Personal training at Ohio State: students’ turn to teach

The Lantern
Students can become certified personal trainers through Ohio State’s recreational sports program. Credit: Lantern File photo

Ohio State students are becoming the teachers, at least within the gym.

Personal training services through Ohio State’s recreational sports program provide an opportunity for students to train other students or faculty through personalized fitness plans. Students who sign up are connected with a student personal trainer they can rely on for training as well as health and fitness information.

Alyssa Wrasman, a fourth-year in marketing and lead student personal trainer, said she loves sharing what she’s passionate about with other people who want to learn and focus on their health.

“I think it’s cool building relationships with other students, and then you can grow those relationships when you see them out in the gym,” Wrasman said. “One thing that I would take away from working with students is just you’re a friendly face that they can go to when you’re out on the floor.”

Ohio State offers the BuckeyePT Prep Course , an in-house certification program allowing students to become certified personal trainers. Mitch Miceli, personal training coordinator, said the training teaches students with low to no experience the hands-on skills needed to be a trainer.

“[We teach] all the familiar fundamental lifts and how to do assessments, but we also have a lecture component to BuckeyePT Prep, which prepares students to take a certification exam,” Miceli said.

The BuckeyePT Prep Course not only teaches students crucial lifting and training abilities necessary to become a personal trainer but also how to navigate communication and professionalism within a client relationship.

“[We are] connecting [the information] we are reading and learning about, and how we can actually apply that to our clients face-to-face,” Wrasman said.

Wrasman said the program helps student personal trainers create good rapport, build trust in clients and react to different situations. Growing in communication and learning to explain things in various ways to cater to how clients would best understand is another important aspect of the process.

After completing the certification exam, student personal trainers work with one to multiple clients based on their availability and course load. Miceli said the program has a range of 30 to 70 student personal trainers depending on the semester, and though many of the students study exercise science, physical therapy or health science, the program is open to anyone.

“Since we are a student position in Student Life, we have a lot of focus on flexibility, and your academics come first,” Miceli said.

Wrasman currently spends six to eight hours a week training her clients one-on-one.

“[The balance] definitively varies semester to semester, and I really appreciate that about this job — that we can base our schedule and how many clients we pick up based on how busy we are with different classes,” Wrasman said.

Personal training programs also facilitate student-to-faculty relationships, where student personal trainers may receive a professor as their clientele. Colin Wright — a personal training graduate assistant — has worked with staff members and professors and said it creates a unique dynamic for students to develop their own professional identity, putting the student in the driver’s seat as the expert.

“There’s a funny relationship when it’s a student who might be in their first or second year here working with experienced or older professors or physicians,” Wright said. “It’s a really cool opportunity for our students to build professional communication skills and to be able to build professional relationships with people they might not otherwise be connected with.”

“I think that gives them some real experience to take into the workplace when they’re interacting with different people,” Wright said.

Students or faculty interested in being paired with a personal trainer can visit the program’s webpage after Fall Break to be added to the waitlist, which is currently full.

In addition to one-on-one training sessions, several other programs for recreational sports members to improve their health and fitness with varying commitment levels and pricing are offered, including a one-time exercise program design or in-body assessment .

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