MILROY - When most people hear the words "personal trainer" they think of professional athletes and movie stars. John Schuh has been bringing the concept of personal fitness consulting and training to ordinary people in the area since 1996.
Schuh operates Personal Best Consulting out of his home near Tracy and has recently reached an agreement with the city of Milroy to run his program out of the town's fitness center.
"I help organizations, businesses, and individuals set and reach health promotion and wellness goals," Schuh said. "I create presentations to organizations, written recommendations, design wellness programs, and do personal training."
Photo by Steve Browne
Pat Dolan, right, who farms outside of Milroy, gets some coaching from wellness consultant John Schuh for getting the right muscles to coordinate with his golf swing.
Schuh graduated from Mankato State University with a B.S. in business management, and a minor in community fitness. He got his M.A. in wellness management from Ball State University and is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine as a health and fitness instructor.
But Schuh's business focus is on fitness for the sedentary non-athlete. His approach uses a cross-training approach for general fitness rather than sport-specific training.
"My typical client has a goal of weight loss, weight management, or general fitness," Schuh said, "typically they're not training for a sport."
Schuh will work with amateur sportsmen though. Milroy farmer Pat Dolan wants to get in better shape, and get more out of his golf game as well.
"I'd like to drop a few pounds and get the right muscles to coordinate with my golf swing," Dolan said. "Lots of what John has told me I've taken home. Cross-training makes a lot of sense. Do what you can live with, is fun to do, from which I can benefit."
In the past, before the age of mechanization, people might have been puzzled by the idea of a farmer wanting more exercise in his life.
"Unfortunately obesity is an epidemic," Schuh said. "We're a fairly inactive society, we've engineered ourselves out of activity."
Schuh said he can relate to his clients because he's had to deal with many of the same issues with weight and inactivity in the past, and recently dropped about 40 pounds.
He sees his role as that of a general consultant who consults with experts to achieve the best results for his clients, whether they are individuals or businesses.
"I've consulted with Schwan's and medium-sized businesses," Schuh said. "I'll go in and observe the culture and identify healthy components and those items or policies which may prohibit individuals from maximizing their health potential."
Donna Hensel is a typical client from the business environments these days.
"I'm not an athlete," Hensel said. "All I did was walk and I sit at a desk all day long. Right now I'm doing circuit training with John. I kind of wanted a personal trainer to get some different exercises. John is a very caring person as a physical trainer, and he's very good with follow-up."
After working two to three times a week with Schuh, Hensel said she's lost about 20 pounds. She said she's keeping up her personal training regimen and plans to consult Schuh every few months for advanced training so she doesn't plateau.