specials five or six times a week. There’s always a soup, a couple sandwiches and five or six dinner entrees. There’s always something new where it’s like, “I have to have that. I’ve never seen that before.”






Diane LeBold and the West Chester Food Co-Op examine local food production and bring eaters closer to the source of their food


With so much talk lately about development of the West Chester Food Co-op, you may be wondering what, exactly, is a co-op? So, to help answer your queries, here’s a short overview... Cooperatives are one of the fastest growing forms of enterprise in the world. They're all around you, but chances are you haven’t noticed them. There are worker co-ops, consumer co-ops, producer co-ops, financial coops, housing co-ops, and more. Suzanne Adams, chair of the West Chester Food Co-op, says the basic idea behind cooperatives is that they exist for the benefit of their member-owners. This contrasts with for-profit corporations, whose goal is to maximize returns to investors. This distinction produces differing behaviors, Suzanne noted. “The member-owners of a cooperative may decide, for example, that their interests are best served if they dedicate more of their revenue to things like fair wages and benefits for their employees, to purchasing locally and to sourcing products responsibly,” she said. “Investor-owned corporations may adopt some of these practices, but only if they’re justified by return on investment.” Suzanne explained that an enterprise has to adhere to certain principles in order to be considered a cooperative business: 1. Each member-owner is entitled to one vote, regardless of their investment. Co-ops have a minimum equity investment, but investing beyond the minimum doesn’t mean you gain additional control. 2. Financial returns to member-owners are based on their patronage of the business, not on their investment. The more you participate in the business—in this case, the more you shop at the food co-op—the more you get back each year. 3. The governance of a cooperative works like this: Member-owners elect a board of directors from among the membership and the board hires a general manager. The GM oversees the day-to-day workings of the business. Suzanne says people often ask her what the food co-op will be like, and she tries to paraphrase one of her heroines, Frances Moore Lappé, by saying, “Cooperatives aren’t what you have, they are what you do." In Suzanne's words, “Because co-ops conduct business democratically in the best interest of their members—within the law, of course—they tend to make people’s lives, communities, and economies more just, equitable, and democratic,” she said. “Historically, they’ve strengthened local economies by keeping dollars circulating locally—hiring local people, buying local products and services, and returning excess income—profits—to local people.” –

The West Chester Food Co-op invites the community to attend its Community Meeting and celebration on March 15 at Sprout Music Collective (130 E. Prescott Alley) from 3-5pm. It’s free, includes food and live music, and is family friendly.





Children’s and Maternity Consignment S p e ci a l t y Toys

3 - 5 N. Five Poi nt s Ro a d, We s t C h e s t e r, PA 1938 0 610 - 43 0 -76 01 w w w. b u t t e r fl ie s a n d b l os s o m s. c o m



It’s Not Where You’re Going,


Ali Chapman approaches the climbing wall

and makes her first move. She’s small, blonde, and unassuming, but clearly very strong. She’s got one foot on the ground and one foot on a rock as she is preparing to get her whole body to balance on two five-inch pieces of artificial rock. As she ascends, she maneuvers her body strategically to make it up the wall, hitting only certain pegs. Gracefully, she does so and then jumps down and back to reality. Ali is climbing as one of the 73 competitors in West Chester University’s “The Golden Rampage.” January 31st marked the first time that West Chester University opened its climbing wall to other universities in its inaugural intercollegiate bouldering competition. In The Golden Rampage, college students from the Philadelphia region competed in an alternate form of rock climbing. Ali Chapman was one of those students, who finished with a win in the beginner category… and she’s only been climbing for a few months! With no harnesses, anchors, or safety lines,





bouldering is a far more daring sport than rock climbing. Those brave enough to take it on have only two options when it comes to descending after a climb: jump or fall. Those successfully landing imitate the reflexes of a cat landing on its feet after a long jump; those unsuccessful ungracefully plummet. Whether they land well or not, endurance and adrenaline always prompt them to scale the vertical face one more time. In this sport, competitors only climb about ten feet up the rock wall. Success in the sport is based on which competitor can accumulate the most points, and points are determined by the difficulty of the path. The wall has many rocks to choose from,but climbers strategize to select the most challenging course.

“Your feet have to anchor you, balance you, push you, and most importantly walk you to the wall...

THE EVENT The Golden Rampage is for students of all skill levels; the 73 competitors were divided into three categories: beginner, intermediate and advanced. After racking up points in a lower category, some competitors earned beyond the maximum in their category, leading them to be bumped up a level. The organizers were beyond pleased with the number of people that showed up. “We were asked by the PCCS [Pennsylvania Collegiate

Climbing Series] to host this,” stated one of the climbing wall monitors and organizers of the event, Taylor Hess. West Chester University welcomed students from all over the Philadelphia region, with a number of students from Drexel, Widener and Temple Universities. “It’s neat that our school is good enough to be able to host other colleges,” says Taylor. We all know Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was the boulder path. The wall was closed four days before the event so that fifteen staff members at the Student Recreation Center could reset all of the boulder paths specifically for the competition. The climbing wall is located inside the Student Recreation Center, which was built just three years ago. With just a first glance at the wall, it immediately becomes clear that it is a great place to hold the event. “Our rock wall has the natural rock feel, with the divets and the cracks. It’s





about as realistic as you can get to outdoor climbing,” reveals climbing wall coordinator and event organizer Kera Passante. As the competition unfolds, the advanced competitors maneuver their bodies in spider-like directions upon ascending the wall. Their showmanship is met with exuberant cheering from the crowd. Passersby in the gym stand in awe as they watch each competitor make the next move. Meanwhile, the other competitors all cheer for each other; there is no sense of rivalry here.

