The fitness specialists at BodyWorks come from all different backgrounds. There are swimmers, soccer players, dancers and fitness enthusiasts.
One of three student managers and senior exercise science major Jen Matusszewski became interested in personal training and fitness after playing three sports all through high school. Following in the footsteps of her three athletic siblings, Matuszewski played soccer, basketball and softball. However, soccer has always been, and continues to be, her main interest, as she plays in a co-ed league in Massachusetts, though it was canceled this year due to COVID-19. She also noted that it was actually a babysitting job that inspired her to look into the fitness side of sports.
“When I was in high school, I started trading my mom’s personal trainer for babysitting. So like I’d babysit her kids and then I would be able to go work out with her at the gym that they owned, which was pretty cool,” said Matuszewski. “That was kind of the start of it, I guess. I wanted to learn more about it.”
Matuszewski began working with BodyWorks last August because of her involvement in the required practicum class for the exercise science major. Once she had completed the class, the opportunity came about for her to apply for the student manager position and to continue working with clients.
“It was kind of intimidating like getting into the practicum class and then learning that I had to work at BodyWorks, but I really liked it and then I decided to stay on staff,” said Matuszewski. “Then I applied for the student manager job and here I am.”
Matuszewski commented that the hardest part of her job as a fitness specialist is the commute to Keene State from Hinsdale, NH for staff meetings, desk hours and appointments.She explained that fitness specialists put in a lot of hours so it can be difficult to make the 35-40 minute drive as frequently as she does.
“It was really stressful at first, but it’s kind of become something that I actually like doing,” Matuszewski explained. “We have to work at the desk like six hours a week, but then we have manager meetings and workshop on Fridays where all the managers and fitness specialists have to join the practicum students and do a group activity. We work probably around 12 hours and then, hopefully, we’ll get clients here soon so that’ll add another couple hours depending on their availability and stuff.”
However, the positive experiences working at BodyWorks have outweighed the negative and Matuszewski’s passion for personal training was fully realized after working with clients last semester.
“It’s really cool to see clients make little victories. Like increasing five pounds on an arm exercise or something like that,” Matuszewski said. “I really like that experience of teaching someone and then watching someone improve from what they started with. Also we have to do an initial fitness assessment and then a post fitness assessment, so seeing the progress can be really gratifying.”
As a senior, Matuszewski has to decide what she wants to do after commencement this spring and her experience at BodyWorks has led her to research grad schools that offer occupational therapy degrees.
“With the rehab and therapy thing, that’s kind of the same aspect of teaching someone from baseline, from where they’re at, to improving whatever they need to improve. So I think that working at BodyWorks definitely solidified that for me,” said Matuszewski.
The exercise science students and fitness specialists are currently looking for personal training clients for the Spring 2021 semester. If you are interested, the cost is $50 for the semester and the application can be found at https://www.keene.edu/life/recsports/bodyworks/. You do not need to have any prior fitness experience to apply for personal training.
“Everyone’s really friendly and we’re actually knowledgeable about some things and we can teach you some things,” Matuszewski said. “We’re not here to judge you on what you start with but like that’s what all of us want to do, we want to help you and teach you so hopefully you can use that knowledge for the rest of your life.”
Meeghan Somerset can be contacted at: