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Personal Trainers Provide Education, Encouragement, Accountability

The undisputed benefits of exercise convince most of us to at least consider getting physically fit. Whether we need to lose weight, tone up, or strengthen our bodies, we know we need to get moving. But knowing and doing are often two separate things.

Sometimes we have no idea how to get started in our resolve to improve our fitness regimen. And, let’s face it, those strange contraptions scattered about the gym floor with weights and cables attached could intimidate the most determined soul.

Professional personal trainers know how to operate all of those odd contraptions at the gym. They also know how to teach you to do the same. More importantly, personal trainers see beyond the initial goals of weight loss and toning, focusing on the long-term benefits of regular exercise.

“When I ask new clients why they want a personal trainer, 95 percent say they want to lose weight and tone up,” said Rachel Pecanis, co-owner of recently opened Steel City Fortitude Fitness. “What they don’t realize is that to tone up, you need to build muscle through strength training.”

Pecanis notes another unexpected benefit of weightlifting. “It’s not about getting bulky; rather it’s about getting stronger, which makes day-to-day activities easier to do.”

With a master’s degree in Public Health, Pecanis focuses on the broader benefits of exercise and fitness. “Exercise aids in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol and helps prevent chronic diseases,” she explained. “When clients return to their doctors after training, they typically see improvements which sometimes prevent them from having to go on medications.”

Pecanis encourages and motivates her clients with the ‘big picture’ of exercise benefits. “It helps you sleep better at night, reduces anxiety and depression, and assists with maintaining bone mass,” she said. “This is particularly important for women after menopause.”

Co-owner of Steel City Fortitude Fitness Shannon Bednarick earned a bachelor of science in chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh in 2014. “I neglected my health in college to focus solely on studying,” Bednarick recalled. “Once I graduated and began working full-time, I made weight loss my top priority.”

She found her greatest results when she began working with a personal trainer who just happened to be Pecanis. Inspired with the results and the process, Bednarick decided to become a certified personal trainer as well as a certified fitness nutrition specialist. She credits her chemistry background with helping her understand the science behind health and fitness especially as it pertains to nutrition.

The Case for Hiring a Personal Trainer

While anyone can work out on their own, utilizing the expertise of a personal trainer provides guidance especially for those unfamiliar with strength training. “I teach people how to strength train so that they are comfortable and confident with their fitness program,” explained Pecanis. “Most clients work with me in their session and still work out on their own.”

When working with weights and other gym equipment, the correct form is vital to avoid injury. “At Steel City Fortitude Fitness, our clients learn how to use barbells, squat racks and benches with dumbbells,” explained Pecanis. “We have a wide variety of gym equipment that you would see in a typical gym.”

Personal trainers teach clients proper form, suggest appropriate exercise for both cardio and strength training, and offer a mix of encouragement and accountability. Even if you have a regular exercise program, working with a trainer can enhance your fitness regimen and guide you over those dreaded plateaus in weight loss efforts.

“We offer one-on-one coaching that provides accountability, and type II muscle fiber workouts,” said Lisa Oldach, owner and certified exercise coach at The Exercise Coach® in Cranberry Township.

Type II muscle fiber workouts (sometimes referred to as fast twitch) include running sprints, agility drills, heavy squats, deadlifts and bench presses which increase the body’s fat-burning ability. It may sound intimidating, but a certified exercise coach knows how to tailor the workouts for your body.

“Our coaches, combined with two 22-minute (appointment-based) workouts each week keep our clients on track,” said Oldach. “Since they look forward to their workouts, they show up, which eventually forms a habit.”

No matter how diligent a person is with a fitness routine, an injury, illness or surgery can throw them off course. Oldach assures her clients that they’ll be taken care of, even in the toughest of times.

“We can accommodate for injuries, illnesses and surgeries on our proprietary equipment,” she explained. “We go beyond personal training and create a family atmosphere where we are truly invested in your health and well-being.”

Get in Touch

Steel City Fortitude Fitness operates by appointment only. Visit for more information. The Exercise Coach® has hundreds of locations worldwide, including one in Cranberry Township. To connect, visit

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