This month, Fairfield University Recreation sent a campus-wide email underscoring their opportunity for free personal training for all undergraduate students at the RecPlex. The email emphasizes the accumulation of a safe and effective workout regime and highlights the Accuniq Body Composition Machine as an additional student resource.

According to Assistant Director of Fitness and Programming Betsy Blagys, the RecPlex has offered undergraduate personal training for nearly four or five years, with a rotating number of student trainers. Currently, three student trainers are offering sessions: Julia Tomcho ‘25 and Leo O’Brien ‘25, who are both certified by National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), and Brian Scott ‘25, who is certified by National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT). A fourth trainer, Tom Balestracci, works strictly with university staff and faculty.

NASM and NFPT are both nationally recognized organizations for individuals to receive professional certifications in personal training. 

Blagys attests that personal training supports the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, and that people may consult personal trainers for a variety of reasons. “Consulting with a trainer and working one-on-one can really set someone up for success,” she explained. “We also have students who work out quite a bit but have hit a slump [or] plateau with their fitness level. Working with a trainer can also get someone to the next level of their fitness journey.”

She added that engaging in personal training can be a “great place to start” for individuals foreign to the fitness world.

An agreement to Blagys statement was extended by Tomcho, who believes that personal training assists students in building and maintaining healthy habits as well as prioritizing self-care. 

“Free personal training is especially important for college students because our demanding schedules make it difficult to live an active lifestyle, and the stress of juggling all of our responsibilities takes a physical, mental, and emotional toll,” she remarked.

Following her statement on personal health, Tomcho relayed that the opportunity for free personal training at Fairfield University erases a financial barrier for university students, “ensuring that all students have equal access to resources for enhancing their fitness and well-being.”

Students interested in this opportunity should reach out to Blagys at From this initial outreach, the assistant director assigns individuals to student trainers based on trainer availability. A free consultation and three free training sessions are granted to first-time students; a $10 cost is applied to future sessions.

“Since our trainers are also students, they need to balance their school work and personal life with their availability to take on clients,” stated Blagys. “We have been very fortunate that no request has been denied.”

Tomcho explained that her personal training sessions vary based on factors such as client goals and lifestyle and prior or current injuries. Her training approach is customized for distinct, individual needs. Still, a majority of her clients seek improvement with weight lifting, in which Tomcho introduces students to different exercises and teaches them how to correctly perform those exercises as well as use exercise machines.

“I first got into fitness during the COVID lockdown as a way to fill the time and I fell in love with it,” Tomcho said. Since then, the gym has remained a consistent part of her life. She received her PT certification through NASM in November 2022, and has been a personal trainer at the RecPlex for over a year now.

“[The gym] has improved my health and quality of life tenfold,” she affirmed. “I knew that I wanted to help others do the same.”

Along with training sessions, the Accuniq Body Composition Analyzer machine is open to any students in the RecPlex’s main office suite, regardless of whether they are seeing a personal trainer or not. This resource can be utilized by contacting Danielle Anderson, Coordinator of Memberships and Operations, at

The concept around implementing these resources emerged after RecPlex members and students approached RecPlex staff in search of personal training opportunities. Around the same time, Blagys noted that she met two students who were certified personal trainers and were interested in related work: Alex Lytle, BS ‘21, MS ‘23 and Josue De Los Santos, BS ’23.

With collaborative suggestions between students, trainers and staff, the program was born. 

 Tomcho shared her undeniable enthusiasm and gratitude for her ability to offer personal training to students on campus. “Being a personal trainer at the RecPlex has truly been one of the best parts of my college experience,” she declared. “I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many new people, and it’s so fulfilling to watch them gain confidence, energy, and healthy habits. 

“It’s a very rewarding job, and I’m forever grateful for it.” 

This semester, Tomcho has embarked on teaching a new, group workout class called “Intro to Strength.” Held on Tuesday nights from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Thursday nights from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., the class is designed to teach students the basics of weight training. Tomcho continued that each of her group blocks runs for five weeks, and cautioned that her block commencing after Spring Break bears limited spots. Interested students can reach out to her at

In addition to Tomcho’s latest initiative, the RecPlex envisions more student trainers in their future. Blagys confirms efforts of the RecPlex to get information out to students and the campus community, and encourages any certified personal trainers or those interested in earning a professional certification to reach out to herself: 

“Increasing your personal fitness levels, getting out of a comfort zone and trying something new, feeling supported and making healthy decisions are all something the Recplex staff and personal trainers can assist with,” she reflected.

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