Personal Trainers

Ben Wilson


Hi, my name is Ben Wilson.  I grew up in Sawmills, North Carolina, which is about 45 min from Boone.  I graduated from Appalachian State University in 2016 with a major in Recreation Management, and a minor in Exercise Science. I was certified as a personal trainer through The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).  I have taught many of the classes at Health Promotion for Faculty and Staff, including H.I.I.T, Strong Women, Kettle Bell, Core Conditioning, and TRX.  I have worked with all kinds of people of different ages, with different goals, and with different injuries.  An interesting fact about me is that I lost 80 pounds in my senior year of high school.  I was overweight most of my life until that point, but I decided to change myself for the better.  This weight loss, along with taking a weightlifting class in community college set me on the path of health and fitness for a field of study. I have been on all sides of the spectrum (losing weight and gaining weight) and would love to help you with whatever fitness goal you may have! 

Ben’s Recommended Sites

  • AthlenX is great. He talks about the body and how the workouts affect it. He has a lot of workouts. I have even seen him bring out an anatomical skeleton before for example. He trains some big name clients as well.

Seth Pruitt


My name is Seth Pruitt and I am an Appalachian State Alumni with a bachelors of science in health and exercise science. I am also nationally certified as a personal trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine. I have been with HP since Fall 2017 when I started as an intern, moved to a weight room attendant and now a personal trainer since Spring 2019. I have experience training a wide variety of demographics with varying fitness levels. I am from Franklin, NC so I have been in the mountains my whole life. I love Boone and plan to stick around for the foreseeable future. When I am not in the gym, some of the things I like to do include watching movies, hiking, playing basketball, and occasionally snowboarding. 

Recommended sites

  •  Home Gym Build: This is a relatively new blog that I have been using to find descriptions of proper form for my less experienced clients. It has several videos from Scott Herman fitness and even includes a step-by-step of how to build a deadlift platform in your home. I thought this might be a useful resource specifically for people who are working out at home, and as it turns out, most everyone is at this time!

  •  Healthline:  Healthline is where I get most of my news as it pertains to health trends and world wide wellness. I had not actually been on their website until doing this little project because my experience with Healthline is exclusively on Twitter (Since I am on Twitter a lot.) But after looking through the website, there is a lot more going on than I thought. They have articles on a majority of health concerns; MS, diabetes, etc. They also have a lot of really helpful tools including a symptom checker which seems to be a lot more accurate than others like pubMed.

  • Barben :  I was a little hesitant to include BarBend on this list because it is mainly tailored towards advanced lifters and athletes but there are a lot of people in the Appalachian community who fall under that category. This website has a wide variety of resources from proper lifting form to the good, the bad, and ugly of a lot of popular diets. There is also a BarBend podcast where they bring on powerlifters and health professionals from around the world to talk weightlifting. 

Anna Duke


My name is Anna Duke and I'm a senior Nutrition major from Raleigh, NC. I am certified in Personal Training through NASM. Working out is a huge part of my life and I am a trainer because I want to share my passion for fitness and help people develop their own passion for fitness. In my own time, I train Olympic Lifts, Strength Lifts, and CrossFit. 

Recommended sites

  • My favorite site for workouts is Comptrain. They have a free workout of the day that they post every day, and then right now they have a page for home workouts where they post a home workout every day and they post a workout for equipment and no equipment.

  • Another site I like is Catalyst athletics for anyone who is interested in Olympic weightlifting. There are a lot of good videos and articles.

  • For recipes, I like Budget Bytes. It's mostly healthy recipes that are very budget-friendly, which is especially important for times like these.

Lydia Hughes


Hi, my name is Lydia Hughes! I am an Exercise Science student who is hoping to obtain  certification to practice Occupational Therapy after college. My home is in Winston-Salem, NC, but I am originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan. I became a Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer because I love exercising and I want to share that with others in a positive and encouraging way. I am CPR and First Aid Certified, and I also teach Group Fitness Classes for Appalachian’s UREC. One fun fact about me is that I attended a nature school as a child and we built a canoe from natural materials.

