By Aaron J. Frantz
The kinesiology and sport science department is offering free individualized personal training to Youngstown State University faculty and staff members. Knowledgeable senior-level exercise science students are leading the training program as part of a requirement for obtaining their degree.
Sara Michaliszyn, exercise physiologist, professor and assistant dean of the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services is the creator of the program.
“We started individualizing training where students would get hands-on experience because it is really difficult finding clinical areas that students can go into,” Michaliszyn said. “We do not have enough sites for students to operate alongside.”
She intended the program to be one of the final stepping stones for exercise science majors to complete before graduation.
“The class our students are in is really one of the last classes prior to their internship, and it’s really more of a clinical class where they are learning how to do exercise testing and prescriptions in the clinical population,” she said.
Ashley Rivers, exercise science major and one of the student trainers, has utilized the program to help her prepare for future career opportunities. Since 2016, she wanted to be in the exercise science field and working alongside the program has helped guide her along her journey.
“We get educated by professionals who really know what they are doing, as well as we get real life experience by participating in the program,” she said. “By the end of this we will be more qualified/certified than a regular personal trainer.”
Adam Earnheardt, professor and department of communication special assistant to the provost, is one of the many staff members taking advantage of this opportunity. Earnheardt has been active in the program for five weeks and said he’s feeling and seeing results.
“It’s really great — I have been learning some different stretches and routines I never even knew about,” Earnheardt said.
He said he had a prior heart condition and is participating in this program to boost his healthy-heart efforts. He also said he’s finding ways he can implement what he learns from his training sessions into his daily routine and has lost several pounds by doing so.
Michaliszyn said the number of participants this year is greater than in previous years.
“We just started a second class of student trainers this semester, so my class has 36 students and 36 people they are assigned to, some of whom meet three days a week,” she said. “We also have a junior level class, which we just started to incorporate in the curriculum, [that] will help our juniors get even more hands-on training and they will be starting up shortly, so we will be looking for more faculty and staff members to join that program and help out those students.”
Michaliszyn believes when both programs are running simultaneously, there will be roughly 67 different students who are benefiting by participating in the program. The program helps the staff and faculty achieve a healthier lifestyle and helps students immensely with obtaining some real-world experience as they prepare for graduation.