Our People

James Bell, SafeStrength® Master Trainer

James BellAfter SuperSlow® strength training changed his wife’s body, it changed James Bell’s life.

James was a custom woodworker and musician. Changing careers was not on his mind. But when he saw the difference SuperSlow® strength training made for his wife, Taru (read her story here) he was inspired to learn the method himself by interning with a physical therapist; and then, to become an instructor.

“We didn’t realize how much of our lives we had let slip away until we saw how much more we were doing,” James says. “I felt so different. I knew this had to be my life’s work.”

In 2004 James and Taru opened Alive! Fitness Studio. “Alive! because the work gave us our lives back,” James says. Today, after working with thousands of clients, James has developed his own slow motion, high intensity, low impact strength training program. His SafeStrength® program is now used exclusively for Alive!’s clients.

He has also created and teaches a SafeStrength® Trainers Certification Training Program so others can learn this safe and effective method.


Taru Fisher, Certified NLP Coach, NLP Master, NLP Health Practitioner, and WealthyMind™ Trainer

Taru FisherAlive! Co-founder Taru Fisher inspired her husband, James, to open Alive! Today, she is responsible for holding things together behind the scenes.

Taru’s experience with SafeStrength® training, which took her from being incapacitated with Rheumatoid Arthritis to being able to leg press 340 pounds, was the inspiration for her and James to found Alive! Fitness Studio.

Taru’s training is in Neuro-linguistic Programming, a method which uses cutting-edge communications tools to produce rapid and lasting change in both one’s personal and professional life.

She is passionate about supporting her clients as they extend their reach and become the vibrantly alive person they deserve to be. Having overcome her own significant health issues and forged a new lifestyle for herself, she knows beyond a shadow of a doubt her clients have the same potential.

The experiences on Taru’s spiritual path have given her an understanding of what is possible beyond the limitations of the ordinary mind; she believes in the absolute potential in each and every human being.


Debra Hagan, Operations Manager & Certified SafeStrength® Trainer

Debra HaganAfter retiring from a high tech executive career in Customer Services Management, Debra was looking for an opportunity to blend her professional experience working with customers with her long-standing personal interest in health and wellness.

Years before, she received a life-altering medical diagnosis of Familial Cardiomyopathy, a genetic heart disease. This condition severely limited the type of physical activity that was possible and impacted the quality of daily life. A lengthy search for the right type of exercise to accommodate her condition and still allow her to be functionally fit led her to become a client of Alive!.

The results were noticeable early on, which fueled her personal motivations to exercise and return to a more balanced, healthy lifestyle. Becoming a certified SafeStrength® Trainer was the logical next step to take her interest in health and wellness to the next level. It has become the perfect opportunity to work with clients of all ages, to help them maximize functional use of what they have and to help them continue to move forward incrementally with their own health goals.

When not working at Alive! Fitness Studio, Debra can be found enjoying travel adventures with her family, pursuing her music interests and enjoying outdoor activities with her three dogs.

Lori Krause, Certified SafeStrength® Trainer (Substitute)

Lori KrauseTransitioning from a 20-year career working Patrol for the Redwood City Police Department to the calm and quiet of the Alive! Fitness Studio, it would be easy to think that Lori Krause had gone (pardon the expression) soft. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Since discovering SafeStrength® training, Lori is even in better shape now than she was during her Correctional Officer days, when her desire to be super-fit resulted in several injuries. When the pain got to be too much, Lori started seriously searching for an alternative that was safe; and knew she found it when she discovered SafeStrength® training.

Lori brings the same qualities of focus, patience and understanding to her work at Alive! that she developed as a Community Service Officer.

Lori is also is certified as a Personal Trainer through National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM). When not at Alive! Fitness Studio, she can be found riding her horse or playing softball.

Mary-Helen McMahon, Certified SafeStrength® Master Trainer

Mary-Helen McMahonMary-Helen McMahon was already a health coach and educator when she came to Alive! Her decision to add SafeStrength® training to her services came as a result of her experience as a client. After surgery to fix a break in her arm, physical therapy only took her so far. Alive’s SafeStrength® program helped her recover full use of her arm.

After seeing that it was also increasing her overall functional strength, and that sports and daily activities were easier, Mary-Helen made the decision to undergo the rigorous 3-month SafeStrength® Trainer’s Training program.

When not working with clients at the Alive! studio, Mary-Helen teaches a clean eating program to enhance physical and mental vitality, and helps women and their families manage the challenges of dealing with breast cancer.


Polly Meyer, Certified SafeStrength® Trainer

Polly MeyerAfter being a client for three years and experiencing the benefit of slow motion strength training, Polly was excited for the opportunity to become a certified trainer. She wanted to help other people have the same great experience she had with SafeStrength® Training.

Every client that walks through the studio doors impresses her with their commitment and dedication to their workout and maintaining their health and fitness. What motivates her the most in helping her clients achieve their goals is supporting them in reaching their potential for strength, functionality, and the ability to enjoy life to the fullest.

Polly’s caring for people extends beyond their physical health, so when she’s not at the Alive! Studio she works as a lay counselor. Her professional background is in Corporate Travel Management, and thus, she loves to travel! She can also be found in the theater, as either a patron or a volunteer, or at the beach with her husband.


Elaine Robesky, Certified SafeStrength® Trainer (Substitute)

Elaine RobeskyRetiring from a management career in the computer industry that spanned 38 years, Elaine was searching for her next adventure. With her extensive experience in management, she was seeking something where she could apply that experience and work with people in a different capacity.

Elaine had been a client of Alive! when it first opened, and she strongly believes in their slow-motion strength training methodology. When the opportunity to become a certified SafeStrength® Trainer arose, she immediately signed up for Alive’s rigorous trainer training program.

Her focus is still on people and mindfully helping them be successful. As a SafeStrength® Trainer, she is invigorated by helping young, middle-age, and older people become stronger and have more functionality for a quality life.

When not at the Alive! Fitness Studio you can find her on runs in her husband’s hot rod, gardening, painting or writing her next novel.


Olga Simakova, Certified SafeStrength® Trainer

Olga SimakovaOlga spent 18 years as a Quality Assurance Manager in the high-tech industry, while working at sports clubs on the side. She signed up for her first high intensity strength training session in 2003 in Toronto, Canada and has loved the method ever since. She believes this type of training is the best form of exercise to bring tremendous results that last a lifetime.

Olga started her career in fitness as a certified Personal Trainer through American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). She maintains this certification and has now become a Certified SafeStrength® Trainer focusing exclusively on strength training.

Olga is an inspiring, motivating, high energy coach helping people get in shape, get fit and maintain their health. This is what she loves to do. She helps every client reach the highest potential — safely and steadily. In her free time Olga loves to travel and spend time with her family.

Bodhi… Our Ambassador of Goodwill

BodhiBodhi (short for Bodhisattva) is our official Goodwill Ambassador. He heads up our “Wag More, Bark Less” Program and can be found in the Studio most days in the morning, practicing what he preaches.

Bodhi specializes in wiggling, wagging, and loving people. He is also an accomplished stretcher, and does downward dog like nobody else.

Like his hero, Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer, he believes in exercise, discipline and affection.

He also believes in having fun, playing, running, taking long walks, fetching balls, snuggling, socializing with other dogs and being a loyal friend and mood-lifter.

When he’s not helping Taru with her work, his favorite job is greeting clients and making them smile!

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