Personal Trainer Of The Month: Chris Kaag

The Marine Corps uses rigorous training principles that can break the best of us. Chris Kaag helps his clients successfully bring that intensity to their own lives!

Name: Chris Kaag
Age: 36
Education/Certification: Bachelor's Degree in Business, Penn State. Group fitness instructor, Level 1 CrossFit
Location: Wyomissing, PA
Number Of Clients: 300
Rates: $125 10-class punch cards OR MONTHLY UNLIMITED $115

When you start to train other people in the ways and means of fitness, you turn every wrench in your athletic toolbox. Sometimes your staple training methods, the ones that earned you your greatest gains, will not help other people. Chris Kaag changed his training principles to fit his clientele, and his own body, which was ravaged by a degenerative nerve condition.

Giving up the golden ticket is a challenge for a trainer, so dropping Marine Corps training was hard for Chris. But the fit life goes on. He changed the way he trains and how he helps others. What emerged was a unique blend of practices that helped him evolve into a modern trainer. See what Chris did to become Personal Trainer of the Month!

Could you tell us a little about your personal and professional background?

I joined the Marine Corps out of high school, which changed my perceptions of what is possible. I started Corps Fitness with the philosophy of exposing people to the motivation and self-realization I experienced in boot camp. I was pushed beyond what I thought was my limit and that redefined what I knew I could accomplish. In 1998 I was diagnosed with a degenerative nerve condition and, as a result of my Marine Corps experience, I only became more determined to make the best of my situation.

When and why did you become a trainer?

My goal with Corps Fitness and the IM ABLE Foundation is to change perceptions and in the process hopefully inspire others to look inside themselves to push forward despite their challenges. Get up and get moving!

What is your training style? What methods do you use?

Class structure is based upon simple yet effective fundamental movement patterns executed at high intensity. These workouts deliver time-tested measurable health and fitness improvements. This technology delivers the most effective broad-based fitness results in the most efficient manner possible.

Do you have examples of success stories from clients using your methods?

Not only have clients experienced dramatic changes in their fitness levels and body composition, but they now have the confidence to take on fitness challenges like triathlons, marathons and adventure races. The mental gains are just as important as the physical. Even the small accomplishments will motivate them to push to the next level!

Who are some of your most notable clients?

Everyone who focuses on those around them—not on themselves, but on the task at hand.

Give us an example diet and training program you put together for your clients.

We've done Paleo and no-sugar challenges that have altered the way people look at their nutrition, translating into a different lifestyle.

What are the most common mistakes you believe a trainer makes?

Not motivating and concentrating too much on what weights people are able to push.

How do you keep your clients motivated?

Military style. Accountability and a team environment.

Do you train a male client differently to a female?


How have your changed your approach to clients over the years of experience?

You have to be able to read people and what they are going through that day. Knowing whether they need a push is key.

Do you prefer to train male or female clients and why?

I prefer both equally, the same, as well as kids.

Do you feel just as much like a psychologist as you do a personal trainer?

Absolutely! My biggest concern is the welfare of my people, because their success is reflected in the success of my business and their word-of-mouth marketing

Why I'm doing what I do ...

"Defining moments" are experiences that have an impact on our souls, and create that moment by which we are defined. How we choose to handle the challenges in our lives reveals more about our personality and character than any other test. Only when someone goes beyond his perceived capabilities, and is forced to dig deep into his soul to find strength, does he have a greater understanding of who he is. At that instant, knowing you are able to exist on a higher level is one of life's most important discoveries. Without this, our true capabilities would never be realized and our lives would be confined to the boundaries and limits we place on ourselves.