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Working Out Gets Personal at McNiff


UT is making working out and getting in shape easier for students with the help of certified personal trainers and group fitness classes offered daily at McNiff Fitness Center.

McNiff is currently offering hour-long individual personal training sessions for only $15 per hour . They also offer block plans for students that are looking to reach long-term goals, which range from four to eight week programs.  

For students nervous about working out alone, or would just like to work out with a friend, group personal trainer sessions are also available. Prices for group personal training are $12 per hour, and long-term packages range from 12 sessions to 16 sessions.

The personal trainers at McNiff make it a point to cater to their clients needs and goals when designing workout plans; constantly finding new and innovative ways to challenge and push their clients.

According to personal trainer Joel McGowan, there’s not just one way of doing things when it comes to working out, as all trainers take ideas from each other and incorporate them into their way of teaching.

The personal trainers at McNiff undergo training through nationally-accredited organizations in order to train clients and teach group fitness instruction. Trainers at McNiff also need to obtain their CPR certification before they can begin training.

After trainers take the initial classes needed to become certified, they have a 180 days from when they signed up for the class to take their exam. Exams are scheduled based on how fast trainers learn the material at one of the multiple testing centers throughout Hillsborough County.  During the test, trainers are required to pass a practical exam, in which they demonstrate how they would teach an actual client. Next, they are graded on how they interact with the client, such as their process for correcting their form and how well they explain the exercises.

Once certified, they are then required to take continuing education in order to maintain their credentials. These types of education units include taking classes or going to fitness conventions.   “If you want to be a good trainer, you’re reading up on the latest journals that are getting published when it comes to exercise science and you’re always going to these conventions,” McGowan said.

McNiff has also started the “Spartan Slimdown” to encourage students to live a healthier lifestyle through exercise and nutrition. The Slimdown is a nine-week program in which students work either independently or  with personal trainers and nutritionists to reach their goals. Students have to apply to this program and only 12 are accepted. The application process includes paying $120 at the start of the program, and once students complete the program they are reimbursed $60. Requirements for completing the program are meeting with personal trainers at least twice a week, attending at least one group fitness class per week, and working out six days a week.

“Nutrition is such a big part of it. I can train all the people I want and I can kick their butts basically, but if they’re not eating right it’s not going to  make a difference,” freshman personal trainer Rachel Wilson said.

Group workouts are also offered seven days a week free of charge to students on campus. These classes range from activities like yoga and zumba, to boot camp and

“absanity” workouts. Classes are held all day from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., making it possible for students to get a quick workout in between classes.

“Nobody likes to workout alone It’s hard to find motivation, so that’s why group classes are great,”sophomore personal trainer Serista Budhram says.

Group classes have become super popular at McNiff, sometimes even filling up during prime time hours at night. Group instructors make working out enjoyable for those who attend by providing upbeat energy and pushing clients to power through the rest of their workouts and not give up.

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