Recommended sites

  • Fitness Blender -

    • Easy to navigate and follow exercises. Lots of ideas for inspiration for workouts of any kind. You can customize what you want from your workout and they provide video demonstrations.

    • Both creators of the workouts have worked in the fitness industry since the 2000’s

  • Mr. and Mrs. Muscle -

    • Fun/creative HIIT inspired exercises. They switch it up and provide exercises that are fun and challenging. Super helpful for when creating at-home workouts because they typically do not require much equipment. 

    • Vivviane Addo graduated with a degree in sports science and she has been a personal trainer for years. She and her husband opened up a company to train clients and share workouts.

  • Natalie Jill Fitness -

    • More awesome at-home workouts that can be completed quickly! Some options that do not require a lot of equipment. Very helpful for this time of quarantine.

    • Natalie Jill is a professional fitness instructor and has a bachelor’s degree in Health and Human Performance and is a Licensed Master Sports Nutritionist and Functional Fitness Trainer

Nate Olson


Ever since I was a kid I have always liked athletics and just being active in general. This led me to playing three sports in high school (football, basketball, and baseball), discovering the benefits of weight training, and graduating with a Bachelors in Sport and Exercise Science from the University of Northern Colorado in 2014. I have been a trainer since 2013 and have worked with a wide range of clientele from young athletes to elderly populations. I have been a trainer with Health Promotions since August 2018 while also getting my Masters in Exercise Science with a Strength and Conditioning emphasis here at App State. I love being a trainer because of my passion for health and fitness and I desire to help people lead a stronger and healthier lifestyle

Recommended sites

  • This is a website that has articles on many different topics in regards to health and fitness. Most of their material is science-based and they are great for all populations (weight loss, athletics, strength training, muscle growth etc). 

  • Specific authors I love to follow are Dr. John Rusin, Christian Thibaudeau, Joel Seedman, Lee Boyce, and Chris Shugart. Another of my favorites is the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, which is where we get all of our research. 

  • I like, which is great if you want to read on bodybuilding training methods, but my favorite author from there is Jim Stoppani.  

Sera Denlea 


 My name is Sera Denlea, and this is my final semester as a student at Appalachian State University. I am an undergraduate studying Exercise Science with a minor in Nutrition. I am originally from Burbank, CA, but I have lived a majority of my life in Charlotte, NC. My passion lies in integrative medicine with an approach that treats an individual with the consideration of both the mind and the body. I want to be a personal trainer because I am passionate about healthy living for longevity, and I enjoy helping others reach their goals of healthy living and feeling their best inside and out. I also enjoy teaching group exercise classes, which is where my original experiences in the fitness environment began! A fun fact about myself is that I lived in Arequipa, Peru for a month and a half teaching English two summers ago to elementary school aged children.


  • Whenever I want to do yoga in my own time, I like to follow flows done by Yoga with Adriene. I enjoy her grounding, real message that she incorporates in her practice and she caters to all everyday people which is fantastic and accommodating to anyone who is interested in incorporating more yoga into their routine. Yoga with Adriene.  & 

  • The Minimalist Baker. For those who do not have a lot of ingredients or time to cook with a busy lifestyle, the minimalist baker may have recipes for you to try. It is a great way to incorporate healthier eating by preparing real food. All of the recipes fall into at least one of the categories of 30 minutes or less, 1 bowl, or 10 ingredients or less. Also, if one is searching for a meal that is plant-based, this website has a lot of recipes that cater to that! 

  • FitMenCook. Kevin Curry is the creator of FitMenCook and has a variety of recipes that are full of flavor and fun. Who ever thought healthy cooking is bland and boring?! He caters to all kinds of eaters, from onmivores to vegetarians to vegans. His balanced message emphasizes how healthy eating plays a huge role in reaching one's goals of achieving healthy living.