Hit the Gym: Personal Training at PSU

Photo posted by @pennstatefitwell on Instagram

Working out can be a scary and confusing thing for many people. It can also feel like a chore if you haven’t been able to get into a routine. When you don’t see immediate results, you might start to lose hope. These ideas surrounding going to the gym and working out are likely not unfamiliar to many students here at Penn State. If you want to build a better relationship with working out and going to the gym, personal training might be a good place to start. 

The Penn State Fitness and Wellness Department offers personal training services in the Intramural Building, the White Building, and Hepper Fitness Center in Rec Hall. The trainers are Penn State students themselves that are knowledgeable about fitness and wellness and are there to support and help you as you work towards your fitness goals. 

Who Is a Good Candidate?

The Program Coordinator for Campus Recreation and Fitness and Wellness, Mike Miltenberger, says that, “Anyone is a good candidate if they ever have the feeling of ‘OK I’m walking into the gym, but I don’t know what I’m doing.’”

Whether you have never stepped foot in a gym before or you have been working out for years and have reached a plateau with the results you see, personal training can be good for everyone. A personal trainer can be beneficial by providing you with knowledge of using the machines and learning how to incorporate weights or different exercises into your workout routines.

The goal of the personal trainer is to give clients tools that they can eventually use on their own. Nobody wants to look lost or feel uncomfortable when they walk into the gym, and a personal trainer can solve those issues. At the same time, there is also a stigma around working with a personal trainer. People don’t want it to be known that they are getting help from an outside source when it comes to working out. One of the goals of the personal training program at Penn State is to break down those barriers and the mentality that having a personal trainer is a bad thing.

Miltenbereger says that working with a personal trainer, “doesn’t mean they’ll be bench pressing a bulldozer or running a 3 minute mile, but they will have more knowledge about fitness,” and he believes they will come out of the experience with more confidence when they walk into a gym. 

How It Works

Miltenberger says that most people buy a single session, see how well they get along with that specific trainer, try out the initial session, then purchase more from there. Clients typically end up coming back for more sessions, which really speaks to the quality and personalities of the trainers themselves.

During the initial session, the trainer and the client get to know each other and discuss the client’s personal fitness goals and weaknesses. The trainers will give you honest feedback and really help you reach your goals to the best of their ability. Miltenberger emphasizes that, “Our main goal is to provide our clients with the ability to build self-efficacy.” By taking advantage of the personal training services at Penn State, students will feel more confident in their own fitness abilities and will feel better going to the gym in the future.

If you have a trainer in mind that you know, you can request them specifically, otherwise each client will be matched with a trainer. All of the personal trainers are nationally certified in general fitness knowledge, but some do have niches. The trainers will not give any nutritional advice. If a client does have nutritional concerns, they will be outsourced to nutritionists at University Health Services.

Each training session is one hour and is geared toward the client’s fitness goals. During each session, you don’t have to worry about anything as the client. You can be confident that your trainer is progressing you to meet your goals. 

Getting Started

For enrollment, you can start by either contacting the Personal Trainer Coordinator at psutrainer@psu.edu or 814-863-1858, or visiting the website. On the website, you will find enrollment steps, which include completing the personal training packet and purchasing your package of choice. The personal training program at Penn State offers single sessions, five sessions, 10 sessions, 10 buddy training sessions or 20 sessions. Pricing information is available on the website. Miltenberger will reach out to you to discuss your schedule and get you matched with a trainer for mutual availability within 24 hours. 

Becoming a Personal Trainer

If you are interested in becoming a personal trainer on campus yourself, KINES 93 is a four-credit fall semester course taught by Miltenbereger himself that prepares students to take the national personal training certification test. If you successfully pass the course, you will be guided by Miltenberger to then apply for the personal training position at Penn State.

During the course, students spend time in the gym to practice facilitating sessions with other students, as well as learn soft skills like talking to clients, effective spotting, providing motivation, and breathing cues. As a paid personal trainer on campus, students will expand their training skills, and have flexible hours to work around their schedules. 

Miltenberger hopes that through the personal training program, more of the Penn State will community come in and use the services that are offered in the gym facilities on campus. Beginning in the spring semester, the Fitness and Wellness Department will be launching a new service in which clients can sit down with a trainer, pick their brain about fitness knowledge, get any fitness advice that they are looking for and interact with personal trainers in a different way. 

To stay up-to-date with all things personal training, follow @pennstatefitwell on Instagram and Twitter. 


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