Personal Training: Matt’s Making a Change

Matt PT Before & After Socail MediaThe only good thing about hitting rock bottom is that the only way to go from there is up. That is exactly what Matt Brafman did. Matt wants to share his personal training success story to motivate others and show how greatly it has impacted his life.

When asked how he felt before starting this journey, he replied, “I was as low as a person can be”. He felt unhappy and alone with himself because of his lack of motivation. “[I] Hit rock bottom”. At his heaviest, he weighed 290 pounds. “Body image shouldn’t be how you value yourself as a person,” Matt said. “However, it’s ok to set health goals for yourself in order to improve your energy and the way your body functions”.

His first attempt with personal training lasted one month in July 2011 at a gym, but he gave up after losing 10 pounds. His second try was July 2015 at a different gym and lasted seven months, but he gave up again because he wasn’t burning fat. His most recent attempt in December 2016 turned out to be a success when he met with Austin Standridge, personal trainer with Oakland University Recreation and Well-Being.

Austin is a graduate student studying Exercise Science at OU, and has been a personal trainer for five years. He became a personal trainer at OU Rec Well in 2016 as part of his graduate assistantship. Austin started training Matt about 10 months ago. Austin was encouraged by Matt’s tenacity and perseverance to make a positive change in his own life. Austin said, “I met Matt and recognized his determination. I was excited to contribute to his journey”.

Matt continues to show his attitude through answering the question ‘why did you want to do personal training versus just working out on your own?’ His answer was very easily put: “The person who puts in the work is me. Only I can do the things to make me better, and I’m a person who believes in guidance. I found a trainer at a point when I was ready to work and get results”.

For roughly nine months, Matt trained with Austin one to two times per week and spent the rest of the week working out on his own. They talk frequently about how Matt can improve his “me” days. “Personal training isn’t just about goblet squats and burpees. I learned patience and the reward of long-term dedication,” Matt stated. He mentioned that he plans to continue weight loss training until October 2017 and then will switch to focus on muscle mass and body fat percentage.

Matt shares how many positive changes he has experienced through personal training in less than one year. He reflects on his nine-month journey and is so thankful that he made the choice to begin taking his health and wellness into his own hands. Today he weighs 200 pounds, which means he has lost 90 pounds so far! Matt revealed that the most important thing he’s gained is the confidence in himself that he can overcome obstacles if he tries.

Matt left us with some powerful words of wisdom that he gained from his experience; “A person has the power to make positive change happen if they are persistent in their desire to make life better for themselves or for others”.

If you want more information on personal training options available at the Recreation Center click here.

OU RecWell also has programs such as Know Your Numbers and Drop-In Body Composition that help participants understand more about their bodies in relation to fitness and well-being. Keep an eye out on our social media for updates of when we are hosting Know Your Numbers and Drop-In Body Composition events or click here.










Employee Spotlight: Sheilah Hallman

Employee Spotlight (Sheilah Hallman) (1)

Sheilah is a junior studying Health Sciences here at Oakland University. She started working at the Rec in August of 2016. She is currently a Member Services Assistant.


Why did you want to work at the Rec?

I already came to the Rec a lot and all of the employees were very nice and welcoming. Working here also gave me the opportunity to have a fun, on-campus job.


What is your favorite part about working here?

  • Professional development opportunities
  • Meeting new staff members and patrons


What are your favorite Rec activities? (IM sports, GroupX, Street Teams, RLC, etc.)

  • IM Volleyball
  • RLC events


When you’re not at the Rec, what are some things you like to do?

Read, watch Netflix, spend time with friends


What fuels your shift? (music, food, people, etc.)

My awesome co-workers, patrons, working with employee of the month: Syed Murtaza, and Rec Radio playing high school musical songs.


What are you looking forward to?

Going to physical therapy school


What are your plans for the future?

Achieve a doctorate degree in Physical Therapy and work in pediatrics or with neurology patients


Name your top workout songs:

Anything on “Hits of the 2000s” or “Disney” Pandora Stations


What is your best tip for health and wellness?

Work at your own pace and do what feels best for you.


Fun Fact:

I can clap with one hand.

Employee Spotlight: Sara Heines

Employee Spotlight (Sara Heines)

Sara is a sophomore here at Oakland University studying Mechanical Engineering . She has been working as a Member Services Assistant at the Rec since April of 2016.


Why did you want to work at the Rec?

I heard that the staff was one big family. Also, it is a good opportunity to work on communication skills.


What is your favorite part about working here?

I get to meet new people every day.


When you’re not at the Rec, what are some things you like to do?

I am on the OU swim team, but I also love to volunteer at the K9 stray rescue league and I love to wakeboard. And scuba diving!


What fuels your shift? (music, food, people, etc.)

Having conversations with customers, giving tours, and getting to know my co-workers.


What are you looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to becoming an engineer and possibly working out of the country since I’m minoring in Spanish.


What are your plans for the future?

I plan to go to law school to be a patent attorney.


Name your top 3 workout songs

  1. Legend – The Score
  2. Ride- 21 Pilots
  3. Weak- AJR


What is your best tip for health and wellness?

Make sure to always have fun during your workout. Don’t beat yourself up; have fun with it.


Fun Fact:

I’ve scuba divided on shipwrecks that are 100+ years old.

