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In STEP with Kinesiology

There’s a reason the old adage of the “Freshman 15” is so commonly used—staying healthy in college is no easy task.

Thankfully, a team of personal trainers is on hand at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh to help students and staff get and stay fit and healthy.

The personal trainers are part of the Student Titan Employment Program (STEP) and work in the University’s state-of-the-art fitness facility, the Student Recreation and Wellness Center (SRWC). A team of six kinesiology and athletic training majors provide personalized training, exercise plans and nutritional advice to keep students, staff and faculty healthy.

Both one-on-one or partner training sessions are provided. For students, a single session for one-on-one instruction costs $15, and sessions with a partner costs $12 per person. Each session runs approximately one hour.

Senior STEP personal trainer Victoria Strutz said the program provides students with the opportunity to use the wealth of resources provided at the SRWC and around campus. She said the variety allows students to find a personalized exercise plan that they enjoy.

“We target specifically what they want to work on…,” Strutz said. “It really is just dependent on them.”

Strutz has been a personal trainer for two years but originally came to UW Oshkosh for to study business. After taking the required general education course, Active Lifestyles, she said she “fell in love” with the program and changed her major to kinesiology.

“I’ve always just loved being active and helping others to become more active,” Strutz said.

Recreation Coordinator Kelly Beisenstein-Weiss said the STEP program benefits the SRWC by providing the needed personal trainers, and also benefits the students who work in the program by providing them with the work experience employers seek in potential employees.

“With the STEP program, we are able to give more students the opportunity to gain this experience before they graduate,” she said. “It also gives students a chance to experience first-hand what personal training is all about—working with clients and program development, progression and modification.”

Strutz said the one-on-one interaction with clients is a helpful experience, allowing her to practice anatomy concepts and other aspects of her education. She also gains experience through teaching cycling and suspension training courses, and hopes to carry her experiences into graduate school and a future career.

Dylan Shaver is another senior kinesiology major and has worked as a personal trainer since the beginning of the 2012 fall semester. He said the program provides students with “a fun and safe way to become healthier” while receiving guidance and education from a professional staff.

“It gives me a chance to develop a way to communicate with new people who want help and want to learn about exercising,” Shaver said. “It has helped me gain a training voice and develop cues to help the clients execute the exercises correctly.”

The SRWC provides an abundance of fun options for students to stay fit, including cardio and strength training equipment, both three-court and multipurpose gymnasiums, a climbing wall, golf simulators and a walking and jogging track. Beisenstein-Weiss said the facility provides “something for everyone.”

She also said that regular physical activity at the SRWC or through the STEP personal training program enhances more than just physical health.

“There are many other benefits for college students,” Beisenstein-Weiss said. “College students who participate in regular physical activity tend to report better sleep habits, improved mental and emotional health, healthier eating, improved study habits and a greater satisfaction with their college experience.”

Albee Hall on campus also provides exercise options with a pool and racquetball courts, as well as the Healthy Titans fitness program designed specifically for staff and faculty use.

The STEP personal trainers utilize the Titan Training Zone, one of the SRWC’s newest components. The Titan Training Zone is where personal training sessions take place and contains equipment such as a body fat tester and cable machine, a piece of exercise equipment that uses cables to lift a set amount of weights and allows for a variety of exercise movements.

Students seeking additional involvement with UW Oshkosh’s fitness scene can become a part of Kinesiology Club, of which Strutz serves on the executive board. Kinesiology Club hosts game nights and forms a team to participate in the Shamrock Shuffle, the annual 5k walk or run hosted by UW Oshkosh. This year’s Shuffle will take place March 9.

One STEP personal trainer, Peter Gray, received certification from the American Council on Exercise, which requires knowledge in a wide range of information necessary for effective personal training. Gray said the STEP personal training program helps to share this knowledge.

“Personal training is a very important service to our University because there is a lack of knowledge in the general public on how to workout,” Gray said. “A lot of what we do as personal trainers is educating and sharing correct ways to exercise.”

UW Oshkosh also educates its students by releasing a weekly recreation report. The report shares information about SRWC events, intramural sports and Xpedition trips, an outdoor recreation program that provides equipment rentals and various trips throughout the year.

Shaver said the STEP personal training program provides a safe way for students to become healthy, and the wealth of facilities provided on and around campus ensure that they can have fun while doing it.

“There is something that everyone can find interesting…,” Shaver said. “The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh provides a great healthy atmosphere for their students. It is just up to students to decide to use the resources to their full potential.”


Written by Derek Paulus, Integrated Marketing and Communications STEP student.