Use It or Lose It
Personal trainer Ken Miller brings his passion for fitness to Alameda.
Ken Miller says people are happier when they're healthy.
Photo by Chris Duffey
Ken Miller has spent his entire life involved in sports. With a wide range of experience and variety of degrees and certifications under his belt, Miller approaches fitness and athleticism with a specialized scope of practice. He focuses on strength conditioning and injury prevention while teaching exercise fundamentals to last a lifetime. On the brink of opening his own fitness facility in Alameda, Miller is committed to improving the quality of life for both athletes and non-athletes alike.
What drew you to becoming a personal trainer?
I was originally an electrical engineering major in college but changed my course when I discovered the exercise science program. I played sports my whole life, every sport possible, so learning about the science behind the human body operating athletically really spoke to me. After getting my B.S. and M.S. in exercise science, I worked onsite for two corporate wellness programs and managed their health evaluations and health risks for their employees. I set up programs for exercise regimens and coordinated sports leagues and whatever else would help get people in shape and feeling good. My next step was becoming a personal trainer. I worked for a couple fitness chains, working as a fitness manager and personal trainer. Eventually, I worked for a fitness and nutrition company as a regional director and account manager training personal trainers the basics of fitness and exercise, nutrition, and proper supplementation.
Tell me about your work at UC Berkeley.
For four years I was an assistant strength and conditioning coach for several of the Cal sports teams. I eventually took on a role as the middleman between the sports medicine department and other professionals. I coordinated with the athletic trainer, physical therapists and doctors when necessary as well as the strength coaches. I focused on getting the athletes to return to play post-injuries. In this capacity, I was able to apply my corrective exercise experience and my certification in massage therapy to approach the body differently than traditional treatment practice. My background in massage therapy supports my other skills in seeing where people are weak or tight. For proper healing it is so important to approach both of these issues rather than just one as tightness and weakness often play off of one another. My work at Cal was challenging, gratifying, and a lot of fun. When I was there, we made a bowl game every year, and statistically speaking, injury rates of my respective teams went down. Just saying.
Who is your client base now?
I am currently employed as the fitness director at the Marin Country Club where I am mostly focused on golfers who want to have more strength and precision in their game. I also work with the general membership for those interested in weight-loss programs and personal training and for kids who play competitive sports. I’ve recently returned from a clinic in Chicago where I attended a National Pitching Association training seminar. I added to my skill set another level of understanding of the biomechanics of pitching in baseball for players ranging from the Little League level to the MLB. It’s so fascinating, and I’m very excited about the opportunity to help ball players with their pitching.
What else is on your plate?
I am in the process of opening my personal training facility here in Alameda on Clement Avenue. The services will include group training and one-on-one training with independent trainers on site. My plan is to offer high-end movement assessments for athletes of any age. I want to help players of any sport with pre- and off-season conditioning with sports conditioning and sports performance when they are off-season. Too many kids are getting hurt at young ages and not addressing their issues or injuries properly. And the same goes for adults who don’t target whatever it is that’s going on with their body that’s holding them back from doing more. I’d love to see club teams or high school teams come in for alternate methods of training than they are used to doing. Our bodies need to experience different movements to stay balanced and uninjured. Doing the same thing over and over and not mixing things up is never a good thing. My goal is to help people move better who still can and want to from whatever fitness level they’re starting from.
Any other general exercise advice?
People need to play more and by that I really mean move more. Everyone was meant to play, whether playing for competition or playing with grandchildren. It’s instinctual and inherent for us to move. Whether it is because of school, work, career, family, or injuries, people either stop or slow down a lot. And then, unfortunately, when they want to resume activity, their capacity for movement is decreased. If you’re an athlete or someone who just cares about being healthy—and if even if you’re neither—you need to build good habits as early as possible. That said, it’s never too late to start. Good physical habits build capacity and decrease chances of illness. Blood profiles improve, less medication is needed, and money is saved. And perhaps most importantly, people are happier when they’re healthy.
Published online on Jan. 23, 2017 at 8:00 a.m.