In This Section:

  • Walk Before You Run | Developing Basic Locomotor Skills

    Leo Totten | Jul 17, 2018

    LTAD Leo Totten
    Long Term Athletic Development (LTAD) Paraphrased:  Coaches should be cognizant of the principles and train their athletes accordingly.  Again, basics first – walk before you run.

    Certifications are awesome!  They certainly serve a purpose of continuing education and constant growth for professionals.  However, it is one thing to know the material but can you actually teach it?  Do you have the knowledge of the teaching methods to actually get the point across to the students?  Bridging the gap between the academic and the practical is essential but doesn’t often happen, particularly in the more “academic” of certifications.

    One of the problems that we in the U.S. face is the lack of coaching/teaching education.  Everyone gets the knowledge to get the letters after their name, but it is difficult to find programs that actually show you how to break it down and teach it.

    That being said, it is important to get back to the beginning.  Where do we start?  If you check out YouTube you will find the latest, greatest videos of what the best in the world are doing or should be doing.  But do they really get to the basics of how to teach the concepts you see?

    “…we are responsible for getting kids caught up with the basic skills that they have sorely missed in their upbringing."


    For coaches, the concept of “walk before you run” is a pretty effective way to go.  Teach the basics before trying to have your students do the more advanced stuff.  In all fairness, the coaches are not all at fault for the need for immediate gratification that most of us are used to, and have the tendency to just skip right to the more advanced skills. 

    The problem goes back as early as training and educating our youth.  How many elementary physical education classes have gone by the wayside?  How often do you see sport coaches pushing their young athletes to compete year-round and specialize way too early?  Heck, for that matter, how many times do you see kids sitting inside playing on their video games rather than being outside playing?

    Having taught high school physical education and weight training for many years, it was frustrating to ask the kids to do a simple “power skip” down the gym for a dynamic warmup and a handful of the students didn’t know how to skip!  Forget trying to do anything more advanced when they didn’t even know the basics.

    Unfortunately, with our education system deleting physical education programs, these basic skills are not being taught.  It is being left up to the “professionals” who are certified as coaches and trainers to catch up with skill development that should have been covered long ago.  But, is your academic background preparing you to go out and teach what you are learning from those certifications?  Can you “bridge the gap” between the knowledge and the practical application.

    To paraphrase some of the concepts of LTAD (Long Term Athletic Development), coaches should be cognizant of the principles and train their athletes accordingly.  (Again, basics first – walk before you run). 

    For example:

                    FUNdamental Stage:   Males age 6-9 / Females age 6-8

    • Basic overall sports skills leading to physical literacy
    • Introduced through fun and games
    • Developmental progression of fundamental movements and skills
      • Fundamental locomotor movement
      • Speed and agility
      • Strength and power
      • Endurance
      • Balance and stability
      • Body control
      • Object control

                    Learning to Train Stage:   Males age 9-12 / Females age 8-11

    • Further develop all fundamental movement skills and teach general, overall sports skills.
    • Further develop endurance, flexibility, speed and change of direction
    • Develop strength with bodyweight exercises as well as medicine balls and swiss balls
    • Structure competition to address differences in training age and ability
    • Ratio of 70% training to 30% competition
    • Still continue to encourage unstructured play

    The reasoning behind showing this general information on the LTAD strategies is to let our certified professionals know that there is more to be done than just learning the science or the academics behind training.  It is to reiterate to professionals in the field that we are responsible for getting kids caught up with the basic skills that they have sorely missed in their upbringing.  And, even more importantly, getting our professionals caught up on the basic teaching skills that they have been missing in their educational “upbringing”.

    Stay tuned for more detailed information in later blogs on some of the strategies to make these basic skills teachable.

    Leo Totten 2018
    Bio: Coach Leo Totten MS, USAW 5
    He is a Senior International Weightlifting Coach (USAW 5), and has been named as one of 65 Most Influential Strength Coaches of All Time. Coach Totten has been inducted into the USA Weightlifting Hall of Fame, and is the Head Coach for the East Coast Gold Weightlifting Team, with 20 time National Team Champions. He is the owner of Totten Training Systems, LLC  2012-current, and  Director of Strategic Outreach for Elite Sports University.

  • Postprandial Exercise and Glucose Regulation for Type II Diabetics: Considerations for ACSM Guidelines

    | Jun 29, 2018

    Diabetes Review
    The prevalence of Type II Diabetes (T2D) continues to rise globally, and particularly in Western nations (1).  Without proper treatment, T2D may lead to cardiovascular diseases, neuropathy, kidney failure, and death (2).

    Authors: Gabriel Zieff, B.S., Andrew Borror, B.A., Claudio Battaglini, Ph.D., FACSM, Lee Stoner Ph.D., ACSM-CEP, ACSM-EIM

    Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


    The prevalence of Type II Diabetes (T2D) continues to rise globally, and particularly in Western nations (1).  Without proper treatment, T2D may lead to cardiovascular diseases, neuropathy, kidney failure, and death (2).

    The major goal of T2D treatment is the regulation of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). Lifestyle behaviors such as eating a healthy diet and engaging in exercise can be effective strategies for mitigating hyperglycemia and improving insulin sensitivity in T2D (3, 5). In terms of exercise, muscle-contraction-mediated glucose uptake provides a means for glucose to exit the bloodstream and enter the muscle tissue independent of insulin. Specifically, repeated muscular contractions stimulate transient translocation of the GLUT-4 transporter protein to the cell-membrane to facilitate the uptake of glucose from the circulation into the muscle.

    Given the importance of managing hyperglycemia in T2D, it is not surprising that glucose elevation following meals is of particular concern for this population. Thus, postprandial exercise may be a useful strategy to combat the glycemic response to a meal while preserving insulin sensitivity. Unfortunately, the optimal timing and prescription of postprandial exercise to maximally reduce postprandial hyperglycemia have not been clearly elucidated.

    Recently, a systematic review was conducted to assess the effects of postprandial exercise on glucose regulation in T2D (6). This article: i) reports the outcomes of the systematic review; ii) discusses the appropriate timing, modality, intensity, and duration of exercise; and iii) addresses the practical considerations that need to be accounted for when prescribing and monitoring exercise in this population.


    The systematic review identified 12 randomized crossover trials, with a total of 135 participants (108 males, 20 females, 7 unknown), none of whom were being treated with insulin. The crossover trials included an acute exercise bout, and a non-exercise control. The exercise bouts were performed within a three-hour period following a standardized meal.

    The analysis revealed that postprandial aerobic exercise (11 studies) decreased short-term glucose area under the curve (AUC) by 3.4% to 26.6% and 24-hour prevalence of hyperglycemia by 11.9% to 65% (6). Resistance training (2 studies) decreased short-term glucose AUC by 30% and 24-hour prevalence of hyperglycemia by 35% (6–8). Further, the review showed that while pre-prandial exercise also conferred beneficial effects on glucose regulation, greater improvements occurred with postprandial exercise (6-10). It is likely that when postprandial exercise is performed, maximal exercise-induced glycemic regulation is most aligned with peak blood glucose (11). In contrast, pre-prandial exercise may not allow for such coordination between exercise-induced glycemic regulation and blood glucose elevation.

    Unfortunately, as far as we know, no studies have examined whether the attenuation of postprandial glucose improves clinical outcomes, such as cardiovascular events. However, the evidence from the review suggests that postprandial exercise decreases blood glucose levels to below 8.6 mmol/L for up to 24 hours, which approximately corresponds to a glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C) level of 7% (8–10, 12–14). Chronic decreases in HbA1C to this extent are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular death, non-fatal myocardial infarction, and non-fatal stroke (12). While the findings from the systematic review should be considered preliminary, the 24-hour reduction in blood glucose is potentially clinically meaningful.


    Timing and Intensity: Longer duration (30 to 60 minutes), moderate-intensity, aerobic exercise in the 3-hour period following a meal seems to most consistently result in improved glucose regulation among individuals with T2D (6). Lower intensities and shorter durations of exercise were not as effective in promoting glucose regulation (6). A likely explanation is that a driving factor behind the glucoregulatory effects of postprandial exercise is total energy expenditure.

    Modality: While less evidence exists regarding the glucose improvement related to postprandial resistance training, the available evidence does suggest resistance training and moderate-intensity aerobic exercise are similarly effective (6).


    The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends accumulating 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 60 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic exercise per week. It also recommends performing 2 to 3 non-consecutive days of resistance training per week at intensities between 50% to 80% of 1-repetition maximum (1-RM) and targeting all major muscle groups using a scheme of 1 to 4 sets of 8 to 15 repetitions per exercise. We recommend that the current ACSM guidelines, which are similar to those provided by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), be adhered to. However, we suggest that exercise be performed within three hours of the largest meal of the day. We also suggest that several other minor modifications to these guidelines be considered, as discussed below.

    With regards to ACSM guidelines, the findings of the systematic review lead to several important considerations. First, while the ACSM recommendations for aerobic exercise are stated in terms of cumulative minutes of exercise achieved per week, due to the transient (≈ 18 to 48 hours) nature of contraction-mediated glucose uptake, we suggest that no more than two days should occur without engaging in aerobic exercise (15). In line with this we suggest that, between aerobic and resistance exercises, only one “rest-day” be taken each week. In terms of resistance training, we suggest that a moderate-intensity range of 50% to 60% 1-RM be maintained to prevent large increases in blood pressure and minimize delayed-onset muscle soreness. These recommendations will help to optimize safety and compliance. Lastly, clinicians should aim to help individuals with T2D work up to a duration of 60 minutes of exercise (regardless of aerobic or resistance) at least 6 days per week to maximize energy expenditure.

    It is important to note that these guidelines are ideals and rigid adherence to them may be unrealistic. Therefore, the most important underlying themes of lifestyle-based glycemic regulation should be prioritized. In particular, strategies for relapse prevention should be prioritized. For example, if the prescribed exercise following the largest meal cannot be achieved for a given day, engagement in any form of physical activity, such as taking the dog for a walk or gardening, should be encouraged.


    Postprandial hyperglycemia is a significant problem for individuals with T2D. The current evidence indicates that postprandial exercise may help reduce hyperglycemia, thus preventing the progression of T2D and associated complications. Although the optimal intensity and timing of initiation are not clear, energy expenditure seems to be an important factor.

    Based on this, we suggest that clinicians and fitness professionals help individuals with T2D adhere to the current ACSM and ADA guidelines. However, we suggest that a greater emphasis be placed on meeting these recommendations during the three-hour period following the largest meal of the day.


    1.        World Health Organization. Diabetes [Internet].WHO. 2017

    2.        Cavalot F, Pagliarino A, Valle M, et al. Postprandial blood glucose predicts cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality in type 2 diabetes in a 14-year follow-up: lessons from the San Luigi Gonzaga Diabetes Study. Diabetes Care. 2011;34(10):2237–43.

    3.        Rabi DM, Edwards AL, Southern DA, et al. Association of socio-economic status with diabetes prevalence and utilization of diabetes care services. BMC Health Serv Res. 2006;6:124.

    4.        Oberlin DJ, Mikus CR, Kearney ML, et al. One bout of exercise alters free-living postprandial glycemia in type 2 diabetes. Med Sci Sport Exerc. 2014;46(2):232–8.

    5.        Goodyear LJ, Kahn BB. Exercise, glucose transport, and insulin sensitivity. Annu Rev Med. 1998;49(1):235–61.

    6.        Borror A, Zieff G, Battaglini C, Stoner L. The effects of post-prandial exercise on glucose control in individuals with type 2 diabetes: A systematic review [Internet]. Sport Med. 2018; In Press.

    7.        Heden TD, Winn NC, Mari A, et al. Postdinner resistance exercise improves postprandial risk factors more effectively than predinner resistance exercise in patients with type 2 diabetes. J Appl Physiol. 2015;118(5):624–34.

    8.        van Dijk J-W, Manders RJF, Tummers K, et al. Both resistance- and endurance-type exercise reduce the prevalence of hyperglycaemia in individuals with impaired glucose tolerance and in insulin-treated and non-insulin-treated type 2 diabetic patients. Diabetologia. 2012;55(5):1273–82.

    9.        Haxhi J, Leto G, di Palumbo AS, et al. Exercise at lunchtime: effect on glycemic control and oxidative stress in middle-aged men with type 2 diabetes. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2016;116(3):573–82.

