Don’t fear fitness: Viterbo’s personal trainers are here to help


Justin Maxted

Grace Monk, Sports Editor

Viterbo’s Recreation and Leadership team knows working out can be an intimidating experience. They recognize students are often too scared to try or don’t know how to properly use the gym equipment. With this in mind, they started the personal training program. 

The program began when the Mathy Center opened in 2005. With a new gym, they knew there would be a disconnect between members and the equipment. The recreation team strives to make sure the need of each student is met. They want to make sure students are not only reaching their goals but also have the tools to do so. 

Personal trainers are used in gyms nation-wide and are geared towards people of all types. The purpose of a personal trainer is to give clients an education while providing support and accountability. Personalized plans are created to fit the health and fitness goals of each client. Once a plan is created, the trainer coaches their client through sessions and provides feedback.  

Viterbo currently has three trainers. The trainers are Pierce Narges, Jessica Schweninger, and Justin Maxted. Pierce and Jessica are both exercise science majors at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and work as student trainers. Justin Maxted works as a trainer occasionally, but his main role is to oversee the program. Justin graduated from Viterbo in the spring of 2021 with a major in sports science and a minor in psychology. He worked as a group fitness instructor as a student and now works as the recreation teams Fitness and Wellness Professional Intern. The program has always used student trainers with each student having the necessary qualifications. 

Justin said that his team “understands that going to the gym is daunting, especially in a public setting.” They work to create a safe environment for students both mentally and physically. Gym safety is important, and lack of training can lead to injury. This is one way the program can be useful to students, even if they are frequent gym goers. The trainers serve as a safety net and know how to use all the pieces of equipment in the facility.  

By using the personal trainers, students and staff can reach goals they struggle to reach on their own. Justin shared that “it’s easier to stay motivated when you have someone holding you accountable.” He also said, “It’s a great way to push yourself. We have had people that go to the gym often, but feel stuck, so we come in to help them jump to the next level.”  From the basics of exercise to building muscle mass, the trainers can help clients with a variety of concerns. They do not want personal limitations and fears to deter students from going to the gym.  

The program is free to both students and staff and there is no level of experience required. After signing up, students will be contacted by a trainer to schedule a time to meet. In the initial meeting, the trainer will go over a person’s fitness goals and history to create a plan. At Viterbo, the personal trainers strive to give each client a personalized experience. Once a plan is created, the trainer will schedule the client’s first session in the gym. 

Signing up is easy and takes minutes. Students can start by going to the recreation and leadership section on Viterbo’s website, which lists a variety of programs as well as personal training. Students will be taken to a sign-up link where you will complete a questionnaire. Once the answers are reviewed, a staff member will contact the prospective client. For additional help and questions contact