SWIF Staff

       Meet the SWIF Trainers

Albert EilerAlbert Eiler, CSCS, NSCA-PT
SWIF Founder and President
Al established Stick With It Fitness in 1997 as a state-of-the-art facility with only the necessary top-of-the-line equipment. But more importantly, SWIF was founded on Al’s back-to-basics philosophy of performance and wellness through: nutrition, conditioning, restoration and accountability. Al has clients who have, for years, traveled from all over Western PA and beyond, specifically to train with him.

His weight loss methodology has helped thousands of clients achieve their objectives. His book, A Mouthful of Truth, provides a hard-core look at why so many Americans are overweight.

According to Al, his intensity is often mistaken for grumpiness, but his clients know he mellows out when it’s his turn to pick what music is playing on the gym floor, especially if it’s Patsy Cline time.  Al holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from La Roche College.


Gabe Bio Pic smallGabe Bacco, CSCS, NSCA-PT
SWIF welcomed Gabe to our staff in late 2014. Since 2009, Gabe has spent a considerable amount of time in the strength and conditioning trenches. He has trained all classes of athletes: from professional athletes and multiple division levels of college athletes,  to high school competitors and even kids in midget football leagues.  He also coaches recreational athletes at all levels of fitness.

In his spare time Gabe enjoys reading about training and stress physiology as well as making guest appearances at various WPIAL Competitions to watch his athletes’ hard work pay off.  Gabe holds a Master of Science in Exercise and Sports Science from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.


Rob LessigRob Lessig
Joining the SWIF family in early 2014, Rob comes to us out of West Chester University with three years of personal training and performance coaching experience.  He was a member of the 2012 NCAA D2 National Champion baseball team, and was a baseball instructor and coach…this guy digs baseball.  While it’s common knowledge that both Rob and the Bossman played college baseball, Rob possesses the good sense never to mention the fact that the Bossman’s team did not win a national championship ring.

A newcomer to Pittsburgh, Rob is discovering our city by attending Pittsburgh sporting events, checking out the downtown hotspots, and participating in charity events. Rob has a Bachelor degree in Exercise Science with a minor in Coaching, and is currently working towards his CSCS certification.


Mike-Starr-bio-pic-webMike Starr,  ACSM EP-C
SWIF was happy to officially welcome Mike Starr (aka “Magic”) to the coaching staff in August of 2015 after his summer internship with us.

Mike is a 2015 graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science.  He is also an ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist (ACSM EP-C).

Mike is best known for his enthusiasm, high-energy and good mood…it’s rare to see Magic on the gym floor without a smile on his face.  “It’s tough to be in a bad mood around him,”  says one of SWIF’s long-time personal training clients.  Mike also serves as SWIF’s “Assistant MacGyver, in that he can repair “almost” anything.  When he’s not at the gym (being harassed by the other coaches for basically just being the newbie and the youngest…sense the jealousy here?), you can find Mike shooting, hunting, fishing, or hitting the trails on his dirt bike on the 220 acre farm where he lives.  (Wear a helmet, Mike!!) Oh and did we mention, he is actually 1/8 of an inch taller than the Bossman…and boy he let’s everyone know it!!!


Trainer Patrick McNamaraPatrick McNamara, MS, RN, CSCS
Patrick, who has worked for over 15 years as a specialist in human performance and conditioning, joined SWIF in 2003 and has many long-term and loyal clients. His patient and deliberate style of instruction enables him to work well with members of all ages. Patrick holds a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Pittsburgh. He is also a Registered Nurse, having graduated from the Western Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing.

Members will tell you that seeing Patrick’s amazing mastery of SWIF’s gymnastics rings (or lack thereof) is a must. Also, catch him outside the gym sipping on a cold malt beverage and you may witness one of his hilarious impersonations of members and staff.


William Vlakancic

William Vlakancic “JR”, MS, CSCS
JR became part of the SWIF Personal Training and Performance team in 2004 and brought with him his technical knowledge of health and fitness. JR has been described by both his fellow trainers as well as his clients as friendly, motivating and patient. As he coaches, he thoroughly explains the methods and purpose behind each strength and training movement.

When he’s not at SWIF, JR is in search of the nearest pick-up soccer or basketball game. And, be sure to check with JR if you’re looking for the coolest new restaurant in Pittsburgh. JR holds a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Pittsburgh.


Mary WerleyMary Werley, ACE
Mary gets the award for having the most endurance on our SWIF training team: she has endured the challenge being the only female in a cast of male characters. Mary has been part of the SWIF family since its founding days in 1997 and is the self-proclaimed “CEO of SWIF.”

Mary’s fun and friendly style makes her a favorite trainer for so many members. When Mary is your trainer, you will find the workout she builds for you to be well-planned, focusing on your short-term and long-term fitness goals. Outside of SWIF, Mary’s family and her pups are the most important part of her life (while Friday Happy Hour is a close second).


Meet the SWIF Staff

Dianne BellarsarioDianne “Bells” Bellisario. Bells has been part of the SWIF family from the beginning and in addition to greeting our members and grabbing the phones, she runs a bunch of the behind the scenes operations needed to keep us afloat. Also, our members can thank Bells and for tending to the greenery growing throughout the gym and for the flowers that bloom regularly at the front desk.


Dan HimesDan “Old Timer” Himes. Old Timer is our Mr. Jack-of-All-Trades-Fix-It. He keeps much of what you see in the gym, up and running. He is not a big fan of mud — track it into SWIF and he’ll track you down. But most importantly, members can count on Mr. Himes’ friendly “Hey There!” when they see him in the gym.


Shelley LucasShelley Lucas is SWIF’s office manager. She is responsible for the all-important SWIF financial operations that keep us in business. Her sweet face turns sour when our bills are not paid. She’s even been seen knocking on doors in search of overdue membership payments. 🙂



The SWIF GnomeThe SWIF Gnome. Sporting the SWIF colors of Orange and Blue, the Gnome guards over our front entrance, greeting members as they arrive. However, he is truly a traveling Gnome. Without warning or explanation, the Gnome will appear performing amazing feats around the gym floor, at SWIF parties and other functions, and has even been photographed in other cities and states!