Conestoga news

February 23, 2024 12:01 PM

Free personal training program learning experience for students and employees

Conestoga employees looking to boost their fitness are benefiting from free personal training sessions offered this winter term by second-year students in the Fitness and Health Promotion program.

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Student Vanshika Shah (right) is practising her skills and knowledge as a personal trainer with Conestoga staff member Ajyah Hussain

There’s no cost for the training sessions, but membership at the Student Recreation Centre at the Kitchener - Doon campus is required.

Participants must commit to 14 weeks of in-person meetings that started mid-January. Interest is always high in the opportunity to get a personalized plan and one-on-one training from the upper-year students in their final semester as part of their required course work.

The training provides real-world experience for students where they can apply the skills and knowledge learned in the classroom.

“They’ve developed the skills to be personal trainers,” said Andrew Lubczuk, full-time faculty in the Fitness and Health Promotion program. “It’s as close as you’re going to get to the real thing.”

The pairs will meet a minimum of once a week, starting with a fitness assessment and talking about the client’s goals to then build them an individual training program.

Student Vanshika Shah said it’s a great chance to work with a real client, not just classmates. That’s good practice as they build their skills and knowledge, but fellow students are all knowledgeable themselves. Some clients will never have been in a gym before and learning needs to start with the basics, explaining and then demonstrating each exercise.

Shah likes working one-on-one and designing a fitness plan with feedback from Lubczuk. An individual approach is key.

“A lot of clients have expectations when they come in on the first go. It’s not just like an easy fix. Everybody’s body reacts differently to the programs that we give,” Shah said.

She’s been working for a few weeks with Ajyah Hussain, a lab technologist in the Nutrition and Food Service Management program.

“She got to know a lot about where I was at in terms of knowledge,” Hussain said. “She took the time to have a good idea of that and then we started working on showing me new things and making sure that I’m doing this with the correct form or the correct posture, and making sure I don’t overdo anything while still trying to push myself.”

Hussain previously would exercise at home with the guidance of videos. Knowing what to do in a gym with all the equipment can seem daunting, and Hussain was looking for more guidance.

Having Shah at her side takes away all the guesswork and worry, and Hussain needs only to show up for a good workout and not have to be concerned about injuring herself.

“It’s been a great learning curve so far, learning from all her experience.”

The program accepts new clients at the start of each winter term to coincide with students’ curriculum.

The Fitness and Health Promotion program is designed to open a variety of career pathways, such as personal trainer, group fitness instructor and healthy lifestyle coach. The two-year diploma program gives students an in-depth understanding of exercise science, personal training/coaching and behaviour change theory, as well as nutrition concepts, group fitness and health promotion.

Conestoga’s School of Health & Life Sciences offers a range of credentials from pre-health programs through to certificates, diplomas, graduate certificates and degrees.