Personal Trainer Prep Course Check-In

After wrapping up a seven week-long course, 14 students are now ready to move on to the next step of becoming a personal trainer.

A lot of people think it’s about lifting weights or doing cardio,” said Austin Standridge, fitness graduate assistant at the Rec Well who co-taught the course. “Personal trainers understand fitness is whole circle. Exercise includes much more than lifting weights and jogging on the track.”

Personal training can be a pretty sweet gig. Not only can people share their love of fitness with others, but the average yearly salary at a big corporate gym is $50,000 and personal trainers make their own hours.

In the personal trainer prep course hosted by OU Rec Well, Standridge said that a myriad of topics were covered, like exercise terminology and biomechanics. Half of the course took place in a typical classroom while the other half was spent applying practical knowledge from the classroom. Students also prescribed exercise to different clients with different needs.

Standridge said that he has complete faith that the students who took the prep course will pass the personal trainer certification exam “with flying colors”. In fact, one student has already been certified through ACSM. According to Standridge, most of the participants signed up to take certification exams in May.

“I hope students learned personal training is more than formulating an hour workout for a client,” Standridge said. “Personal training is about establishing a relationship with a client and achieving goals from there.”

OU Rec Well wishes everyone about to take a personal trainer certification exam the best of luck!

Employee Spotlight: Kayla Andreski

Employee-Spotlight-(Kayla-Andreski)Kayla has worked at the Rec since September 2014. She is currently a member services assistant. She is a senior nursing major.


Why did you want to work at the Rec?
I already was using the Rec and wanted an on campus job so it seemed like a perfect fit.

What is your favorite part about working here?
I really enjoy my co-workers and the work.

What are your favorite Rec activities? (IM sports, GroupX, Street Teams, RLC, etc.)
I’m a big fan of GroupX classes.

When you’re not at the Rec, what are some things you like to do?
When I’m not at the Rec I like to sleep, watch Netflix, and do things with friends.

What fuels your shift? (music, food, people, etc.)
My great co-workers and patrons fuel my shift.

What are you looking forward to?
I am looking forward to graduating this year.

What are your plans for the future?
I would love to be a family practice nurse practitioner.

Name your top 3 workout songs
I usually listen to Pandora while working out but I like the Today’s Hits, Vance Joy, and Sam Smith stations.

What is your best tip for health and wellness?
Try to balance school and social life as well as you can.

Fun Fact:
My younger brother also works member services at the Rec.

GroupX Spotlight: Yoga for Relaxation with Paula

What is the class? A slow-flow yoga class that encourages stretching and creating stillness.

When and where:

Days: Wednesday

Where: Studio 919

Duration: 1 hour


How does this class improve your body? Practicing yoga is great to gain strength and flexibility, however, my practice and in many of my classes we practice balance. Balance of the body, and balance of the mind as well.  Yoga encourages quieting the mind and developing stillness, which in this sometimes chaotic or over stimulated world of always being “on” or “plugged in”, it’s nice to learn how to create that balance and stillness to carry off your mat and into your daily life.

What’s your favorite thing about teaching GroupX classes? The students, their energy and the amazing transformation in their expressions and energy from the beginning to the end of class.   

What made you want to teach GroupX in the first place?  I was working with a trainer that taught spin classes and we weaved the spin class and my training sessions together, after the first class, I was hooked. Shortly after, I received a G.E.A.R Indoor Cycling certification to be able to teach as well.  Spin/Cycling and yoga are completely different and I enjoy both of them so much, that it’s an absolute joy to share them with our students.   

6 Ways to be Financially Healthy

What does it mean to be financially well? According to Consumer Finance, there are four elements of financial well-being. These include control over your day-to-day and monthly finances, the capacity to absorb financial shock, financial freedom to make choices to enjoy life, and being on track to meet your financial goals.

College students are at a tumultuous point in their lives where they may be managing their own money independently for the first time. According to a study done by the Journal of Family and Economic Issues, “Young adults age 18–25 are in a distinct life-cycle stage. This period, known as emerging adulthood, is characterized by major life-changing experiences, including college. In the midst of these transitional life events, money, and, in particular, the credit system they have gained access to, unarguably plays a central role in shaping the attitudes they form and behaviors they adopt, not only toward financial management but also toward life in general.”

Here are 5 ways college students can make themselves financially well now and maintain that well-being in the future:

  1. First of all, check your spending habits and cut out mindless spending. Are you dropping $50 a month on McDonald’s? Try meal planning, which is far less expensive (and healthier) than the drive-thru.
  2. If your bank has an app, download it on your smartphone. It’s easier to track your spending and saving when it’s right in the palm of your hand.
  3. Create a budget and stick to it. There are many free budgeting apps out there to help you, like Good Budget, Level Money, or Mint.  
  4. Start creating an emergency fund. If something unexpected happens, then you always have a cushion. According to The Vanguard Group, an emergency fund is between three and six months of living expenses. Even putting aside as little as $10 a month helps!
  5. Take advantage of financial help on campus, like Student Financial Services or the OU Credit Union.They have financial literacy programs aimed directly at students to build credit and create financial success.
  6. Be patient and stick with the budgeting system that works best for you. Soon, saving will become second nature.