    10.      Colberg SR, Zarrabi L, Bennington L, et al. Postprandial walking is better for lowering the glycemic effect of dinner than pre-dinner exercise in type 2 diabetic individuals. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2009;10(6):394–7.

    11.      Poirier P, Tremblay A, Catellier C, Tancrède G, Garneau C, Nadeau A. Impact of time interval from the last meal on glucose response to exercise in subjects with type 2 diabetes. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2000;85(8):2860–4.

    12.      Zoungas S, Chalmers J, Ninomiya T, et al. Association of HbA1c levels with vascular complications and death in patients with type 2 diabetes: evidence of glycaemic thresholds. Diabetologia. 2012;55(3):636–43.

    13.      Gillen JB, Little JP, Punthakee Z, Tarnopolsky MA, Riddell MC, Gibala MJ. Acute high-intensity interval exercise reduces the postprandial glucose response and prevalence of hyperglycaemia in patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes, Obes Metab. 2012;14(6):575–577.

    14.      Manders RJF, Van Dijk J-WM, Van Loon LJC. Low-intensity exercise reduces the prevalence of hyperglycemia in type 2 diabetes. Med Sci Sport Exerc. 2010;42(2):219–25.

    15.      Lehnen AM, De Angelis K, Medeiros Markoski M, D´Agord Schaan B. Changes in the GLUT4 expression by acute exercise, exercise training and detraining in experimental models [Internet]. J Diabetes Metab. 2012 [cited 2018 Jan 22 ];(10) available from: doi:10.4172/2155-6156.S10-002.

  • ACSM exams to reflect new AHA blood pressure guidelines starting December 2018

    ACSM | Jun 29, 2018

    Blood Pressure Video ACSM

    The American College of Cardiology (ACC), American Heart Association (AHA), and other organizations recently released updated blood pressure guidelines. Please be aware that ACSM Certification Board will adopt the new hypertension guidelines in 2018 and 2019 as follows:

    ACSM-GEI: use the JNC 2003 hypertension guides until December 2, 2018. Beginning December 3, 2018, the ACSM-GEI exam will reflect the updated 2017 ACC/AHA thresholds for high blood pressure and related terminology (i.e., "elevated blood pressure").

    ACSM-CPT: use the JNC 2003 hypertension guides through Dec 31, 2018. Beginning January 1, 2019, the ACSM-CPT exam will reflect the 2017 ACC/AHA thresholds for high blood pressure and related terminology (i.e., "elevated blood pressure").

    ACSM-EP: use the JNC 2003 hypertension guides through Dec 31, 2018. Beginning January 1, 2019, the ACSM-EP exam will reflect the 2017 ACC/AHA thresholds for high blood pressure and related terminology (i.e., "elevated blood pressure").

    Clinical exercise physiologist: RCEP and CEP exams taken prior to October 31, 2018 will be based on JNC 2003 hypertension guidelines. Beginning December 3, 2018, the ACSM-CEP exam will reflect the 2017 ACC/AHA thresholds for high blood pressure and related terminology (i.e., "elevated blood pressure").

    JNC (2003)

    2017 ACC/AHA thresholds

    Normal: <120/<80 mm Hg

    Normal: <120/<80 mm Hg

    Prehypertension: 120-139/80-89 mm Hg

    Elevated: 120-129/<80 mm Hg

    Stage 1 hypertension: SBP between 140-159 mm Hg or DBP between 90-99 mm Hg

    Stage 1 hypertension: SBP between 130-139 or DBP between 80-89 mm Hg

    Stage 2 hypertension: SBP ≥160 or DBP ≥100 mm Hg

    Stage 2 hypertension: SBP ≥140 or DBP ≥90 mm Hg



    Please visit the following links for more information:

    • What's Changed: New High Blood Pressure Guidelines 
    • AHA Updates Blood Pressure Guidelines 
    • American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines

  • Industry Presented Blog: What to Eat Before and After a Workout

    Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD | Jun 25, 2018

    What to eat after Workout ACSM

    Simple tips on what you can eat before and after a workout, for performance and body composition.

    By: Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD on behalf of the National Dairy Council

    I recently shared some tips with my friends @DairyGood on what to eat before and after a workout. I thought fitness professionals and some of my fellow sports RDNs may be interested in my suggestions for a balanced training diet, too. Here’s a summary of what I generally recommend.

    After a workout, you need to focus on refueling and recovery. Think these three Rs: Replenish, Rebuild, Rehydrate


    Before a workout, you need to fuel-up and provide your body with the energy it needs to workout, whether cardio, weight–training or a combo of the two. Ideally, two to four hours before a workout, eat a meal that is rich in complex carbohydrates (think oatmeal or brown rice), moderate in lean protein (think chicken or low-fat and fat-free dairy foods), lower in fat (think nuts and oils) and fiber (think broccoli and cauliflower) and includes plenty of fluids (think water or low-calorie beverage). Nutrient-rich examples of pre-workout meals include:

    • Oatmeal with berries, a few nuts, low-fat Greek yogurt and water
    • Grilled chicken, brown rice, green beans and unsweetened-tea
    • Turkey and cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread with lettuce, tomato and avocado, a fruit and water

    If you workout early in the morning and don’t have time to eat hours before, try a granola bar, banana or even dry cereal or crackers 30 minutes before you get moving. If the workout will be intense or extra long, pump the snack up to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, protein bar or even a smoothie with whey protein, fruit and water.


    After a workout, you need to focus on refueling and recovery. Think these three Rs:

    • Replenish your muscles with carbohydrate to replace what was burned off in exercise. Simple carbohydrates are ideal immediately post-workout because they break down quickly.
    • Rebuild your muscles with protein. Exercise can cause muscle breakdown and high-quality protein, like milk, yogurt, eggs, cheese and lean meats can help rebuild and repair muscle fibers. Whey protein is a good choice after a workout as your body can digest it quickly and it contains the highest content of leucine, an amino acid that has been shown to help build and repair muscles after a workout.
    • Rehydrate with fluid and electrolytes you sweated out during exercise.

