Hello Pittsburgh and surrounding communities! I’m Jason Rutkowski, a new personal trainer here at the Pittsburgh Fitness Project. I have a passion for helping people pursue a healthy lifestyle through exercise and physical activity. My interest in physical fitness grew out of my participation in sports conditioning programs in my middle and high school years. When I entered college, I continued pursuing physical fitness goals despite no longer participating in organized sports. I wanted to learn more and was fascinated by how the human body adapted to exercise. Eventually, I pursued formal education close to home at the University of Pittsburgh where I earned my master’s degree in Exercise Physiology.
Career Path – My Trainer Journey
My professional experience in the field of fitness and wellness includes human performance, clinical exercise research, community-based fitness and orthopedics. These experiences have helped shape who I am today as a fitness professional. In the human performance (i.e. sports conditioning) setting, I served as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Pittsburgh. I designed and implemented specific training programs for student-athletes participating in Olympic sports such as swimming and track and field. This experience provided many opportunities for me to learn the importance of adapting exercise for persons recovering from injury and to think strategically about modifying programs. In the clinical exercise research environment, I served as a Research Assistant at the University of Virginia (UVA) Exercise Physiology Laboratory for the better part of a decade. At UVA, I ran and monitored graded exercise tests (think Gatorade commercial but with non-athletes) to answer certain research questions about the relationship between fitness level (i.e. exercise capacity) and chronic disease conditions. This is a time in my career when I started to gain a greater appreciation and understanding of the role and impact that exercise could play in the prevention and treatment of lifestyle modifiable diseases (i.e. heart disease) and serving persons with such conditions became more of a passion and interest.
Recent Years to Present
After a better part of a decade in the research environment, I wanted to shift back in the direction of prescribing exercise programs and applying what I had learned over the years to persons with disability and chronic disease conditions as well as generally healthy persons. More recently (2013-2016), I served as a Personal Trainer at the JCC of Greater Pittsburgh where I worked with a variety of clients including seniors, youth competitive athletes and persons with neurological conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis. At the JCC, I also delivered post-rehabilitative exercise programming to help patients transition from clinical care (i.e. physical therapy) to fitness and wellness goals. After a 2 year departure from the fitness field (ask me more!), I recently started my work at the Pittsburgh Fitness Project. I am eager to draw upon my experiences and background to coach, motivate and educate my clients on how exercise and physical activity can help them perform and function at “their” best. Whether you are a seasoned athlete or someone who has never stepped foot into a fitness center before, I am here to serve you. Finally, I strive to be an advocate for health promotion and try to practice regular fitness and wellness in my own life. I believe whole-heartedly that God created our bodies to move and support the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) movement, “Exercise is Medicine”!
If you would like to schedule a free fitness assessment with Jason, please click on the link here: