Jesse Hershey: Using Personal Training to Prevent Injuries

Hey Jesse! Thanks for taking the time to sit down with me today to discuss your passion for fitness and helping others to succeed in fitness. First question!

Mike: How did you get involved in personal training and how long have you been training?

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Jesse: Thanks for having me Mike! My junior year at PSU (2006) I had to retire from the Track and Field team due to a career ending surgery. After that I became an assistant intern coach on the same team. I couldn’t leave the sport, I love it too much. And I didn’t want to see anyone else hurt themselves like I did. I knew I could help people train and compete safer and extend their careers. Since then I’ve been involved with coaching. A few years later I got certified as a personal trainer through American Council on Exercise. After that certification I continued my education and now I have many certifications.

Mike: What are your Certifications, education, and specialties?

Jesse: I have a Bachelor’s of Science in Recreation, Park, Tourism Management from PSU main campus. I graduated with two options in this major: Commercial/Community Recreation & Outdoor Education Recreation.
My Certification list:
-ACE – Certified Personal Trainer
-NSCA -Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
-ACE – Sports Conditioning Specialist
-Titleist Golf Institute Level I
-TRX Level 1
-Coming Soon! By December of 2017 I will have my Functional Movement System (FMS) Level 1 certification.

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Mike: Where do you train?

Jesse: I am a full time trainer who works exclusively at Wyomissing Fitness and Training. I am currently training clients, sometimes instructing group exercise like Bootcamps, running clinics and different seminars on topics in the industry, & planning and implementing corporate wellness programs.

Mike: Who is your target clientele?

Jesse: I wouldn’t say I have a target clientele. I train people from age 6-80 years old. From people being discharged to physical therapy to the Olympic athlete, I’ve trained all people in between. I enjoy training everyone. Seeing progress and keeping people safe are my main goals so age or physical level does not matter to me. I prefer training people who are motivated and determined. I do get a certain joy out of training collegiate and high school athletes because I was one. Looking back at my life I would have benefited in so many ways if I had a trainer when I was learning how to strengthen my body for sports. I could have been better with fewer injuries.

Mike: Give us some inspiration!

Jesse: I’ve had 14 surgeries in my life. The injuries were primarily caused by athletics. I am very familiar with the healing process and how frustrating it can be. Getting back in good condition is harder than staying in shape. At the age of 22 I already had two permanent disabilities. I wasn’t able to do a lot and I was doing all kinds of medical treatments for my pain. I decided after a few years to study and learn how to live a Functional life again.

I knew even though I had a lot of experience training, what I used to do for workouts weren’t going to cut it anymore. I had limitations and a lot of pain. After I was discharged from physical therapy I stopped pain management also because we plateaued and I wasn’t seeing anymore improvements. That’s when I studied to become a personal trainer and implemented everything I learned on myself. My one disability is herniated disks in the low back and including two discs. I also have Spina Bifida which added to the structural instability. I soon found out that there is nothing I can do about those two things.

So I started to study and learn about how the body works. I found that I can’t directly strengthen or stretch or exercise my injured area and expect positive results. So I indirectly started to work on the stability around the injured area to created support around my spine. Adding stability and strength in the core will act like a brace and keep additional pressure off of the spine. Before I became a trainer it hurt to walk and my feet were almost completely numb. After about 2 years I was able to live an active lifestyle again. I can now go hiking, biking, snowboarding, ATV and motorcycle riding, running, and almost anything I want.

Mike: What is the most important exercise for longevity and health?

Jesse: I think the most important exercise for longevity and health is cardiovascular aerobic exercise. The heart is the most important muscle in the body and like every muscle in the body it will get weak over time if not challenged. After the age of 30 we lose a half pound of muscle per year. You can easily gain that back and more with a regimented strength training program. But you can’t strengthen the heart that well with a bicep curl. So doing steady state cardio or interval based cardio is an effective way to strengthen and challenge the heart. I definitely recommend switching modalities when it comes to cardio. If you only run you will be at risk for an overuse injury so adding a bicycle, rower, or elliptical in your program can help prevent that.

Mike: Who do you admire or find inspirational in the fitness industry?

Jesse: Gray Cook is the person I find most inspirational in this industry. He has developed a certification that measures the quality of our movements. It’s called Functional Movement Systems and it’s what this industry has been missing. In the past personal training was a way to increase your physical capacity whether it’s running faster, getting bigger, lifting heavier weights. But if the movements were inefficient and imbalanced then you’re body will adapt and create problems. By measuring the quality of movement we can train clients safer, prevent/predict future injuries or imbalances, and correct inefficiencies. This system is designed for personal trainers and physical therapists so that we can work together and be on the same page. Communication becomes much easier because of the certification. It makes it clear our scope of practice.

Mike: Jesse, I really appreciate you taking the time to sit down and do this interview with me. It is always awesome to connect with like-minded fitness professionals who take their education seriously.

Jesse: Thanks again for having me Mike!

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Michael Hartman
Michael Hartman
Owner of Formal Fitness Training and Healthy Living reporter for Reading Magazine. My education includes a B.S. Kinesiology Penn State, NSCA-CPT and CPR/AED.
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