    The goal is to eat within 45 minutes post-workout. If you can do it sooner, then great! Because many people are not hungry immediately after they workout, shakes and smoothies can be a nutrient-rich option to start recovery – plus, they can count toward rehydration. Here are some post-workout recovery snacks:

    • Low-fat chocolate milk
    • Vanilla yogurt with fruit and honey
    • Smoothie made with low-fat milk, whey protein and fruit

    Get a quick snack right after a workout, then follow it up with a meal of complex carbohydrate, lean protein, veggies and fluid, like beef stir fry or a veggie omelet with whole wheat toast. You can get more of my tips on my blog or by following me via social media.

    Author Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD is a registered dietitian in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with an emphasis in overall health, wellness and sports nutrition. She has 11 years of experience as the sports dietitian at Ben Hogan Sports Medicine and has worked with Texas Christian University Athletics, the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, FC Dallas Soccer, Jim McLean Golf School and many PGA Tour players as well as with many middle school, high school and endurance athletes. She received her Bachelor of Science in speech communications from Texas Christian University and Master of Science in exercise and sports nutrition from Texas Woman’s University. She is also a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.  

  • Everyone deserves clean air and protection from the effects of climate change

    Janet R. Wojcik, Ph.D., FACSM | Jun 21, 2018

    The National Oceanic Atmospheric Association Administration has just released data that show that May 2018 was the hottest May on record at an average of 65.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Every state in the U.S. reported record temperatures, and there were 8,540 record highs recorded in May. The record high of 100 degrees Fahrenheit occurred in Minneapolis on May 28, 2018, when many attendees started to arrive for the 65th ACSM Annual Meeting.

    biking illustrationHigher temperatures lead to higher ground level ozone, which is a pollutant that affects everyone, especially people who live in urban areas. Cities are growing in population, especially in certain parts of the U.S. where rapid increases in population lead to more cars on the roads. Motor vehicle traffic is concentrated along highways and major urban thoroughfares. Increased temperature and ground level ozone lead to poor air quality, leading to more air quality action alert days (Code Orange or Code Red) where outdoor activities need to be limited either for sensitive groups or for all. The populations most affected are persons of lower socioeconomic status, minority populations, children, senior adults, and persons with chronic diseases. Air pollution and high ground level ozone can promote asthma attacks and cause direct damage to blood vessels, making persons with heart disease vulnerable to heart attack and stroke. These challenges are not limited to the U.S. in that poor air quality, climate change, and its effects on health are global problems.

    The World Health Organization advocates that by addressing and investing in active transportation, municipalities can address air quality, climate change, and health equity.  Walking, bicycling, and use of public transportation reduce vehicle emissions that add to pollution and ground level ozone while increasing the health of the active transport participants. Planting more trees not only leads to increased neighborhood aesthetics, the increased shade helps lower ambient temperatures for those persons walking and biking to help reduce urban heat island effects. Trees can capture both carbon dioxide and ozone. If municipal leaders emphasize active transport and aesthetic walking and biking routes they will help mitigate some of the effects of climate change, including its effects on air pollution, while promoting physical activity and health equity. As leading experts in sports, exercise, health, medicine, and physical activity, it is important that we collaborate and advocate for active transport as a way to improve air quality and reduce the effects of climate change for everyone.

    Janet R. Wojcik, Ph.D., FACSM, ACSM-EP, ACSM/ACS CET
    Associate Professor and Program Director, Exercise Science
    Winthrop University
    Chair, ActivEarth Task Force

  • Industry presented blog: Support Your Running With Healthy Knees

    Technogym | Jun 20, 2018

    Healthy Knees

    Healthy knees just might help with longevity and better performance

    As amazing as the human body is, it is still prone to injury.

    Taking part in any physical activity is obviously good for us; it builds strength and flexibility, and the stronger and more flexible we are the less likely we are to get injured. Our reactions are faster and we have better balance and coordination.

    "...the desire to improve performance – to be faster, stronger or more flexible – can lead to the body being stretched beyond its natural limits which can lead to strains and sprains."

    Below is a list of the type of injuries that involve the feet and knees and how to recognize and treat them.  That said, because muscles, tendons and ligaments are repeatedly and rapidly flexed and contracted during exercise, it is important that we are aware of how to care for them in order to avoid unnecessary injuries, especially as the desire to improve performance – to be faster, stronger or more flexible – can lead to the body being stretched beyond its natural limits which can lead to strains and sprains.

    How to maintain healthy knees

    Let’s look at how we can maintain healthy feet and knees while running by looking at sprains and strains – how to recognize them and what to do about them so that you can spend more time enjoying what you love, and less time recuperating. 

    To help prevent such injuries from occurring, runners can learn about their RUNNING RATE, which will help many of the common injuries from impacting on your performance.  Sprains are injuries to ligaments, the tough bands connecting bones in a joint.  Strains are injuries to muscle fibers or tendons, which anchor muscles to bones.

    As with all things, knowledge is power, so the more you know about how to recognize and treat injuries that can sometimes occur, the faster you will be able to recover from them and get back to your training.

    Discover the type of injuries that involve the feet and knees and how to recognize and treat them.

    About Technogym

    Technogym, world-leader providing innovative products, services and solutions in wellness and fitness to enhance quality of life through physical activity.

  • Industry Presented Blog: How To Take Your Business Outside This Summer

    MINDBODY | Jun 19, 2018

    5 ideas about how your business can head outside for the summer

    Yoga Day MINDBODY


    As the weather warms up, people are spending more time outside. While you could throw in the pool towel, summer is actually the perfect opportunity for your business to celebrate the outdoors with special events.

    We’ve gathered up five ideas about how your business can head outside for the summer to get you started:

    • Move class outside - If your business offers classes, take the opportunity to conduct a special class outdoors. Host a Pilates session in a park, team up with a local hotel for rooftop yoga or teach a water-based boot camp at a local pool. Advertise the class on social media and your newspaper to maximize how many people attend—you might end up with a number of new customers. If you do decide to hold an event, don’t forget about the details. A business management software like MINDBODY can help you manage bookings and registrations for your event, as well as collect payments and waivers from participants.


      "Don’t forget to think about youth programs. Many summer or day camps will host guests to educate their students, so there’s a good chance that a program near you will welcome you."


    • Get active in a local event - Does hosting your own event sound like a logistical nightmare to you? Then look into joining other events being put on by community organizations. From 5Ks to charity walks, summer is loaded with events where you can sponsor a team or host a booth. Some events even offer the opportunity for your business name and/or logo to be on a T-Shirt, which gets your brand in front of potential customers AND helps your community at the same time.


