by Andrew Garda

Rising Montclair High School senior Doris Zeger loves to work out, design workout programs and do charitable work as well.

This summer, Zeger launched a personal training service in which she donates 20 percent of the earnings to the Montclair Human Needs Pantry a non-profit organization providing food, clothing and other services to people in need who live in Montclair and neighboring communities in Essex County.

“I knew I wanted to do personal training over the summer,” Zeger said during a recent phone call. “I just really like making my own workouts.”

Since personal training prices are often steep, Zeger realized that even if her prices were below market, she could easily donate a portion of her profits.

“Every time I train someone, I take 20 percent [for donations],” she explained. “So, for adults, I take seven dollars out, which is 20 percent of $35 and for kids, 20 percent of 25 is five dollars.”

In the past, Zeger volunteered with an animal shelter where she had adopted her cat, and with Montclair Community Farms, which gets some volunteers from the Urban Farm Youth Program, a division of Rutgers’ 4-H program. The farms produce organic produce that is sold very cheaply to seniors in Montclair and nearby towns.

Zeger said the work of folks at the Community Farms was part of what inspired her to help the Food Pantry.

“A lot of the reason [the farms are] up and running is due to volunteer work,” she said. “They all pore in hours and hours of work every week to keep the gardens running.”

Initially she wanted to work with the Human Needs Food Pantry in person, but was unable to connect with them. Instead, she decided that donating money was the next best thing.

The donation aspect has been one draw for clients, as is her wide ranging background in sports, from soccer to boxing and CrossFit. Most recently she began training to wrestle, and intends to try out for the Montclair wrestling team this winter.

Each sport has a different training regimen, and each regimen has given Zeger new tools to use in training.

At the end of the day, Zeger said all the various training regimens have the same goal in mind.

“Every sport has its own training, but most of them are designed to [make you] strong and fast and quick thinking.”

Zeger’s methodology involves more than just stretching, core and cardio exercises. A long-time vegan, she takes a holistic approach to training. You can’t just do one thing, she said, you have to address your entire life with the proper approach, something that is different for every person.

“The only way to live a healthy lifestyle, in my opinion, is to make it so it works with your life. If it doesn’t, it will either take [your life] over or you won’t do it much.”

Zeger said the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, one which includes exercise, are many.

“Usually adding something like an exercise regimen can lead to other lifestyle changes,” she explained. “Like, it’s going to make you super tired, so hopefully you’ll get better sleep. Also, for kids [especially], the stress and anxiety release of stretching and even just moving a little bit is amazing.”

While Zeger loves designing and leading workouts, she’s not sure she will do physical training as a career.

“I was thinking of doing something more in the education field, or the human sciences field,” she said. “And it’s related to personal training in the sense that I work with people, and I work with kids, so I know how to work with other[s] very well now. So, it could help with a lot of jobs in the public services.”

So far this summer, Zeger has put together $40 to donate from working with her five clients. It might not seem a lot, but every bit counts.

Michael Bruno, executive director of the Human Needs Food Pantry of Montclair and normally the one to have information on donations and donating is on vacation and was unavailable for comment, but administrative assistant Janet Nau said that while she has not met Zeger, any help is welcome.

“It’s an amazing thing when someone does this,” she said. “We greatly appreciate it.”  

Zeger will continue to run her service throughout the final weeks of the summer before returning to being a student full time at MHS, and those interested can reach her via email at or on Instagram by going to @doriszeger.