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After hours: passionate about helping others

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Emma Corry
Chase Allen, senior nutrition and wellness major, and Dylan Wagner, a senior exercise science major, smile for a picture at the RFWC.

Every week The Shield will feature a student who is employed by the university. This week, Chase Allen and Dylan Wagner talked about their experience working at the university Recreation, Fitness, and Wellness Center (RFWC). 

Chase Allen is passionate about helping others succeed.

The senior nutrition and wellness major works as a fitness consultant at the Recreation, Fitness and Wellness Center. Allen originally studied nursing before realizing it wasn’t the path he wanted.

“I wanted to figure out what I could do, and I realized I really liked lifting and food,” Allen said. “So I realized I could do something along those lines to help people with things I’m passionate about and help them, still, with their goals.”

Allen transferred to USI from a junior college in fall 2017. His first semester he came to the center to work out. Allen took an exercise class with Program Coordinator Sandi Davis.

“I really enjoyed the class and her,” Allen said. “She always saw me in here. I talked to her about getting a job here because I needed one at the time, and so that’s how I ended up working here.”

As a fitness consultant, Allen sits upstairs or downstairs and assists people who need help. Allen also gives consultations by writing training programs for people who need guidance on where to start.

“I’d never had experience, personally, doing this kind of thing, so I just used my knowledge of working out and things I had done,” Allen said.

Allen started working out about two and a half years ago. He had played baseball and other sports in high school.

“After that was over, I just wanted something to stay competitive with and to keep me active,” Allen said. “And then, I fell in love with lifting.”

Allen likes trying to better himself.

“Every day, it’s a different challenge of trying to be better than the last time or trying to improve from the last week,” Allen said. “And whenever you see results in all the time you’re putting in you see it translate in pictures. And, overall, just feeling better and stronger, it’s really motivating.”

Allen said what stuck out to him from working at the center was building relationships with the people who work there.

“We see each other all the time and, for the most part, the people who work here work out here,” Allen said. “If you’re not working, you’re working out and you create an environment where everybody feels like a family. You get used to seeing people and you build some really good friendships through that.”

Allen wants to use his degree to do fitness consulting in a bigger setting.

“I really enjoy helping people, and it’s cool to see them, especially when you see somebody come who’s never lifted before,” Allen said. “A lot of people start will with us, and after a few months, they start going on their own. It’s just really cool to see people transition like that and the knowledge they gain and the confidence they get from going from not knowing anything to being able to work out on their own is really cool.”

Dylan Wagner, a senior exercise science major, began working at the center his sophomore. Wagner said he already spent a lot of time at the Rec working out. At the center, he met new people and decided to apply for the job.

Wagner started off as a fitness consultant before becoming a student manager after working at the center for about a year. Before he could be a manager, Wagner had to work all the other positions.

As a manager, he makes sure everyone is in their positions, opens and closes the building on weekends, makes sure the other student workers are there on time, files injury reports and deals with the cash register.

The center hires for different positions including consultants, managers, and welcome greeters. Wagner said the consultant position has a higher risk due to the possibility of people getting hurt.

“There are times where people are doing cardio and they go beyond their limits and almost pass out because they don’t know their own limits,” Wagner said.

Along with students workers, the center also hires a professional staff including an opening supervisor and a closing supervisor.

“We’re all really close,” Wagner said. “It’s a lot of team-based stuff, and the professional staff works hand and hand with us.”

Wagner said the staff of the center would come together in an emergency situation.

“It seems like it would be really hectic,” Wagner said. “Thinking back on it, in moments like that when everyone needs to come together it works out with how we’re trained.”

Wagner said working at the center improved his social skills.

“I’ve always been friendly,” Wagner said. “But now, if I see someone doing something wrong, I’ll approach them and help them. Whereas, to start, I would just watch them and analyze what they’re doing wrong.”

Wagner currently does online coaching for nutrition and fitness. He said his time making programs as a consultant helped prepare him to do the same online.

Wagner will graduate at the end of the fall semester. Regarding his time at the center, Wagner said he will take away connections with close friends and the professional staff.

Allen said his time at the center will help him with the experience and knowledge he gained there.

“I’ve been put in situations that have helped me, now, where I can use that information in the future,” Allen said. “I think the overall job and the work experience will help set me up in the future.”

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After hours: passionate about helping others