    • Don’t forget about International Day of Yoga - Does your business offer yoga? Keep an eye out for a local International Yoga Day celebration, traditionally celebrated on June 21. While the biggest event annually is in Times Square, cities and studios around the country take part—and if your local area isn’t planning anything, hosting an event is a great way to move your business outside for a day to increase visibility into what you do.


    • Get a booth at a Farmers’ Market - Even if you focus solely on appointments, you could benefit from taking advantage of the season. Contact your local Farmers’ Market to find out if they have a wellness week, and if not, ask about having a booth to educate your community on living healthy. For example, if you run a physical therapy business, offer free consulting sessions to people who drop by. You never know who might turn out to be a valuable customer for you!


    • Go back to summer camp - As you think about how to engage with your community, don’t forget to think about youth programs. Many summer or day camps will host guests to educate their students, so there’s a good chance that a program near you will welcome you. Teaching at a summer camp offers you an opportunity to do community outreach and service at the same time. The only limit to what you can do is your creativity—these five options are just a spark to get you thinking about your own ideas on how to get your business outside.

    And, if you do set up a special class, MINDBODY can help you manage it.  We’re happy to show you how.

    About MINDBODY

    Headquartered in San Luis Obispso, Calif., MINDBODY is the leading technology platform for the wellness services industry. Local wellness entrepreneurs worldwide use MINDBODY's integrated software and payments platform to run, market and build their businesses. Consumers use MINDBODY to more easily find, engage and transact with wellness providers in their local communities. For more information on how MINDBODY is helping people lead healthier, happier lives by connecting the world to wellness, visit


  • Sports and Exercise for Young Men and Women with Special Needs

    John Cissik | May 02, 2018

    Bottomline upfront: 

    Sports and exercise is important for individuals with special needs. While there are many similarities between this population and the general population, there are differences that a prospective trainer or coach needs to understand. This blog is going to help to introduce the reader to this population and some of the benefits and challenges of working with them.

    I've been coaching for over 20 years now at every level from the Olympic Training Center all the way to three-year olds. Currently I coach baseball and basketball, consult on strength and conditioning, coach Special Olympics basketball and Miracle League baseball, and teach special education in elementary school. I also volunteer my summers to run a summer enrichment experience for children with Down syndrome (called Down with Summer Success) to help them academically, socially, and physically.

    With all that in mind, I was asked to write about exercise and sports for young men and women with special needs. This article is going to cover why sport and exercise is important for people with special needs, differences and similarities when compared to typically developing individuals, and the skills you need to be able to work with this population.

    Why are sports and exercise important for people with special needs?

    In all individuals, including those with special needs, sports and exercise helps develop physical fitness, helps prevent or lessen the effects of lifestyle diseases, builds self-confidence and positive self-image, provides social support and social interactions, and teaches valuable lessons about life.

    The challenge is that individuals with special needs have unique barriers when it comes to exercise and sports participation, such as low muscle tone, hyper flexibility, poor speed/power/reaction time, delayed social skills, and intellectual disabilities that may make it harder to learn exercises and skills. Additionally, individuals with special needs may not have access to exercise and sports, which can cause them to be lacking fundamental exercise skills. Additionally, lack of exercise combined with the nature of their disabilities, increases the risk of obesity and lifestyle diseases.

    All of this serves to reinforce the importance of sports and exercise for individuals with special needs.

    What's different?

    The first big difference is that often their disability has prevented them from having access to exercise or sports. Some individuals may also have un unwillingness to learn new skills, which may make the caregivers of these individuals frustrated and cause them to decide not to attempt exercise or sports programs. This means that we cannot assume individuals with special needs have exercise or sports knowledge or foundational skills.

    A second difference is that often fitness levels are lower. This impacts the ability to practice, perform an exercise program, and impacts performance.

    A third difference is that often individuals with special needs are visual or kinesthetic learners. This means they learn by seeing or doing. They don't learn well by being lectured at.

    What do these differences mean when working with individuals with special needs? They mean there is a need to define expectations and be consistent. The unwillingness to learn new skills means that there needs to be a lot of positive support and fun built in. Foundational skills and exercises are very important. Practices and exercise programs will need a slower pace and more recovery built in. Finally, any instruction is going to need to focus on visual and kinesthetic learning styles.

    What's the same?

    With time, individuals with special needs enjoy exercise and sports. Their identity will develop around it and they will take pride in their performance. Like other people they need expectations and accountability and struggle when those things are not present. They are very interested in being successful and in being recognized for their successes. They also need to understand when they have made mistakes and need feedback to correct those mistakes.

    What's going to surprise you?

    Individuals with special needs care about how they perform in exercise and sports. I have coached Special Olympics basketball and Miracle League baseball a long time and my athletes care how they do in games, they care about their team's records, and they care about how they rank versus other teams.

    Something else that is really important, is that they care about their performance and their team. Often individuals with special needs make the best team mates, they care about their team, they care about those around them, they understand that everyone on the team has a role, and they cheer their team mates' successes. This is something I have to spend a lot of time developing with other types of teams.

    What skills do you need to work with this group?

    First, you need to be a very positive person. Negativity, like screaming or yelling, doesn't do well in terms of getting this population to do anything. Now, it's important to have expectations and to keep them accountable, but this needs to be done in a positive manner.

    Second, you need to understand that it is about the individuals with special needs and not you. Individuals with special needs are not going to care about your resume, how special you are, whether you are a guru, etc. They live in the moment and accept you for who you are, not who you advertise yourself to be. Like other athletes, they care about how you interact with them.

    Third, you need to be able to teach without being longwinded. There is a need to be short, concise, visual, and then let the individuals with special needs attempt it. Corrections and feedback also need to be concise with visual and kinesthetic feedback.

    Finally, you need to be very patient. This is an incredibly slow, gradual process and it's important to realize that improvements in fitness and performance aren't made as quickly as with other individuals. Having said that, working with this population can be incredibly rewarding because this is one of those instances where you are truly making a difference in people's lives

    About the Author

    John Cissik teaches special education at McKinney ISD in McKinney, Texas. He coaches baseball, basketball, strength and conditioning, Special Olympics, and Miracle League. John has written 14 books and over 100 print articles on strength and conditioning, fitness, and coaching.

