Welcome to our Fit Lives Here: Meet Your Neighbors series in which we profile Skye Canyon residents with a penchant for fitness. To kick it off, we connected with fitness pros Jessica Bento and Josh Henkin, creators of DVRT Ultimate Sandbag™ Training, who recently relocated to Skye Canyon from Phoenix.
SC: What got each of you into the fitness industry?
Jessica: After getting physical therapy for my injuries as a high-level athlete, I decided to pursue it as a career. I always wanted to do something in the medical field, and therapy was a way to interact with patients to impact their lives. My background has now crossed over to fitness; I can help design new programs with an emphasis on corrective exercises.
Josh: When I was 14 I suffered a terrible ankle and low back injury playing basketball. There were questions if I would be able to walk right again. Physical therapy and my older brother taking me to the gym gave me exposure to the world where I could make myself better. I ended up being a walk-on in college basketball but that made my back injury worse. My right leg gave out during sprints, which ended my athletic career. This experience gave me the inspiration to help others.
SC: Tell us about how you created The Ultimate Sandbag Training System and what it’s all about.
Josh: For years I tried all sorts of therapy and corrective exercise programs. Some helped slightly, but nothing had a profound improvement in my condition. Upon encouragement from a colleague, I went way outside the box to find a solution to my pain. I looked at early forms of training – that of individuals who could move like high-level gymnasts, but lift like modern strongmen. A common theme for these great athletes was the use of odd objects – a quality we’d lost over the past century with machines and bodybuilding taking over fitness. While they had less science then, they understood how “live” implements improved core strength, joint stabilizers, and overall body integrity. Sandbags were mentioned as one of the most challenging objects, which raised my interest.
Initially I found some incredible benefits from just lifting duffel bags of sand; however, without a system or methodology, my results stagnated. I believed such a tool could work, but it needed to be re-worked to meet the demands of fitness- and movement-based training.
I developed Dynamic Variable Resistance Training (DVRT™) in 2005 as a natural way to train. Over the past 12 years, we have systemized this functional fitness program to improve everything from corrective exercise to high-performance training. We have taught our program in more than 12 countries, at top industry conferences and been featured in mainstream publications like Men’s Health and the Wall Street Journal.
I was also asked to help the U.S. Army Special Forces Recruiting Battalion develop a fitness program to help soldiers succeed through the selection process and build resiliency in their bodies. It was a real honor to have worked with them, and I’m glad to have had an ongoing relationship with the U.S. military, as well as many police and fire departments.
SC: What are you focusing on in your professional lives these days?
Josh: We continue to share our educational program worldwide and work with top professionals in the industry. This year we will introduce our program to China and Australia to help people in those countries learn the value of smart fitness programs. Our business continues to invent innovative training tools that complement our Ultimate Sandbag and give people a greater capacity to reach their fitness goals without expensive gyms, hours of training or vast spaces.
SC: Do you have any tips for someone who wants to get started with a resistance-training program, particularly if they’ve sustained an injury?
Josh: Anyone is well served to find a good fitness professional to get started with for their training. If someone has a pre-existing injury, the biggest way to derail a well-meaning fitness program is injury and pain. The right individualized fitness program can not only produce great results but minimize injuries and in many cases make chronic issues significantly better. You should get references and conduct interviews to ensure the fitness professional matches up with your goals.
Jessica: First and foremost, always get cleared from your doctor if you haven’t started a workout routine in some time. If you have injuries, make sure you work with someone that understands the injury and any limitations. A good trainer will know when to refer you to a medical professional to help with any rehab that may be needed.
SC: What brings you to Las Vegas?
Jessica: Some friends told us how much they loved living in Las Vegas, and we were looking for a bit of a change. When we found Skye Canyon, we were sold! It was beautiful.
SC: Why did you choose to live in Skye Canyon?
Josh: Skye Canyon seemed to offer an opportunity to jump in early into a great, growing community. The outdoor offerings and amenities sold us.
Jessica: It was unlike anything we looked at. The homes are beautiful, and the surroundings are just fantastic – it’s one of those places you need to see to believe. The proximity to Mt. Charleston is ideal since we love to hike. We’ve been here about two months, and we love our new home!
SC: Which home community did you choose?
Josh: We chose Teton Cliffs by Woodside community. The layout of the Payson Plan was perfect for what we were looking for.
SC: Are you adding any fitness features to your new home?
Josh: We used the “next generation” option as an opportunity to build our home gym.
Jessica: This option allowed us to add a large separate “living space” to the front of our home – it’s a bedroom and full bath that we outfitted entirely as our home gym and office area. It may surpass some of the personal training studios you see around town.
We also love working out at Skye Fitness, which is unlike any fitness offering we’ve seen in a master planned community. We were both very impressed with Skye Fitness and Skye Center.
SC: Tell us about a day in the life of Josh and Jessica.
Josh: We are fortunate to work from home, so we get up every morning and take our rescue dogs for a walk around the Skye Canyon community. They love the area, and there are so many different routes to take. Even though we work from home, things still get hectic, especially with our travel schedules and the many different roles we play within our company, which is small by design. Just like anyone else, we have to plan our workouts as time allows.
SC: Do you have any favorite trails or activities yet?
Jessica: I fell in love with Mt. Charleston! I love the Cathedral hike; the views at the top are fantastic.
Josh: We have enjoyed going to Mt. Charleston for hikes. Our youngest dog Dwight has a blast.