The path that led me down the road to becoming a fitness professional started when I decided to try out for cross country in 6th grade. I can remember seeing my childhood best friend, Brandon (who was the same age but a grade ahead of me), way up ahead and there was no chance of me catching him. I thought to myself; how can he be so much better than me when we live almost the exact same life? It was not an instant love with running that I had, and to this day I still struggle to say that running itself is what I truly love about distance running.
The Power of Coaching
Brandon’s dad was the middle school cross country coach and I was the only 6th grader on the team. This is where my fascination with coaching began. That season I had to go to practice with the older kids and get my butt kicked… Day in and day out, by every single kid. It would have been very easy for me to quit and believe I’d never run fast. What really kept me mentally alive though was Brandon’s dad reinforcing to me that running at such a young age was going to pay off someday. It can be pretty tough for a kid that age to have the foresight to understand such lessons, so it was his belief and positivity that allowed me to stick it out.
I always had a high level of intrinsic motivation to work hard and catch those kids running ahead of me. That work ethic was always a sense of pride for me. I now realize that intrinsic motivation can only take you so far and that a great, caring coach is what gets you to new levels. What I admired about all the amazing coaches I had through high school and college was not their knowledge. A knowledgeable coach, to me, was useless if they didn’t make me believe in what I was capable of.
My life as a trainer began after a decorated college career as a distance runner. I don’t often credit myself for my running success because it has been all of the coaches throughout my career and their belief in me that pushed me over the top. That is what I always bring to the table in my career as a trainer; a belief and understanding in my client’s goals and abilities.
What His Clients Say
My family met Jake a little over three years ago at a PFP Vegan Boot Camp event. I was in a dark place with my mental health and was looking to find ways to start truly taking care of myself again. I had decided I eventually wanted to go primarily plant-based and get into a place of actually loving myself and my body. He helped guide us all – me, a 23-year-old girl and my mid-50s parents – through a HIIT workout. It was the first HIIT/circuit class I had been to post-college, and I still remember swinging a hammer to a tire thinking, “Wait, I actually like this…”
You see, I used to be a gym hopper, not ever fully sure of what I actually liked when it came to training. I grew up as a competitive dancer and played softball, so you could say I’ve been active my entire life. When I went to college, I still was dancing, but not in the same capacity I was before. And since dance had really been the only way I ever worked out, I didn’t really know what I was doing in the gym. I tried a number of different classes, home workouts, and methods of working out. First, I learned the basics of lifting and tried a few “female only” lifting classes. I would sweat my brains out in spin classes. And I even tried to teach myself to become a runner (to this day, I still am not!). As a new graduate, I moved back home, completely unsure of what to do next and unfortunately (though what I think is a blessing now), was knee-deep struggling with an eating disorder/over-exercising tendencies.
From CrossFit to Personal Training
I was getting help with my mental health and joined a CrossFit gym with my dad, thinking this was a good way to combine the things I liked in my fitness journey. Lifting made me feel strong (strong = confidence!). I got to indulge in handstands and gymnastic tricks (things that make me really happy). And the cardio was more than enough to challenge me. But something still didn’t feel right. Maybe it was the combination of my ED/mental illness brain with the competitive nature of CrossFit that did me more harm than good. Or maybe I didn’t actually thrive in a group setting, as I was always trying to make sure my form was correct and I was doing everything right and often got lost in my own head.
Skipping to a few months after the boot camp, I had been going to PFP classes pretty regularly. At first, I, and sometimes my mom would go to Tabata classes with the trainer who ran the Vegan Boot Camp event. But the trainer schedules ended up switching, and soon Jake was the one consistently running that evening Tabata class. I had remembered him from the event and five minutes into the class remembered how much calmer of a presence he had vs any other trainer I had worked with. He was motivating, but he wasn’t aggressive about it. He didn’t push anyone further than what they felt they could do, but rather he met them where they were. That wasn’t something I had encountered before. And not too long after he had taken over the Tabata classes, I moved into personal training with him.
Find a Trainer You Jive With
I can honestly say training with Jake has been one of the best experiences and he is part of the reason I’m at this place of self-acceptance. Not once has he ever tried to push a certain training methodology on me. Nor has he ever judged me or made me feel terrible when I’ve had to cancel a session or took breaks off of training. We’ve done training sessions together. He’s changed up the scenery and has had me train at Schenley Park. He’s been there as I’ve gone through some rough spots in my mental health, not just as a trainer but rather as a true friend. There were days he would come in with a training plan, but due to where I was at that day, he would throw the plan out the window and come up with something new in the moment. He’s indulged me in wanting to add gymnastics back into my training, has helped me feel confident for friends’ weddings, and never fails to make me laugh during a session. A combination of all these things and more (**cough cough results and feeling confident in my own skin**) is the reason I’ve been the most consistent with training now than I have ever been in my life.
Oh, and I should probably mention he really knows his stuff. While he does have his silly moments, you’d be remiss to underestimate his knowledge of the body or how it operates. I love the fact he has a session with me and we train one way and then he can have a session with my parents later and train them in a different way that works for them. It’s been really cool to be able to talk at family gatherings or when we go out to eat about “What Jake made us do this week” and compare how we go about similar exercises. And in an unintentional way, Jake has actually helped make our family relationship stronger – not exactly a side effect anyone would think would come out of personal training.
– Kelly Gallagher: PFP Client since 2016
Train with Jake
While Jake is the running expert at PFP, don’t feel that you need to be a runner to train with him. Jake has expertise in a number of areas. But most important to note is that he has a gift in working with older clients who suffer from movement and mobility issues. If you think Jake could also be a great fit for you, contact him today!
JAKE BOYER: PFP Trainer
BS, ACSM, EP-C
Jake is certified through the American College of Sports Medicine as an Exercise Physiologist and has a Bachelor’s of Science in Exercise Science.