Fit Body, Sharp Mind
FitBody Personal Training produces results through customized fitness routines for a diverse roster of clients
by Sharon A. Shaw

Fitness is critical to our health, mobility and well-being, and yet just as no two bodies are alike, neither are two people’s fitness needs. Carolyn Grashof of FitBody Personal Training LLC works with clients from a wide variety of ages and abilities whose goals are equally diverse. To accommodate this range of needs, FitBody Personal Training offers both group classes and in-home personal training.

Grashof says she has always had a passion for exercise. She began teaching aerobics during college and became certified as a personal trainer by the American Council on Exercise in order to help individuals focus on their personal goals. “To see their results is very rewarding,” she says.  She begins each relationship by asking clients about their general health, diet, cosmetic concerns and fitness goals and then assesses their current flexibility, strength and cardiovascular condition. Based on that information, Grashof develops a balanced overall program.

“It all depends upon the clients goals and how they want to reach them,” she says. “I can customize routines based on what the client’s needs are. A trainer cannot do a cookie-cutter program—throw you on a treadmill, for example—and expect you to lose weight.” To help her personal training clients reach these goals, Grashof utilizes a variety of means, including cardiovascular activities, weights and equipment, as well as new exercises that she has learned through continuing education. “I try to incorporate fun into anything I do,” she says. “When you get bored, you lose interest.” Changing activities and even intensity levels, she has found, also helps improve results.

“I am pretty creative,” she adds. “I can work in any kind of space.” To do this she brings small equipment to the client’s home, incorporates exercises that use the person’s own body weight, makes use of any existing equipment and even takes clients outdoors for activities. “I see what they have and what they need. I may recommend some clients buy small affordable items such as hand weights, tubes or an exercise ball. Others have a huge basement and have bought equipment but do not know how to use it.”

Nancy Greytok is one such client. “I have a gym downstairs with several machines,” she says. “But do I go down there every day? No.” Greytok is an active senior citizen who participates with a walking group each morning, but she credits her eight-year relationship with FitBody Personal Training for helping her maintain that ability. “I had a double knee replacement,” she says. “Carolyn worked with me to help me keep in shape. She helped me with my recovery and she works with me to bolster my knees. I credit her with keeping my knees in shape.” Grashof adds that the routine is done with the approval of Greytok’s doctor, who says he would not have performed the surgery if she had not been in such good shape.

Greytok’s goal is to retain her health and mobility but says the workouts also help keep her mind sharp. “When Carolyn leaves I am set for the day, I have a better attitude, my head is clearer,” she says. Grashof notes that exercise releases endorphins that improve mood, but it can also assist with organ function, muscle tone, weight loss, cholesterol levels and other medical conditions. “Longevity is what you want to live a healthy lifestyle as you get older,” Grashof says.

The women work together twice a week on flexibility, balance and strength, modifying the movements as needed. “I practice safety over extreme,” Grashof says. “If a client has hip or knee or lower-back issues I will modify the movement for them. Once their core gets stronger there is more they can do. If you can’t jump, you don’t have to. We can substitute a low-impact version. I want you to have a good workout without injury.”

Grashof also provides her clients with “homework” to improve their results. “We focus on specific things and make a program they can do on their own.” She says that while some of her clients are committed to working out on their own, “many do not do it unless I am there.” For these individuals, having a personal trainer come to their home can be an essential ingredient to their success.

“For years I worked in a gym,” Grashof says. “People used to call and cancel, but if we make an appointment at their own home they feel more accountable.” She adds that many people prefer to exercise in their own home where they don't feel judged. For others having a trainer come to their home means they do not have to go back out after a long day. While many mothers refer to it as time for themselves, remaining at home allows them to be accessible to their children if needed.

Grashof, herself a busy mother of three, understands these pressures. Carolyn’s Boot Camp came about, in part, from Grashof’s own need to incorporate more exercise into her life. “When I am coaching I am not doing,” she says. “I do not get my workout.” At her clients’ urging she decided to offer a group class three times a week. “Clients know they will get a good workout, and if they attend steadily they will see results. It is a good complement to their program.”

While the term “boot camp” is used to describe many types of classes, Carolyn’s Boot Camp is not dirty. “We use body weight, not sandbags,” she says. “Instead of flipping tires, we work with partners. It is a very social class that is energizing and makes for a fast hour. We have a lot of fun and good energy so people want to come back.”

Grashof also engages in horseback riding, a hobby she took up to assist one of her clients with specific goals. Angie Bean, a dressage rider and instructor for Straightforward Dressage, contacted FitBody Personal Training when she began to experience some discomfort while riding. “I had tried several trainers before Carolyn, and the others all wanted me to fit into their program,” Bean says. “Carolyn took the time to learn what I was looking for and has created something that really helps me.” She was impressed that Grashof got up on a dressage horse so she could identify areas of the body that Bean needed to strengthen and created specific exercises for her needs.  

Bean says she has noticed her arms and waist taking on a more definition but more importantly, she feels a difference while riding. “My balance has improved dramatically and I stay with the horse’s movement better,” she says.

Grashof has since created a program especially for equestrians that is held at Bean’s farm. “I can tell which of my students participate in it,” Bean says. “General fitness makes riding better, and this kind of specialized program, focusing on balance and core, really makes riders better. All sports cross-train nowadays, and riding is no exception.”

According to Grashof, success is all about offering a customizable approach to a fitness routine. FitBody Personal Training offers its clients just such an approach with the convenience of group fitness and personal training developed for their diverse needs to produce results.

FitBody Personal Training LLC
610-209-8047 |
Serving Phoenixville, Kimberton, Exton, Chester Springs, Malvern and Wayne, as well as various other sections of Chester and Delaware counties

Photography by Jody Robinson