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Personal Trainers Build Strength and Confidence

Most people realize that exercising is a necessary aspect of staying fit and healthy. Whether you’re a gym rat, or if you go to the gym occasionally, or even if you work out at home, exercising on your own can present challenges.

There are many reasons why some people choose to work out with a personal trainer. Not only can a personal trainer keep you motivated, but he or she can help you stay accountable, can help monitor your progress in an objective manner, can help you reach specific, targeted goals and can teach you the correct way to utilize equipment. Another advantage of working out with a personal trainer is the ability to craft a personal fitness plan rather than a one-size-fits all approach.

Lisa Oldach opened The Exercise Coach in Cranberry about five years ago; her primary clientele are women over 40, though she works with men and women of all ages. “We use cutting-edge technology, and we’re passionate about transforming people’s lives. Our approach is based on science, which proves that exercise quality matters more than exercise quantity. We created a unique, high-tech approach that helps clients achieve the results that matter most, and we deliver those results in two 20-minute workouts a week. Clients absolutely love that,” said Oldach.

Oldach said that her program addresses the most common barriers people have when it comes to exercising: they’re too busy; they do not like the gym scene; they are afraid of injury; they do not like exercise. Clients make appointments to come in and work out with a trainer twice a week. “There is no guesswork about what you have to do; we have the workout routine already scheduled for you,” she said, which includes a circuit of between eight and ten machines to concentrate on the upper body, abs, back, legs and even some cardio. “I like to say that we work your head, shoulders, knees, toes and heart.”

“What is unique about our equipment is that it adapts to the client. We measure them where they are at today, and they build on that strength. They are uniquely measured by computerized equipment, so it’s safe, effective and efficient. We can work with people who have never worked out in their entire life or those who are professional athletes,” Oldach added.

Clients who work out at The Exercise Coach have various goals. Weight loss is one but so is developing strength and stability, building muscle mass (which is especially important as people age), or improving overall health by lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, or A1C numbers, etc. “We’ve worked with clients who have had hip and knee replacements, those who are cancer survivors, or women who have had mastectomies who feel very self-conscious about going into a gym. Our studio is very small and private,” she said.

Though success is measured differently by each client, many report improved bone health and mobility, weight loss or a reduction in required prescription medications.

Rachel Berry is the co-owner of Steel City Fortitude Fitness, a personal training studio, based in Wexford. She said that while she trains people of all ages, her primary demographic is men and women between 40-60, though she has also trained a high school student getting ready to play college basketball to people well into their 60s who have never worked out before. She is also pre- and postnatal certified.

Berry said that when people join a gym, they do not always know how to get started, what exercises are appropriate for their specific needs, or they fear injury. “I will help them get a program going. I am there, watching their form and can help them modify exercises,” she said.

Like Oldach, Berry will obtain a health history and help them assess their goals, which, she said, should be a gradual process. “You want to dip your feet in and build up from there. I record my workouts with my clients, so if they stopped training with me, they can continue the plan,” she said.

Berry does 30-minute strength-training sessions with her clients, customizing the specifics based on their needs, usually seeing them twice a week. She still encourages clients to do aerobic exercise at other times, such as walking at North Park. She does caution clients that it can take three months to see changes.

And people define progress in different ways. “Not a lot of people care about the scale as much anymore. I think when people are starting to see day-to-day activities get easier, they realize that they’re getting stronger,” she said.

Part of her goal as a trainer is to help educate her clients about proper techniques and help them flesh out their overall fitness and health goals so they can have the confidence to ultimately exercise at a gym on their own. “I don’t want them to feel that they need me forever,” she said.

For more information about The Exercise Coach, visit

For more information about Steel City Fortitude Fitness, visit

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