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The City Journals

Local fitness guru Ryan Carver wins Trainer of the Month award from national magazine

Apr 15, 2019 10:50AM ● By Heather Lawrence

Ryan Carver works with client Steven Fisher. Carver is on a mission to bring health through exercise to the aging population. (Photo courtesy Ryan Carver)

By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]

Ryan Carver has something most gyms don’t: septuagenarians enjoying their retirement in improved health. Carver has found his niche giving his mostly senior clientele a dose of exercise, the most powerful medicine he knows. 

Carver works for Leverage Fitness Solutions, a gym located on the border of Cottonwood Heights and Sandy. He was surprised to find out he’d been named Personal Fitness Professional magazine’s Trainer of the Month in the January/February 2019 edition. “I’ve written articles that were picked up by the magazine. I filled out the application for the award, but didn’t really think I’d win,” Carver said. 

Heidi Campo, one of his colleagues at Leverage, wasn’t surprised. “I was very happy for him because I thought he deserved it. He’s dedicated to learning, to betterment of himself and his clients,” Campo said.

Campo started working with Carver after she heard him at a speaking engagement. “He’s nationally recognized in our field. We really see people’s lives change. The strength they gain is a testament to the exercise lifestyle,” said Campo.

She described how one of her clients came in and all he could do was “the Kmart shuffle — it’s where you lean on the cart and kind of shuffle along. But the stronger they get, the more life they get back,” Campo said. 

Carver said his career really found him. “I graduated from the University of Utah and was working as a strength coach. I thought I’d work with athletes as a career. It’s a tough field to get hired in, so I started personal training on the side,” said Carver. 

Then something happened: he got clients. And they followed a certain demographic. 

“We serve retirees and empty nesters. And we’re on a crusade and a mission. We’re working with people who are on medications and have complicated medical histories. This demographic is the most challenging, and I love the challenge. It’s like a puzzle,” Carver said. 

Cody Lockling is the associate director of Sports Performance for Olympic Sports at the University of Utah and has known Carver for years. “I’m impressed by his motivation to learn. The longer people are in the field the more complacent they get. He finds ways of staying hungry to learn every day,” Lockling said. 

One of Carver’s requirements for his trainers is education. They all hold certifications that require a four-year college degree. 

Client Darren Young said working with Carver has made a difference. “I’ve been with him four years. The biggest reason I went was to get my strength back. He helped me lose the last 15 pounds and I’ve never been healthier. It’s something I needed. I need someone to report to,” Young said. 

Another client, Stephen Fisher, was a runner his whole life, but thought he needed to stop when he got a herniated disc. Carver got him back into running again the right way. 

“He’s helped me build my core so my back doesn’t hurt the way it used to. I’m back into running again this year. I wish I’d met someone like him 30 years ago. I would have been smarter about a lot of the things I’d tried to do,” Fisher said. 

“Ryan definitely deserves this award. I heard about him by word of mouth, and didn’t think I needed a trainer. I’m pretty skeptical, but he really tailored a program just for me, and I’m sold,” Fisher said. 

Carver said exercise is for everyone, especially as they age. “People wait for retirement their whole lives. To get there and not be in good health is a kick in the pants. These people come to me not because they want beach bodies; that’s so fleeting. They are in it for the long haul. They want to improve their lives, and it’s so inspiring,” said Carver. 

Personal Fitness Professional magazine is an industry magazine that’s published every other month throughout the United States and Canada. Since Carver has won a Trainer of the Month award, he is now eligible to win the 2019 Trainer of the Year award. 

The online version of the article can be found at www.fit-pro.com