Los Alamos National Laboratory

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Passionate: Jonathan Loibl

A monthly profile series featuring a Lab employee who exemplifies one of 9 traits identified in the Laboratory’s Purpose Statement
Jonathan Loibl

Jonathan Loibl

Jonathan Loibl emphasizes eight points of health to inspire total wellness

Jonathan Loibl’s (Occupational Safety and Health, OSH-OH) office at the Wellness Center is different than most at the Lab. He has the chair, the desk and the computer like most of us do, but there are some key distinctions. The suite of foam flexibility rollers that line one wall, for one thing. The photos of smiling Wellness Center members that paper another.

Oh, and the bag filled with fake fat that sits next to his desk.

“I show these to my clients during our first consultation,” Jonathan says, pulling out a large yellowish blob of rubbery plastic and another object that’s shaped more like a football, compact and dark red. “This is five pounds of fat, and this is five pounds of lean muscle. They weigh the same. But look at them. Now hold them — can you feel the difference?”

The difference is striking, fascinating — and, well, a little gross. But for Jonathan, these aids demonstrate just a small part of the fitness story. True health, he says, goes beyond the fat-versus-muscle battle.

Far beyond. Just ask his clients.

Jonathan Loibl

Jonathan's wall is papered with success stories — large and small — from Wellness Center users. He meets with clients in his office to talk about their personalized health strategies; these faux fat and muscle aids come in handy.

Fully charged

Jonathan came to the Lab about five years ago by way of San Antonio, Texas, and, before that, Colorado, where he studied exercise physiology and played football at Adams State University. Northern New Mexico isn’t new territory to him, though; he grew up in Pojoaque.

“My mom says I was born hell on wheels,” he says with a smile. “I’ve always had so much energy. I still do! It’s one of the things that drives me to give my all with my clients.”

Jonathan calls them “clients,” but really, they’re more than that. They’re high-risk employees who have enrolled in Jonathan’s Health Focus Accountability & Coaching Training Service (FACTS), a program that is — like all of the others at the Wellness Center — free. An innovator by nature, Jonathan launched it nearly two years ago specifically to foster hands-on fitness instruction when he noticed that clients would come in for their initial consultations and, without supervision, never come back.

Because these employees train together as a group throughout the week for three- to six-month stretches, they’ve gone beyond being just “clients.” They’re a cohort, a support system, a fitness squad.

And, as they feel and see their bodies change with Jonathan’s mix of cardiovascular, resistance and flexibility exercises, they’re also friends. Empowered ones, at that.

“Health FACTS adds back in the important of being accountable to yourself — not me,” Jonathan says. “I give them the tools to build the house. They’re the ones who actually build it.”

Jonathan Loibl

Jonathan teaches group classes, trains clients one-on-one, offers consultations and more, making an impact at the Wellness Center that extends Lab-wide.

Unmistakable results

Under the program, about 30 clients so far have lost pounds and inches — and they have also lost pain. That’s because underscoring ergonomics and flexibility is a key underpinning of Jonathan’s belief system (so much so that he started his own fitness studio, ErgoFi Fitness, six months ago, which focuses on the concept).

“Jonathan is so knowledgeable that I think he could inspire anyone to be successful,” says Kathleen Ortega (Property and Accounts Receivable, FA-PROP-AR), who underwent an almost complete body transformation in a nine-month period. “I told him about some issues I had with shin splints and lower back pain that were irritated while I was doing cardio. He had some flexibility exercises he provided me, and today I can do all of the workouts that I did in his program unmodified. I have no pain and that was one of my major roadblocks to success.”

Each client comes in with different challenges and comfort zones. Jonathan works within those to make incremental adjustments that add up to big change.

Jonathan Loibl

"Jonathan is always willing to help everyone be successful," says Kathleen, who's worked with Jonathan for months. "Without his help and guidance I don’t think I could have made it halfway to my goal."

“Jonathan is a true professional that exudes passion for what he does and our team’s purpose, to make a difference in someone’s life every day,” says Team Leader Jamie Aslin (OSH-OH). “He goes above and beyond to meet a customer where they are on their journey to wellness and makes himself available to help them during each step along the way.”

That personalization pays off.

“You can’t ask someone who never exercises to suddenly have seven workouts a week. That’s not sustainable,” Jonathan says. “A lot of people come in afraid, embarrassed, shy. They don’t know what to expect. But they learn I don’t judge. We measure and track their results — how many more reps they can do by week eight, how much better their clothes fit, how much their pain has decreased. Those results turn into a big boost of confidence.”

Eight points of health

During sessions with his clients, Jonathan may be training with barbells or foam rollers or exercise bikes, but he’s talking about more than just physical health.

“Total wellness means you have health in eight parts of your life,” he says. He points to a chart that lists them all: environmental, emotional, financial, physical, social, occupational, spiritual, intellectual. “If you have 100 percent in one and zero in all of the others, you are not healthy. You are not balanced. Balance is so important.”

It’s a concept he preaches even outside the Wellness Center. As a coordinator for the Virgin Pulse Champions program, he oversees about 15 Champions around the Lab and ensures that employees know how to use their Virgin Pulse Rewards. He opens up a chance at balance in the “social health” category with his system for remembering people’s names — he never forgets one — so he can have a moment or two of personal connection when he sees them out and about around the Lab.

Jonathan’s job never stops — and that’s exactly the way this always-energetic dynamo likes it.

“I work in a great culture. I love what I do,” he says. “Loving what I do makes work so much easier.”