    @jcissik (twitter)

  • Striving for Certification: Success at 60!

    Susie Ripley | Apr 26, 2018

    You know how they say that 60 is the new 40? My name is Susie Ripley, and I sure hope that is TRUE, because here I am at 60, contemplating what to do with my I have always said that your feet face forward, so you should always move in that direction, however, reflecting back on life has its advantages too.

    As a Life and Community Coach, for the last 10 plus years, I am constantly asking people if they can remember a time that they felt aligned, happy and excited. When I asked myself those same questions recently, I immediately went back 10 years to a time when I was in the Health and Wellness industry. Working in Houston as the Health and Wellness Director of a large YMCA was one of the most challenging, yet rewarding times of my professional career. Every day I was excited about the work I did and fascinated by the science that was constantly coming out about fitness and health and the people I served. While I was in the industry as a fitness practitioner, at the beginning of my 20 year plus career, I was in management, programming and directing the practitioners. While the YMCA's have good training protocols, and in fact I was a faculty trainer for the YMCA of the USA Personal Training Program, I always looked to ACSM as the Gold Standard when evaluating protocols or had any question regarding protocols. Each year I would attend the ACSM Summit and could hardly wait until the next year's Summit. I always thought that if I had the money and the time, I would become ACSM certified. I believe now, as I believed then, that there is no better or comprehensive certification.

    So when faced with another change in professional direction, I asked myself, why not now? What is stopping me? With the barriers out of the way, I am now embarking on a journey that will challenge me, to be sure, but also is making me feel more excited and alive, than I have felt …. In a LONG time! So, pass or fail, I will share with you my journey, in obtaining my ACSM CPT. I have no idea what this 60 year old will face with the challenges back into the Health and Wellness world, but I am willing to be transparent and share them with you. I have some fears, to be sure, but I am committed to pushing past them so that I can do what I am always encouraging and trying to inspire others to do… LIVE THE BEST LIFE EVER!

    So…here we go!!

  • Industry Presented Blog: A Q&A from Nutrition Performance: Theory and Effective Practice Guidelines for Fitness Professionals

    Wheat Foods Council | Apr 17, 2018

    The Wheat Foods Council recently hosted an industry-presented webinar entitled: Nutrition for Performance: Theory and Effective Practice Guidelines for Fitness Professionals. The webinar is also available for two (2) CECs via ACSMceOnline.

    View the webinar for free on YouTube without CECs. 

    Several questions were asked by attendees during the webinar and the answers are below.

    Viewpoints presented in this blog reflect opinions of the authors and Wheat Foods Council and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM.

    Q. How do you guide a client in balancing carbohydrates and proteins if they are trying to decrease percent body fat while gaining muscle mass?

    Protein needs are based on body weight. A person who is cutting calories needs to be sure to consume 1.5 - 2.4 g protein per kg (adjusted) body weight. While it's hard to build muscle when in energy deficit, some research suggests it is possible with a high protein intake + resistance exercise + a small calorie deficit.

    By dividing the required amount of protein into even-sized meals and snacks, the person can consume the balance of calories as carbs and fat, staying within the calorie allotment. Creating a calorie deficit by knocking off any kind of calories, be they from carbs, protein or fat. is what triggers fat loss.

    Q. How would one approach a client who is not gluten-intolerant but who is avoiding gluten because he is afraid that gluten is bad? What would you tell that client in order for him to have a balanced diet?

    I would approach the client like this: "I'm curious. What seems right about eliminating gluten?" and learn the client's perspective. And then I would ask if he or she wanted to know my opinion. If yes, I would share the research done by Dana Lis comparing athletes (without celiac disease) who went on a gluten-free diet vs athletes who consumed gluten. Both had similar levels of inflammation, with no health or performance differences between the two groups.

    Q: Do you have a meal plan for vegans?

    I do not have a standard meal plan specifically for vegans. When counseling vegan clients, I work together with them to create a meal plan that appeals to that individual. For one of my clients, the sample day looked something like this:
    • Breakfast: oatmeal + almonds + raisins + soy milk
    • Lunch: bread + peanut butter + banana (sandwich) + carrots + hummus
    • Snack: trail mix (nuts, dried fruit, granola) + soy yogurt
    • Dinner: Burrito with beans + rice + salsa + avocado + soy cheese.

    Q. Are there any repercussions for too much protein in an athlete's diet?

    Of course. There are repercussions of too much of anything (even water overconsumption can cause a toxic condition known as hyponatremia!). The current position stand supports daily protein intake for healthy active individuals at 1.2-2.0 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. MOST of the available evidence from multiple laboratories supports this range. We are aware of other research recently published that advocate for slightly higher recommendations, especially during times of energy restriction, but these recommendations are not universally accepted at this time. Some researchers have expressed concerns that as protein intake increases (beyond 2.0g/kg) that diet quality and variety may suffer. These potential repercussions could have negative effects beyond athletic performance and body composition outcomes.

    Q. Can you touch on scope of practice for fitness/nutrition professionals without an RD?

    Excellent question. There was a recent article published on this topic (free):

    Kruskall, Laura J.; Manore, Melinda M.; Eickhoff-Shemek, JoAnn M.; Ehrman, Jonathan K. DRAWING THE LINE: Understanding the Scope of Practice Among Registered Dietitian Nutritionists and Exercise Professionals.
    ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal. 21(1):23-32, January/February 2017

    Q. Dr. Thomas, in one of your slides pertaining to "training low" you had mentioned how this method of reducing carbohydrates before an intense bout of physical activity does reduce reliance of carbs but does not enhance fat loss. If there is a lower reserve of carbs, in the form of glycogen, wouldn't fat oxidation serve as the next available fuel/energy source?

    Excellent question. In the lab you will see an increase in fat oxidation (at sub-max intensities) following a "train-low" protocol. This is due to an increase expression of proteins involved in the lipid oxidation pathway. While this is a neat finding that is still being studied, there are two big limitations. First, marginal increases in fat oxidation do not usually translate into chronic fat mass loss. In chronic studies, the key player in promoting fat loss appears to be creating a calorie deficit with a combination of exercise and calorie restriction. The second limitation is that athletes are probably already "maxing out" on any benefit of increased fat oxidation related to inadvertently 
    "training low" by simply not refueling after every training session or training early in the morning without breakfast. Additional train low strategies would likely compromise performance by limiting muscular adaptations associated with high intensity training fueled by high carbohydrate availability.

