Personal Training: Making it to the Finish Line

Do you agree one of the biggest challenges of going to the gym is finding the motivation to leave the house? According to Susan Mason, parent of an Oakland University student, the personal training program at Oakland University Recreation and Well-Being helped her conquer just that.

Mason was tired of feeling discouraged and she wanted to make a positive change. She wasn’t very active but support from her family got her to the gym. She later signed up for personal training and was assigned personal trainer Josh McMillon, a senior at OU.

McMillon’s first task for Mason was to create a goal she wanted to reach. “I was stumped,” she said. After realizing how out-of-shape and out-of-breathe she was, Mason’s goal became to run a marathon to help her improve and show all aspects of fitness (strength, balance, and endurance).

Mason instantly noticed the difference of having a trainer because the motivation of having someone cheering for her was huge. “Even when I could not run a single lap on the indoor track or do one lunge, my trainer believed in me. It was his [McMillon’s] encouragement and motivation that kept me on track. He pushed me more than I would have on my own. He always watched my form to make sure I was doing it correctly and stayed injury free.”

Even though Mason was spending three days a week running and three days a week in the gym with or without McMillon, she still had barriers to overcome. Having negative thoughts can be a push back when starting out and being out of shape. Quickly though, Mason realized that the gym is a place to allow those to improve and setting mantras helped her.

30 days was all it took before results were being noticed. She went from being able to run one lap around the track to a few miles and even joined a running group. Mason said, “Losing the inches and pounds has been great, but gaining the strength and endurance has been the best result.”

Mason reached her goal of running a marathon in 18 months and has participated in over 20 races. She is still working with McMillon setting new goals and reaching higher heights. Over the summer, she went hiking and got to experience things she wouldn’t have been able to before she had a trainer. With the change in eating habits and exercise, her cholesterol level has even decreased 100 points.

Having a trainer helps motivate you more than you think you can yourself. She is now with a local training program to help others reach their running goals. Mason’s take away is that “Actions, not wishes, make opportunities happen. One step, no matter how small, is still progress.”

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