Training Days

“Get down and give me 20! One and two and three and four. You can do it! Don‘t give up.”

These are the words of a personal trainer at the Wellness & Recreation Center at State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz, one of several seeking to help students signed up for free sessions.

According to Keith Kenney, director of Wellness & Recreation, signing up for personal training session is simple. Forms can be found online and they must be submitted to Kenney. He then sets up an appointment time for the session.

Training sessions will happen at least three times during a semester. If the trainer doesn’t have too many clients, they can extend the number of sessions and make them last throughout the entire semester.

Chris Almanzar, a third-year radio and television production major, said he enjoyed his personal training sessions.

“It was good to have someone push you,” Almanzar said. “I can only push myself so much and that extra encouragement is really helpful.”

According to Kenney, the trainer starts the trainee off with a health assessment using the highly recommended Polar BodyAge machines. The machine calculates a person’s body age through a combination of tests. It allows the trainer to assess the person’s overall health. It also gives background on the trainee and enables the trainer to design a goal program suitable for their level.

“My trainer always asked whether I liked a certain exercise or not,” he said. “Each session we would do the same exercises but approach it with different techniques.”

There are approximately 20 trainers at the center, each certified through Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA). They complete a three-day weekend training session going through different activities. They then take a test to determine if they are qualified to receive their certification.

“The good thing about this certification is that these trainers can use it anywhere else,” Kenney said. “It’s not just for New Paltz. It’s a well-known certification.”

Kenney started this program four years ago at New Paltz because of new equipment that was purchased for the new wellness center.

“I knew there was no place for the members to go in order to learn how to use the exercise machines,” Kenney said.  “I wanted there to be free training services for any student, that has nothing to do with academics.”

Kenney said he has gotten positive feedback on the program. However, one challenge is when students blow off a session with a trainer without any forewarning.

“Since the program is free, there are no penalties for skipping a session,” Kenney said.

Scheduling the first few sessions is another problem that happens at the beginning of the semester.

“We have a huge amount of applications that come in and people usually want to start their sessions right away,” Kenney said. “Since so many people apply, sessions for the first few weeks of school may be delayed.”

Bianca Camacho, a fourth-year business management major, has been a trainer for two years. She said she has gained a lot of experience working for the Wellness Center not only as a trainer, but also as a group fitness class instructor.

“I think the best part of my job is that I get to help lots of different people reach different goals,” she said. “The great part of the program is that the health assessment exam gives us concrete numbers which then gives the trainees tangible goals. This makes it much easier for them to accomplish them.”

Signing up for a personal trainer is free for SUNY New Paltz students or current Wellness & Recreation Center members who are faculty, staff or alumni of New Paltz. For more information, contact Kenney at or 845-257-6956.

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