Jacob Taskinen has taken his love for exercise to the next level by sharing his passion with others through fitness training.
“Exercise has always been a passion of mine,” he says. “It started out with just enjoying exercise, enjoying being fit, and now it’s transferred into loving to be healthy and wanting to help other people get healthy.”
As a senior majoring in Kinesiology with an option in fitness and nutrition, he’s using the knowledge he gains in class in the gym. He currently teaches body pump, body blitz and core classes at Dixon Recreation Center.
“I love it because you get to interact with a lot of different people,” he says. “Making the workouts fun for them is what I try to do, and I try to get a good workout while having a good time.”
Since the body pump class is pre-choreographed, Taskinen says it allows him more time to be himself while instructing the class.
“I know what’s coming next so I try to focus on making good eye contact and just leading people through a fun workout while making sure they’re doing it safely,” he says.
While safety is a top priority during his classes, he also focuses on making sure his participants are getting the workout they want.
“My favorite part about teaching classes is just interacting with people, seeing them have fun while they do it, and helping them along toward their goals,” he says. “They come in there to have a good workout, get fit, have fun, and I like to be a part of that.”
And the fun starts with the instructor.
“I enjoy what I’m doing so I try to elude to that with my personality, having a smile on my face and having fun with it,” he says. “It helps me get through the workout, and it helps everyone else. “
Taskinen’s fitness instruction isn’t limited to group classes, he is also a personal trainer. Because there’s more one-on-one interaction with personal training, he’s able to formulate a program based on each individual’s needs.
“You really get to talk individually about their goal and then how we can get there and how I can help,” he says. “Then you spend time working out with them, one-on-one, set by set, rep by rep, and you make sure they’re breathing and their posture’s good, and then you build a really good rapport with people, which is a lot of fun.”
When he’s in the classroom, studying exercise and sport science has helped prepare him to be an instructor and personal trainer by setting a baseline.
“There’s certain baseline knowledge that you need to know, and then after that it’s just doing it to get good, and you need practical experience,” he says. “I definitely encourage people to get that practical experience as soon as possible.”
After graduating, he hopes to be accepted into a graduate program at Oregon State. He would like to focus on exercise physiology to better understand how exercise affects the body and how that can be translated into helping people with chronic diseases.
“I really enjoy what I’m doing right now as far as teaching classes, personal training and spending a lot of time with participants,” he says. “I’m going to continue to do that, and I hope to see more and more people in our classes having fun and getting healthy with us.”