By Sarah Steighner
NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. – Kinesiology Instructor Pepsi Umberger teaches a variety of fitness classes at Penn State New Kensington and at her own studio in Robinson. She is also the race director of the university’s upcoming Turkey Trot 5k.
Umberger said she has been involved with fitness since she was about 19-years-old. Around that time, she was hired for a work study job at Kent State in the athletic fitness center. Once hired, she did orientation for new members and showed others how to use the machines. After hearing they were hiring an aerobics instructor, she got trained to be an instructor which then set the ball rolling for her future in fitness.
Umberger is certified in many areas including: group fitness, personal training, kickboxing, spinning, yoga, Pilates, and water aerobics. At Penn State New Kensington, she teaches Introduction to Strength Training, Introduction to Yoga, Fitness and Wellness Theory, Fitness Walking, Physical Conditioning, and Introduction to Kinesiology. In regards to the wide range of fitness that Umberger is involved with, she said that “Fitness is not one size fits all. You have to figure out what motivates you and what you like.”
Out of all these classes, Umberger claimed that Fitness and Wellness Theory is her favorite to instruct because she can teach all kinds of fitness in it. Umberger says that her hopes are for her students in that class to find whatever they like to do fitness-wise and continue to do it.
A current student, Krista Murray, in Umberger’s Yoga class this semester at Penn State New Kensington said “I was a bit skeptical signing up for a Yoga class, but Pepsi makes the class very welcoming and enjoyable.” Meanwhile, Brad Silk, a student who had formerly taken weight training and sports conditioning classes with Umberger stated that “She knows quite a lot of strategies to working out.”
In regards to fitness activities on campus, Umberger noted the upcoming 5k Turkey Trot race. It is to take place on Nov. 9. The race is open to students, family, friends, and pets. Many organizations such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Pounds Turkey Farm, and Five Guys Burgers and Fries are supporting sponsors. All proceeds from the race will be donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Pittsburgh where 90 cents of every dollar goes to actual research.
Umberger eagerly described some of what she thought to be the best parts of participating in a 5k “A race gives you a goal to train for,” she said. “You meet people who are like minded. Everyone comes out and they want to do the best they can. They push each other in a good way. You see people of all shapes, sizes and fitness goals. You see everyone smiling and having a good time with it.”
Along with teaching at Penn State New Kensington, Umberger teaches at her studio in Robinson called Balance Fitness. There she teaches Yoga and Pilates every evening and on the weekends. Meanwhile, she also teaches boot camp five times a week, and water aerobics on Tuesdays.
After explaining that her favorite form of fitness activity was circuit training, Umberger outlined how it was important to know and respect one’s boundaries and limits. She then stated that perhaps one of the best benefits of being in her career field is “that you are constantly moving and active.”