Personal Training for a Cause

Posted on 12 October 2012

By Emily J. Weitz

The personal trainers at the Sag Harbor Gym are devoted to increasing the health and wellbeing of clients through fitness. But they are also on a much more daunting mission — to eradicate breast cancer. They’re working towards this goal by donating 30-minute personal training sessions to cancer research all month, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Tahlia Miller, Director of Personal Training at the Sag Harbor Gym, didn’t pursue a career as a personal trainer. It pursued her. As a perpetual athlete, she always kept up with her gym routine, and it wasn’t long before the gym manager asked her if she’d be interested in becoming a personal trainer. With her background in nutrition and her zeal for inspiring others to challenge themselves, it felt like a natural transition.

“I’ve trained like an athlete my whole life,” says Miller, “and now this is something where I can come back and help people who are trying to change their lives.”

Working as a personal trainer is about much more than helping people look good and lose weight for Miller. It’s about helping people to live more healthful lives. One of the key aspects of personal training is identifying the individual needs of the client.

“We have people who come in that are very sedentary,” she says, “and then we have student athletes, and people training to run a marathon. Our sessions are developed depending on the clients’ needs.”

To serve people better, Miller has helped to create small group training sessions, which give the personalized attention of a small session with the affordability of a class.

“We have two-to-six people training with one trainer,” she says. “This is personal training on a semi-group level that’s affordable for everyone. It’s $25 for one session or $199 for 10.”

It’s these small group classes that are being offered as a donation to breast cancer research all month long in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Proceeds will benefit the Coalition for Women’s Cancers at Southampton Hospital and the National Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

“The community of Sag Harbor has struggled a lot with breast cancer,” says Miller. “My brother [also a personal trainer] and I decided this was something we could do.”

Even though Miller has thankfully not had any personal losses to breast cancer in her own family, she is well aware of the statistics on Long Island.

“If we’re going to find a cure,” she says, “it’s something where we have to work from the bottom up. We are donating our half-hour personal training sessions all month to members and non-members. You don’t have to buy a membership to come in and have a training session and donate. We just want to raise as much as we can to help this cause.”

When people are emotionally invested in their workout, Miller says, it ends up being a lot more powerful.

“We had a woman come in whose mother had passed away from breast cancer,” she says. “It meant so much to her to have this session and knowing it was going to research.”

Miller believes that having this philanthropic aspect in personal training bolsters the effects because of the similar emotions that come from both exercise and from giving.

“When you do something good for someone,” she says, “you feel good. When you work out hard in the gym, it’s a similar feeling. You get a huge release from working out with your trainer, but now in the backdrop you know you’re giving something back to someone else. It sets a tone, even if it’s just for that one day.”

This positive tone, Miller says, is contagious. You can feel the generosity of spirit in the gym throughout the month.

In her work, Miller gets back the most when her clients are growing.

“I think all trainers want to see their clients grow and develop and reach their goals,” says Miller. “You spend an hour a day with someone there or four days a week, and you see them break down and hit their max, and you see them surpass their max the next week. It’s a personal investment that a trainer has with each client, and that’s the goal.”

The Hamptons Gym Corp’s Sag Harbor Gym is located on Bay Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call 725-0707 or visit

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