Personal trainers push students to succeed

by Haiden Widener, Campus Carrier Sports Editor

Lesli Marchese | CAMPUS CARRIER
Personal trainer Jenn Leahy, right, working with her client Deja Williams-Mitchell. Through the personal training program they meet twice a week for seven weeks. Leahy teaches her clients exercises that will help them reach their goals. Leahy is also a certified nutritionist, helping clients eat healthy while on her workout plan.

Students in the kinesiology department are helping others engage in healthier lifestyles through the student-led personal training program. 

This program allows personal trainers to gain experience in a field of interest, and allows other students to gain health and fitness knowledge. 

Members of the Berry community can sign up for a personal trainer online, and are then assigned to a trainer based on availability. 

During one of their first meetings with the client, the trainer puts them through a variety of tests such as a maximum push-up test, flexibility test, aerobic fitness test and others. They then take the client’s body composition, height, weight, blood pressure and resting heart rate. They plug all of this information into a health assessment machine that ranks them on a fitness scale of one to 100 based on those similar to them in age and physical aspects.

Senior Blake Phillips started working for the program during his sophomore year. 

“I enjoy seeing people get hooked on the whole fitness thing,” he said. 

In order to become qualified to work for the program, students who want to pursue personal training go through an interview process and are then required to pass the certified personal trainer exam through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). 

“The NSCA has one of the hardest test rates,” he said. “Their pass rate for personal trainers is below 60 percent, so you have to know your stuff.”

After passing the test, the trainers are assigned three to five clients at a time. They meet with these clients for an hour twice a week for seven weeks. 

Because of the short amount of time they are given with their clients, they try to not only help them reach their goals, but teach them techniques that they can use even after the seven weeks is over. 

“I treat it more as teaching ratherthan trying to get results,” Phillips said. “I’ll tell them up front don’t expect to lose 20 pounds because I only see you twice a week.”

Sophomore Deja Williams-Mitchell started working out through the program this semester with personal trainer junior Jenn Leahy. 

“She doesn’t just give me workouts, she tells me why I’m doing something and the purpose of it,” Williams-Mitchell said. “She isn’t just doing it for six weeks, she’s trying to build me up for a better lifestyle.”

Leahy is an exercise science major and started working in the program as a sophomore.

“I love working out myself,” Leahy said. “I love helping people live a healthier lifestyle through my love of lifting.”

When trying to create specific workout plans for each client, the trainers look at the client’s goals, and also the client’s needs that they may be unaware of. 

“It’s a fine line between what the client wants and what the client needs,” Phillips said. “You have to weigh it out and usually you can reach a compromise.”

Phillips has found that most of the time girls come in with goals such as losing weight and toning up, and like to focus on leg exercises and cardio. Boys usually come in with goals such as gaining muscle weight and like to focus on arm and chest exercises. 

Teaching clients how to enhance those areas is not the only thing that Phillips and Leahy do, they are also both certified nutritionists. 

The nutrition program is a separate program, with separate certifications, but it ties in closely with personal training. Trainers who are also certified nutritionists are assigned clients who want to participate in both programs. Through this they are able to teach their clients what foods are better to eat while on a workout plan. Eating healthier also helps the clients see better results in the weight room.  

This program is not only helping clients lead healthier lifestyles, but is also preparing the personal trainers for futures in the field. 

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