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Fitness associates take the worry out of getting active

Updated: Feb 5


FAQ with Kreg Kinnaman

If you’re ready to be more active but not quite sure how to start, consider working with a fitness associate at the MNPS Employee Wellness Center. You’ll receive the support and guidance you need to meet your fitness goals.


Kreg Kinnaman, lead fitness associate at the Employee Wellness Center, knows getting started can be a little intimidating, so he answers a few questions about working with a fitness associate.


How do I start?

If you’re interested in working with a fitness associate, you can make an appointment or just stop by the facility. When you arrive, you’ll complete an assessment form that gives us a better understanding of what you want to achieve and whether you’re seeing any other providers here at the wellness center. From there, the associate can make recommendations for you.


If a client is new to exercise, I usually start them on the machines so they can become familiar with how it feels to exercise certain muscles. We start with basic exercises using just body weight or lighter weight on the machines. After several visits, we have a pretty good idea what the client can do, so we can start gearing up the intensity of the exercises if the client is ready.


I’ve tried exercise programs before, but they’ve never worked. How can you help me stick with it and succeed?

If you have large or long-term goals, I like to start with smaller, more achievable goals that can get you to your ultimate one. That way, you can steadily see that progress is being made, which is very satisfying and encourages you to keep up the work.


I tell clients all the time that they might not notice changes as quickly as they’d like because they see themselves every day. Since I keep a log of exercises that I do with clients, I can look back and show them how much progress they’ve made, especially with strength.


I like it when clients have long-term goals because they’re then more accountable to themselves. But it’s easier to show progress through short-term goals so they don’t become discouraged if they don’t see the big results they want right away.


What if I don’t live near the Wellness Center? Can you help me even if the fitness center is not where I will exercise?

Yes. We definitely can help you no matter where you plan to exercise. We just ask that you come to the wellness center a few times so we can work together to establish your goals and ensure that you’re working out safely. Once we’ve done that, we can email workouts to you or answer any questions you have about working out.


I also tell people that if they see or hear about something they want to try but aren’t sure exactly what is, they can ask us about it or stop by so we can work together to figure it out. Or, if they search for the exercise on Google or YouTube, they can usually find a video that will show a demonstration of it. Never skip something just because you don’t know what it is!


I have a past injury. Can you work around that?

Yes, absolutely. When you fill out the fitness assessment form, make sure you list current/past injuries. We use that information when we work with you. If it’s something major, like a recent surgery, always consult your primary care physician before you start any exercise.


If you see a provider here at the wellness center, such as physical therapy or chiropractic, we can talk to your provider personally to understand any limits we need to set for you while you are seeing them.


How many times can I meet with a fitness associate? Is there a limit?

There is no limit to how long you can work with an associate or the number of visits. I, personally, have clients I’ve been working with for 2+ years.


What if you suggest something, like weightlifting or cardio, that I really hate to do?

We’re flexible when we develop your program to ensure that you can meet your goals. For example, I tend to let people choose their cardio/warmup, like walking on a treadmill or on the track upstairs, or biking. Also, if an exercise tends to be painful while doing it, I will make a note and not have you do that exercise until we can find the root of the problem, or we can strengthen the area around it to make it better.


If you just simply hate doing a particular exercise, you might not see it frequently, but it could still be part of your plan. I always tell clients that I will never give them anything I feel like they can’t do. The other thing I tell people a lot is “there is a method to the madness.” We are trying to help you be as healthy as you can be, but sometimes that involves doing things that you don’t necessarily like but that are good for you!


Finding time to work out is always a challenge. Are fitness associates available before or after school?

The fitness center associates are here M-F 5:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m. You can start your day with a workout, or you can unwind here after a long day. Our hours help ensure that you can fit time with us into your weekly schedule.


How much does it cost to work with an associate?

Fitness associate services are available to MNPS employees, retirees and spouses at no cost to you.


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Visit MNPSHealth.org/fitness to learn more.

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