The benefits of working with a personal trainer are numerous.  Years ago, when I lived in Kentucky, I had the opportunity to work with a trainer one day per week.  It has been a long time, but I recall it being a great experience.

I had a workout partner, Debbie, and we’d meet up Wednesday mornings. Our trainer worked with us to make sure our workouts pushed us, and directly addressed or protected any physical limitations we had. So many of our exercises used no gym equipment at all!  It was mostly free weights and specific exercises that worked select muscle groups with nothing but the resistance provided by our own bodies or gravity.  I swear – the specific gravity around my body is higher than all you skinny people out there!  I’m my own gravity well,  I think!

I can recall seeing myself improve – or rather, FEELING myself improve.  Working with a partner gave me motivation to achieve, and a responsibility to show up.  So many of our exercises depended on the other being there.  But building that sense of team with my workout partner was so important.  There was no judgement, no competitiveness, we both wanted to see each other succeed and worked hard to do our parts!

Monster Trainer

Sierra Harju Last Friday, my friend Sierra Harju led a workout session at Baker Park!  I decided to give it a try.  This was just a public workout for whoever wanted to show up.  Sierra is a personal trainer, and an excellent one!  I was lucky in that it was a cold day, so the turnout was low.  I was able to get a lot of one-on-one time and was immediately reminded of my experience working out with a trainer in KY.  Sierra took the time to talk over my physical limitations, learn where my injury areas might be, and pick exercises that made me work hard in a safe and rewarding way.

Sierra pushed me to improve and for the first time in a long time I really felt like I made serious progress. She showed me a series of exercises that I had never done before.  It was fun doing them and I will certainly be adding them to my workout retinue.

Two exercises that really stood out were calf raises and wall squats. Understand folks, my calf and thigh muscles are my strong suit.  That’s where I have the most muscular development and strength.  Sierra taught me that the calf muscle is made up of three groups and by differentiating the calf raise you can work all three groups.   And the wall squat. OW. My thighs were aching 2 days from that…but so very good for me!  Oh …and she was easy on me that day!


I’ve always been skeptical of gyms.  My experiences have capitalized on some stereotypes and created a vision of these places that isn’t fully accurate.  That narrative tells me that they are mostly places that cater to people that want to be seen at gyms.  There is a vanity and a “look” that many model when they are at gyms.  Normal people, struggling, huffing and puffing, are viewed with skepticism by many of this set.  But that’s not always true.

Despite what impressions our own brains create for us, or better yet, what narratives are driven by our own insecurities, there are people that truly want to see others improve and achieve their goals.  Sierra fits in that category – she wants you to be the best version of yourself that you can be.  I was really lucky to have the opportunity to work out with her and learn some valuable things about myself. If you’re considering using a personal trainer or having someone develop a workout for you, give her a shout.  You’ll be glad you did. Here’s her work contact information:


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