Personal Training Turnaround

When Alexandria Cosner joined the campus rec team at University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) as the assistant director of fitness and wellness, she realized the school’s personal training program was being underutilized.

But instead of scrapping it and trying something else, Cosner searched for ways to improve the program. “After lowering the cost and really getting some good marketing and education out to the UIS campus, we now have almost 10 individuals getting personal training,” she said.

What do these 10 individuals receive? To begin with, students interested in personal training complete a Health History Questionnaire, which tells the trainers if the person is healthy enough for exercise. According to Cosner, a couple examples of not being healthy enough would include asthma, ankle swelling, heart murmurs or palpitations. If any of these are present, the student would be required to get a doctor’s clearance in order to participate.

Once the individual has completed the form, Cosner sets them up with a personal trainer for a free assessment. The fitness assessment includes evaluation of a student’s resting heart rate, resting blood pressure, skin fold testing for body fat percentage, step test for cardiovascular health, muscular endurance, sit ups, muscular strength- push ups and flexibility testing.

“The assessment in whole takes about 45 to 60 minutes and gives the client, as well as myself and the trainers, a good idea of where this person is health wise and maybe some things that they could be working on to improve,” explained Cosner.

If the student decides to pursue personal training, they have one of four options to choose from. They can choose a one-hour session for $12, four one-hour sessions for $46, eight one-hour sessions for $88 or 12 one-hour sessions for $130.

Cosner explained option four is the most cost effective and is ideal for those interested in reaching a specific goal.

“It is most feasible for the client to purchase 12 hours of personal training for $130, as that gives my staff 12 different times to meet with a person to give them the tools they need in order to develop their own workouts and to live a healthy lifestyle forever,” said Cosner. “Some people lack in motivation so they may need to meet three to four times with their trainer, [and] at that rate the 12 sessions can go quickly. Or a client may choose to meet with their trainer one to two times per week to better spread the 12 sessions out.”

According to Cosner, personal training is a great option for students looking to jump-start their fitness. “College ‘kids’ tend to think they are invincible to bad health, however congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, obesity, diabetes, plaque buildup, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, all begin in childhood and it begins by making unhealthy food and exercise choices. Today about every one in 10 children ages 2 to 19 are considered overweight or obese. Taking the healthy steps into college once away from mom and dad are crucial to overall wellbeing.”

Cosner explained the college decided to offer personal training not to make money, but to help students. “Our money goes straight to our trainers so they can develop safe and effective workouts for their clients each and every time,” added Cosner.

Bonus Tips for running a successful personal training program:

  • “Make it affordable to students, knowing we are not here to make a profit.”
  • “Good marketing and education. Education meaning: explaining to students this is a great opportunity while still in school.”
Rachel is the Editor-in-Chief of Peake Media. She can be reached at

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