Personal trainer learns to help others through helping himself |

Personal trainer learns to help others through helping himself

Shirley McMarlin
Shirley McMarlin | Tribune-Review
Stuart Urch of Greensburg developed an interest in personal training while seeking relief from lingering pain from old football injuries.
Shirley McMarlin | Tribune-Review
Personal trainer Stuart Urch offers private and group personal training sessions at Urch Training Services in downtown Greensburg.

Sometimes you just have to take things into your own hands.

Stuart Urch of Greensburg learned that lesson while dealing with lingering injuries from playing high school football — and it’s led him into a career as a personal trainer.

The 24-year-old is offering private and group training sessions at Urch Training Services in downtown Greensburg.

A 2013 graduate of Ligonier Valley High School, Urch had developed an interest in fitness early on by watching his mother work out at home and through trips to the Ligonier Valley YMCA with his parents.

He started playing midget football at around age 8 and ended up playing varsity football as a defensive end.

Football is a rough sport at all levels, he acknowledges, and by his junior year he was dealing with nagging pain and physical problems from injuries to his hips and lower back.

A pelvic tilt led to atrophy of his leg and gluteal muscles and sciatica in both hips.

Even though he had interest from college teams, he decided that his football career had to come to an end.

Nothing seemed to help him feel better.

Coming to terms

“(My parents) probably wasted thousands of dollars on physical therapy,” he says. “I got sick and tired of primary care doctors and physical therapists, so I finally decided to give a chiropractor a chance.”

The chiropractor told Urch to lay off the heavy duty weightlifting and to focus instead on stretching, balance training and core strengthening.

“I had to come to terms with my ego a little bit about the weightlifting,” he says, but in the end, he followed the advice — and much to his surprise, it worked.

At the same time, he started reading personal training manuals, in which he says he found “things that doctors never told me,” and decided that what he read made more sense to him than the traditional medical advice he’d received.

He says he became convinced that exercise and healthy eating can relieve many aches and pains without the need for surgery and medications.

Through the National Academy of Sports Medicine, Urch earned certification as a personal trainer and as both a fitness nutrition specialist and corrective exercise specialist.

He started his business in the basement of the building at 112 N. Main St. that until recently housed Connections Cafe. When the cafe closed, he took over the whole building, which is currently undergoing renovations. He offers both private sessions and small group classes.


His clients come for many reasons, he says, from those interested in weight loss or pain relief to those wanting “a big chest and a six-pack or to look hot for the beach.”

The work has been eye-opening, he says.

“People in the U.S. go to one extreme or the other,” he says. “With a lot of people, basic exercise is overlooked. People just want a pill tossed at them. Or they think that, if you don’t leave the gym covered with sweat and your face red or purple, you’re not doing it right.”

For everyone, couch potato or fitness fanatic, Urch offers a few basic tips:

• Pour out the soft drinks and coffee, and drink plenty of water.

• Eat a diet heavy in lean proteins and “things that grow out of the ground.”

• Move for at least 20 or 30 minutes a day. Walking, basic calisthenics, squats and push-ups are a good place to start.

“How fast you can get up off the ground is a good indicator of your quality of life,” he says. “Use it or lose it.”

Details: 724-757-8071 or

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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