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 January 1, 1998

It’s ‘survival of the fittest’ for local personal trainers

Traditionally, the indulgences of the holidays and New Year generate an upswing in health club attendance. The dilemma personal trainers have to face is: How do you keep your clients on the Stairmaster after they’ve sweated out their guilt?

Lisa Buchanan is a 15-year co-owner (with her husband, Dave) and personal trainer at The Gym on The Hill in Boulder. She specializes in free weight training. With her bachelor’s degree from CU in kinesiology and exercise science, Buchanan trains from eight to nine people a day, charges $20 per hour, and earns $40,000 annually.

Because her 190 gym members have such a personal bond with her — some have been going for 12 years — Buchanan doesn’t notice a radical decline in attendance after the holidays.

“We are so specific that people use their membership,” she said. “They like weight

training, so they stick with it.”

Kimberly Coseglia is a certified personal trainer at Pulse Fitness Centers. She has been a personal trainer for four years and was certified by the American Council of Exercise. She specializes in strength increase, and also trains people for alpine skiing.

Coseglia sees between four and five clients a day at an hour each session and earns between $20,000 and $35,000 annually. Coseglia said that while clubs see more activity during the winter, the summer drop-off isn’t from a lack of motivation.

“A lot of people play outside. I like to emphasize that, yes, you can get a great workouts outside but … weight training is very important while you’re playing outside.”

A much larger problem Coseglia noted, however, is the large number of personal trainers in Boulder County. It is, literally, survival of the fittest. Still, she is optimistic about her potential to earn clients because she believes attitudes about personal training have changed.

“It is (now) considered something where if clients get involved with the club they also get a personal trainer. They know there’s more to it than winging it.”

Merri Read, a general manager and personal trainer at the Downtown Gym in Longmont, stated emphatically that she neither experiences a drop-off nor an increase in holiday business. That is by choice.

“I tell them up front, if this is a holiday thing, don’t hire me,” Read said.

Read is an ACE certified personal trainer and has a degree in psychology. She said her educational background is diverse because she creates a unique program for each client. She sees between two and five clients a day and charges from $30 and $40 an hour.

Read also holds belts in kung fu and karate, is a practitioner in transcendental mediation, and has been an apprentice to a Native American healer for the past eight years. She says this rounded philosophy plays into her role as a specifically “non-competitive” trainer.

“Most trainers say ‘be like me,'” she said. “I listen to my clients. If I can help them create what they want to be I work with it. It’s fun.”

Traditionally, the indulgences of the holidays and New Year generate an upswing in health club attendance. The dilemma personal trainers have to face is: How do you keep your clients on the Stairmaster after they’ve sweated out their guilt?

Lisa Buchanan is a 15-year co-owner (with her husband, Dave) and personal trainer at The Gym on The Hill in Boulder. She specializes in free weight training. With her bachelor’s degree from CU in kinesiology and exercise science, Buchanan trains from eight to nine people a day, charges $20 per hour, and earns $40,000 annually.

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