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My First Personal Training Session at Cherry Hill Health & Racquet Club!

Hey guys! So, I’m new to the Cherry Hill Health & Racquet Club, but, hold onto your hats, because you’ll be seeing a lot from me. I promise, that’s a good thing. When I was asked to be one of the newest Cherry Hill Health & Racquet Club bloggers, I was thrilled because I had heard so many good things about the club, but for some reason or another, I had never joined. Those of you that are already members might be thinking “why the heck not?! CHHRC is awesomesauce!” You know what, though? OTHER gyms in South Jersey are NOT always awesomesauce and I’m thinking that my experiences at other places left me hesitant to try another gym. I mean, you can’t blame me, right? I’m sure I’m not the only one. Let’s get a move on, though, because I want to tell you all about how awesome my first “official” experience was at Cherry Hill Health & Racquet Club in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.


My first personal training session was scheduled for a Tuesday morning at 9:30am with Heather Overholt. I had never met her before, but those working in the membership department at the club thought we’d be a good fit, so I trusted them and went with it! Timing was pretty flexible and I certainly appreciated that I could get a session early in the morning. I am not a morning person at all, so you most likely won’t ever see me at a gym at the crack of dawn, but 9:30 was perfect timing for this mom of 2. I could drop my boys off at school and then drive over to CHHRC for my appointment. Score!


When I walked into the gym and scanned my membership card, the person at the front desk greeted me and reminded me of my Personal Training session and told me where I could go to meet Heather. WHAT?! Um. This was a new experience. At other gyms, I considered myself lucky if I received a smile from the person at the front desk. High five, front desk person (whose name I did not catch), you’re awesome!


I walked down to the gym floor to meet Heather at the desk. She greeted me and we chatted a bit about my health and fitness goals and if I had any health issues that could prevent me from doing certain exercises. Over the past year, I’ve lost 40 pounds, so I want to focus on toning my “floppy” areas (my words, not hers!) such as my upper arms and inner thighs. Since I would like to lose more weight, I’m up for fat burning exercises, but I need to take it slow since it has been AWHILE since I’ve been in a gym. As far as health issues, I hurt my lower back when I was a teacher 10+ years ago, so I need to make sure my exercises don’t irritate that. You know what Heather DIDN’T ask me to do? She didn’t ask me to step on a scale or calculate my BMI. I know I am not a tiny person, believe me – I’ve had previous trainers at gyms go on and on about my weight, telling me about all the diseases I could get only to recommend I sign up for their bajillion dollar (*not exactly a bajillion dollars, but you know what I mean) 8-week weightloss challenge. Bottom line: I get that I am not in top condition. That is WHY I am at the gym. I do not need to be reminded of my weight. When I mentioned my weight and calculating to Heather, she told me she’d rather me focus on how I FEEL rather than watching numbers on a scale. Like, buy a pair of jeans in a smaller size and try them on every week or so and feel the difference. You guys, Heather speaks my language! I would much rather focus on the positives, like fitting into a sweet pair of new jeans, than dread stepping on a scale to see if numbers have changed.


Enough on that, though…let’s move onto the workout. Honestly, when I was driving to CHHRC that morning, I wasn’t anticipating actually working out (remember, my previous Personal Training Consultations consisted of me sitting in a chair and being told how fat and out of shape I am), but Heather totally surprised me. Other than the few minutes we spent discussing goals and such, we spent the ENTIRE hour working out, allowing me to get a feel for the various pieces of equipment. First, we went over to the Queenax. I’m pretty comfortable with the typical gym machines, but the Queenax looked freaking intimidating. If I hadn’t been with Heather, I probably would’ve avoided it completely, but Heather took the time to show me a variety of ways in which I can use the Queenax for arm exercises (it can be used for a full body exercise, but we focused on the arms today) and I was pleasantly surprised that this giant piece of equipment wasn’t the beast I expected it to be. It was so easy to adjust pieces for various exercises and, at the end, I even got to sit on the bar and swing!


After the Queenax, I was introduced to a piece of equipment that looked like a sled. With 4 poles coming out from the bottom, weights are placed in the center and then the person (read: me) pushes it for a length while taking giant steps. I felt like a football player at practice – not a bad thing, but I felt like a linebacker pushing the opposing team away from me. Honestly, it was pretty cool and provided way more of a workout than I had expected! After pushing it back and forth 2 times (so, 4 lengths total), I was saying words in my head that would be inappropriate to write. It felt amazing to complete this exercise though and I totally surprised myself. I am definitely planning on incorporating this sled into my workout.


From the sled, we went over to one of the arm machines, got a few reps in, and then I was introduced to the kettlebells. Don’t let these things fool you like they had fooled me before (“what the heck are kettlebells going to do for me?!), these weights mean business! I started out with 40 pound kettlebells and, after doing a few exercises with them, was given two 40 pound kettlebells and told to pick them up and walk for a length like I was walking with groceries. First off, who puts 40 pounds of groceries in 1 grocery bag?! That’s just insanity. Second, I was somehow able to do this without dying (a tad bit of exaggeration there, if you couldn’t tell) and ended up super proud of myself. What was this sorcery?! Somehow, I was at a Personal Training session and was actually feeling good about my abilities?! CHHRC is a magical place, I’m telling you!


From the kettlebells, we went and did some leg exercises on a cushy foam mat. It felt so nice to be able to lay down, but Heather did a great job at making sure I was working my legs at the same time. Before finishing up, I was taught how to do exercises with the ropes.


You guys, at the end of that hour long Personal Training session, I was beat. I wanted nothing more than to crawl up and take a nap in my cozy bed, BUT…I had accomplished WAY more than I had thought my body was capable of. Heather was amazing throughout the entire experience. If I said I needed to stop, we’d stop. She knew that this was out of the norm for me and, while pushing me to do my best, respected that this was a whole new world for me. I was so proud of myself and so exhausted at the same time – crazy, right? My arms legit hurt until Saturday of that week, but it’s all good because it was a “good hurt.” It was an “Elizabeth kicked butt and accomplished more than she thought she could” hurt and I’m not going to complain about that at all!


If you are considering Personal Training, I definitely recommend it! Cherry Hill Health & Racquet Club offers both Personal Training and Team Training and can make sure that you are paired with a Personal Training Staff Member that will be a good fit for you and your goals. If you’re not a member of the Cherry Hill Health & Racquet Club, grab a free 3-day VIP pass  so you can check the place out for yourself. I’ll see you there!


Elizabeth Dukart is a proud born and raised Jersey Girl, wife, and mom of 2 boys.


Created in 2018, Elizabeth owns and publishes South Jersey Family: a free resource allowing local families can enjoy quality time together with the help of a local events & activities calendar, local reviews & recommendations, and more. In addition, Elizabeth helps to empower local women by co-leading the Cherry Hill Believe Inspire Grow Pod through monthly meetings and a Facebook Group


When she’s not busy taking over the world, Elizabeth can be found listening to The Beatles, being silly with her boys, watching movies with family, or searching for deals in the aisles of Target.