    Q. What are your thoughts on keto? Everyone I talk to seems to be on the hype that they should be doing keto. Are there any new studies showing that a ketogenic diet is or is not helpful to stay on long term?

    The keto diet has been around for a long time, originally to treat epilepsy. Medical interest in the diet faded once it was recognized that the diet was not sustainable and medications were more effective.

    Athletes: Research does not support a performance advantage of Keto diets. Many benefits of exercise come from being able to train well (and enjoy) high-intensity work. Keto diets do not support this.

    Non-athletes/Recreational Athletes: Optimizing adherence to any diet is the most important factor for weight loss success, and this is enhanced by regular professional contact with a Registered Dietitian and supportive behavioral change programs. Although the American Diabetes Association (ADA) suggests that low CHO diets can improve glycemic control (Tay (2015), the ADA recommends that macronutrient distribution should be individualized and advocate for a variety of eating patterns that do not include the ketogenic diet.

    A key point raised in the presentation is "self-monitoring" dietary intake. Non-athletes need less energy intake and carbohydrate, but carbohydrate based healthy foods should remain in the diet to improve diet quality and support physical activity.

    Keep in mind that ketogenic diets, in particular, are often high in saturated fat. This runs counter to position stands by the ADA and American Heart Association (AHA). Both the ADA and AHA recommend following the dietary patterns presented in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (i.e. DASH and Mediterranean).

    Q. What are your thoughts on intermittent fasting for recreational athletes?

    Seems to be a gimmick strategy to reduce total calorie intake. Research is lacking in this area, especially in controlled conditions compared head-to-head with other strategies proven to be effective. Keep in mind that the most important factors governing weight loss are: adherence to diet and promoting an energy deficit…the key is how to do this in a healthy way to promote disease prevention, longevity, and performance!

    Q. What are the preventative measures to take in terms of dietary needs to prevent the female athlete triad? When do we become concerned regarding loss of menses/bone loss?

    Many strategies can be implemented. Healthy conversations about food and fueling for performance in the form of workshops, training table demonstrations, and peer-led discussions are good first steps. Educating coaches and trainers about the limitations of body composition measurement techniques, that body composition outcomes should never be used for athlete selection and "body comp percentages" are poor predictors of athletic success are key points to understand.

    A Registered Dietitian should complete a comprehensive dietary assessment that includes an assessment of energy expenditures and attitudes/beliefs about nutrition. This will allow for the assessment of low EA and the etiology of low EA.

    Athletes experiencing fatigue, weight loss, performance decrements, and a history of stress fracture should certainly receive medical evaluation that include an evaluation of bone mineral density. Any history of abnormal menses should be discussed with a primary care provider.

    Q. If I eat a balanced nutrition meal an hour prior to a resistance training exercise do I need to replenish protein intake, whether via food or supplementation?

    I presume you mean post-exercise? If so, the provision of protein immediately post-exercise is less important in this scenario. Muscle protein synthesis is amplified for up to 24-hours following an RT bout. Focus on a balanced spread of protein throughout the day.

    Travis Thomas, PhD, RDN, CSSD

    Dr. Thomas is an Associate Professor of Clinical & Sports Nutrition in the College of Health Sciences and Director of the Undergraduate Certificate Program in Nutrition for Human Performance at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Thomas is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics (CSSD) and a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

    Nancy Clark, MS, RDN, CSSD

    Nancy Clark is an internationally respected sports nutritionist, weight coach, nutrition author, and workshop leader. She is board certified as a specialist in sports dietietics (CSSD) and a certified WellCoach. She is also a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American College of Sports Medicine. Nancy completed her undergraduate degree in nutrition from Simmons College, her dietetic internship at Massachusetts General Hospital, and her graduate degree in nutrition with a focus on exercise physiology from Boston University.

  • Go Green For Earth Day: Active Transportation Can Improve Health, Save Money and Mitigate Climate Change

    Brian Parr, Ph.D. | Apr 13, 2018

    Since Earth Day is this month, this is a good time to think about the impact we have on our environment and what we can do to reduce that impact. The good news is there are ways we can “go green” that are good for us and our planet.

    First, you can go green by replacing car trips with walking or cycling. Every mile you drive releases carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the environment. Additionally, spending time sitting in your car can have negative effects on your health and happiness. Walking or biking has no such negative effects on the environment and has important health benefits including improved fitness, weight control, and greater feelings of wellbeing. Despite the potential environmental and health benefits of replacing car trips with active transportation, 37 percent of Americans report not walking for transportation at all in a given week.

    Obviously, walking or biking everywhere isn’t practical. But you could probably replace some car trips with active transportation. Most people commute less than 10 miles to work and nearly half of all car trips are less than three miles. Both are reasonable distances to bike or walk. If you have several places to go, you can always park in a central location and walk to each destination.

    Replacing car trips with active transportation can also help you save green—money! When you add up the costs of purchasing a car, filling the gas tank, maintenance, and parking, driving is expensive. Walking or cycling, even if it involves taking public transportation for part of your trip, is almost always less expensive; this is true even when you factor in the cost of purchasing a bike. Even if it is impossible to replace all car trips with active transportation, choosing to walk or bike to some destinations can help you save some money on car and driving expenses.

    Finally, you can literally “go green” when you exercise. Being active outdoors leads to enhanced feelings of energy and diminished fatigue, anxiety, anger, and sadnesscompared to similar activity conducted indoors. Additionally, some research suggests that outdoor activity may improve attention in adults and children. Another advantage of exercising outdoors is that you might get a better workout because you will likely walk or run faster outdoors. Research shows that even though people tend to exercise at a higher intensity outside, it may feel easier. Much of the psychological benefit of outdoor exercise occurs in the first five minutes, so even short bouts of activity, like walking instead of driving a short distance, are meaningful.

    So, as you celebrate Earth Day this month, think about the ways you can go green that are good for your health, your wallet, and the environment.

    Learn more from ActivEarth and Climate for Health

    Brian B. Parr, Ph.D. is an ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist®  and Associate Professor in the Department of Exercise and Sports Science at the University of South Carolina Aiken. 