THE PREPARATION The intermediate portion is about to begin, and someone brings out a slackline for warming up. Slacklining is a balance practice where a rope is placed in between two objects and a person walks across it. Even Kera Passante, who can’t climb due to a broken arm,joins in on the fun, gracefully walking the line like a tightrope. Practice makes perfect, as demonstrated by these competitors. “I practice every day on the wall, with gymnastics rings or a bar workout,” adds Nathaniel Aponte, one of the advanced male competitors, as he patiently waits for his turn to climb the wall. Catching up with Ali, she elaborates on the mental and physical toll rock climbing takes on your body. She fell in love with the sport upon arriving at WCU, where the rock wall appealed to her over gym equipment. “The physical aspects are different than you might expect. From head to toe, your brain has to be three steps ahead of your body so that you ensure you get where you want to go,” she explains. Upper body strength is key to success. “Your shoulders have to be ready for lifting your body weight on occasion,” she continues. “Your arms have to be able to go every way possible to reach your next move. Your handsyou have to be able to grip, pinch, pull, steady, and stretch them because rocks are never easy to maneuver.” Climbing Wall Monitor Taylor Hess confirms this, “There are some situations where you have to balance your whole body on two fingers,” says Taylor. The midsection of the body is also critical. Ali adds, “Your core has to keep

"The physical aspects are different than you might expect. From head to toe, your brain has to be three steps ahead of your body so that you ensure you get where you want to go

you balanced and steady on the wall. Your hips are very important to your center of gravity. If you don’t keep them close to the wall, you will fall right off.” Legs are the most important part of the process.“Your legs are the main driving force that propels you upward. It’s like doing squats for hours,” says Ali. “Your feet have to anchor you, balance you, push you, and most importantly walk you to the wall from your cozy room in the first place.” Ali’s determination is what ultimately led her to her successes. “The thing that I like most about bouldering is that it continues to push you. It can always get harder so you never feel like you are finished. It keeps you coming back to the wall day after day.” The Golden Rampage was a first for WCU, but it certainly won't be the last. Athletes from throughout the region rallied together for this initial run, their strong turnout and fierce determination a sure sign that bouldering—like any good climber—is only on the rise.







Blaze Salon take one lucky client from drab to fab Dana Ritz, who provided the color, wished to give Stephanie a more current look. She used a rose gold formulation for her overall tone, then employed a balayage technique to lighten the areas around her face. Next, Stacey Povorotney proceeded with a precision cut, creating layers and a generously parted swing bang to accentuate the shape of Stephanie’s face. Makeup artist Dana Clift gave Stephanie subtle contouring and a flawless finish with an airbrushed foundation. A warm palette of gold, brown and auburn worked to highlight the copper tones in her hair. Along with a touch of liner and mascara a few lashes were added to accentuate Stephanie’s brown eyes providing a warm, natural look.

story Kirsten Gurwitz photo Andrew Hutchins





BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND: It's everyone’s favorite bar game, in print (and you won’t have to pay 50 cents). You can actually WIN money. Compare the two photos at right. They may look the same, but there are five subtle differences between the two. Find those five differences and identify the items that have been changed. Then send an email to listing those items. You’ll be entered to win a $25 gift card to a local business. Winners will be chosen at random, and their name will be posted to Facebook along with the solution at the end of the month. So make sure to like us and follow along if you want to play. Enjoy!

Can you spot the five differences in this photo taken with personal trainer Sarah Price at Mitch's Gym? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.



Get Fit


DJ Romeo curates a list of highenergy tracks to update your workout playlist..

Keep your cardio routine feeling fresh and fun with this pop-filled tracklist. This following list features some of the hottest new tracks on the radio—these songs are all fast-paced chart toppers that will motivate you to sweat and feel the burn. www.DJRomeo.FM

David Guetta ft. Nico & Vinz – “Lift Me Up” Clean Bandit & Jess Glynne – “Real Love” (Danny Verde Remix) Steve Aoki, Afrojack & Donnie McKee – “Afroki” Sheppard – “Geronimo” (Benny Benassi Remix) Kiesza – “No Enemiesz” Fall Out Boy – “Centuries” (Gazzo Remix) Axwell & Ingrosso – “Something New” (Robin Shulz Remix) Dillion Francis & DJ Snake – “Get Low” Hardwell ft. Harrison – “Sally” Hozier – “Take Me to Church” (DJ Mike D Remix) AronChupa – “I’m an Albatraoz” Fifth Harmony ft. Kid Ink – “Worth It” (Starjack Remix) Lilly Wood & Robin Shulz – “Prayer in C” Calvin Harris & Tinashe – “Dollar Signs” Deadmau5 – “Some Chords” (Dillon Francis Remix) Penguin Prison – “Calling Out” (Elephante Remix) & Cody Wise – “It’s My Birthday” Naughty Boy & Sam Smith – “La La La” Disclosure – “When a Fire Starts to Burn” Kid Ink ft. Chris Brown – “Hotel” Maroon 5 – “Animals” (Gryffin Remix) Route 94 & Jess Glynne – “My Love” Flo Rida – “GDFR” (Noodles Remix) Rihanna, Kanye West & Paul McCartney – Fourfiveseconds (DJ Mustard Remix) Ellie Goulding – “Love Me Like You Do” (Laibert Remix) Kalin & Myles – “Trampoline” David Guetta & Showtek ft. Vassy – “Bad” Lady Bee ft. Rochelle – “Return of the Mack” (Oliver Heldens Remix) Nick Jonas – “Chains” (Just a Gent Remix) Pitbull ft. Chris Brown – “Fun”