A fitness win-win

Peggy coaching Liz

Liz Schran is lucky. So is her personal trainer Peggy Balboni. It’s fair to say their relationship is a win-win situation.

Liz works at St. Joseph’s College in Standish, Maine where Peggy is a junior majoring in health and wellness promotion with a minor in exercise science. This past summer she was certified as a personal trainer through the National Council on Strength and Fitness. When she returned to St. Joe’s she was hired by the school to work with students, staff, and alumni. It’s a great opportunity to get hands-on experience in her chosen field.

My ultimate career would be a strength and conditioning coach for college athletes.

Liz is no college athlete. In fact, she’s a self-avowed couch potato. Now that she’s older, she wants to change her ways and get in shape.

I’m a senior now. I won’t reveal my age, but I am a senior and everything I read says you have to be strong or you’re not going to have quality of life.

They both jumped at the opportunity to work together. Even though Liz is older and not an athlete, Peggy understands the importance of learning to work with people of ages.

I train or coach Liz the same way I would maybe another student but the program is definitely different and the goal of each workout is different, for sure.

Liz doing a plank

The first thing Peggy did with Liz was to assess what she could do — zero push-ups, but she was impressed with her plank. She also checked her height, weight, BMI, and blood pressure. And, of course, they talked about her goals.

They were to tone up muscle and lose a little weight. I made her program more full-bodied than I would an athlete, more functional, working in cardio, flexibility, and core strengthening.

After just a few months of working out together twice a week, Liz notices a difference.

“She keeps giving me this 15-pound weight to do squats with and I was convinced I never did it with 15 pounds. Now I can lift the 20-pound bag of cat litter at home.” Do you feel stronger? “Yeah, I think so.” Can you do a push-up now? Liz: “She can do a push-up now. We’re working on it.”

Liz Schran doing a push-up

It’s a well-known phenomenon that a huge percentage of people will become disenchanted with working out a few weeks in. Think trying to keep your New Year’s resolution. The idea hasn’t even crossed Liz’s mind.

Knowing there is someone here waiting for me — that this is her professional job. She’s waiting for me and we have a responsibility to one another.

Peggy and Liz working out

In addition to Liz’s endorsement, there is something else that points to Peggy’s success as a personal trainer. Liz was her very first client at St. Joe’s and now she has a waiting list. High five to both of them!

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Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. She now hosts and produces the Catching Health podcast and writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.