  • Industry Presented Blog: 4 Tips to Jumpstart Building a Brand

    MINDBODY | Apr 12, 2018

    Viewpoints presented in this blog reflect opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM.


    Your brand is a key part of your business-it tells potential customers who you are and what you specialize in. But creating an unmistakable brand isn't easy to do. You're focused on running your business, and taking time from that to design a logo, website and e-mails probably isn't your ideal workday. Don't worry, though; with some tools from the around the Web, building a brand is easier than ever, and we've shared four ideas on how to jumpstart your branding efforts below.


    There's a good chance you've already heard how important it is that you have a unique, strong logo to represent your business and brand. After all, our brains process images 60,000 times faster than words, meaning that if you're just using word art for your logo, you may be missing out on some quality brand recognition. If you don't have a strong logo, don't worry. With tools like Fiverr and 99designs, you can find a freelance designer to help you design the logo of your dreams. All you have to do is set a budget and timeframe and you're on your way!


    If you're one of the 29% of small businesses who doesn't have a website, don't fret. There are tools that will help you build a website easily, even if you don't have any web design experience. One of the keys to a successful website is a branded domain, and website tools like Weebly and Squarespace will host your domain and offer you branded email and website design, all from one easy-to-use interface. And if you don't feel comfortable building a website yourself, ToptalTM and UpworkTM can help connect you to web designers to match your budget.


    In 2017, there were an estimated 269 billion e-mails sent every day. With that many messages going out every day, it's critical that you are delivering the right content to the right people at the right time-but if you're sending e-mails manually by yourself, your e-mails won't stand out in today's cluttered inboxes. That's where e-mail tools like Constant Contact®, Emma® and MailChimp® come in. Just upload your list of contacts (Make sure you have their consent first!), design your e-mail, and schedule it to go out. Your customers will get your e-mail, and you're sure that the message will look great in their inboxes.


    How often do you think of how your brand is represented by your customers? How your clientele speaks about your brand and business is one of the most valuable pieces of your brand, as 84 percent of consumers say that they trust the recommendations of family or friends. While word of mouth is important, it's also easy to influence. Think about recognizing your regular customers or the people who've had the biggest impact on your business by giving them branded items like a t-shirt or hat to wear. You can easily design and order the items on CustomInk®, and if your customers wear them, you get free marketing!

    Your brand is so important, and these four tips will help you hit the ground running to create a brand that your customers will love and your future clients will easily recognize.

    Click here to talk to a specialist about how MINDBODY® can help you build your brand!

    About MINDBODY®

    Headquartered in San Luis Obispso, Calif., MINDBODY® is the leading technology platform for the wellness services industry. Local wellness entrepreneurs worldwide use MINDBODY's integrated software and payments platform to run, market and build their businesses. Consumers use MINDBODY® to more easily find, engage and transact with wellness providers in their local communities. For more information on how MINDBODY® is helping people lead healthier, happier lives by connecting the world to wellness, visit

  • Examining what impacts biking behavior beyond the bike lane: Climate and health co-benefits

    Melissa Bopp, Ph.D., FACSM | Mar 23, 2018

    We’ve all heard the expression, “If you build it, they will come.” Does it apply to bike lanes and cyclists? If we paint some lanes on the side of the road will we be overrun with cyclists? Is it really that simple? Is there anything beyond the bike lane that we can do to promote more participation in transportation-related biking? The simple answer is, indeed, yes there is. Bike Lane

    The issue of understanding and promoting bicycling behavior is certainly complex, one pondered by a variety of stakeholders, including urban planners, traffic engineers, health officials and local biking advocates to name a few. It is important to note that it is, in fact, a BEHAVIOR that we’re trying to understand. Just like any other behavior (e.g., smoking, healthy eating, etc.), there is a wide range of things that impact the behavior, from the individual all the way to public policy. It’s important to identify these things because they give us something to target with programs or approaches.

    Perhaps one of the greatest influences on biking behavior is the individual themselves—mostly their thoughts, attitudes and beliefs about bicycling. Their confidence for bicycling in urban spaces could also be a factor, all of which could relate to how much they actually enjoy biking. Social networks also can play a big role in whether a person opts to bike—if they have friends, family or coworkers who bike regularly, that can positively impact their own choices. Seeing others biking in the community also speaks to a better “biking culture” in which one feels more comfortable hitting the roads on two wheels when it seems there is more of a critical mass.

    Some of the farthest-reaching approaches include the education, encouragement and supportive infrastructure (e.g., bike parking, locker rooms) that common destinations can provide. Schools and worksites are places that millions visit daily, so their role in promoting biking is essential and provides a connection to the greater community’s approach to biking. Policies at the local, state or federal level can offer support for biking through safety, education and the provision of resources. And, of course, the physical environment is another key component. It’s no surprise that features like shared use paths, protected bike lanes, traffic calming and connections with public transportation promote biking.

    Community leaders, key stakeholders or policymakers need to fully understand the expansive benefits associated with biking in order to garner support and resources to support this mode of travel. Beyond the notable benefits of improved health outcomes, bicycling as a sustainable form of transportation has significant “green” outcomes as well. The primary environmental benefits associated with biking are related to the shift in travel mode away from automobiles, with potential benefits of reduced pollution, traffic, congestion and improved air quality, resulting in a more sustainable environment. Air pollution and poor air quality have been linked to many chronic diseases (e.g., respiratory conditions, cardiovascular disease, lung cancer), poorer quality of life, premature mortality, increased health care expenses and increased absenteeism at work and school. Estimates have shown that a mode share shift to more active modes of travel (i.e., biking) could save from four to 23 million tons of carbon a year for trips of less than three miles. Shifting travel patterns from automobiles to biking has clear implications for the environment, so understanding the influences on biking behavior is key on the pathway to more sustainable living.  

    Whether as a stakeholder, advocate, or bicyclist, it is important to pose the questions, “Should we build it? Will they come?” But we must remember what lies beyond the bike lane.

    Melissa Bopp is an associate professor of Kinesiology at Pennsylvania State University and author of the forthcoming book: Biking for Transportation: An Evidence-base for Communities.

  • Journey of Becoming ACSM Certified, Part 1

    Francis Neric | Mar 13, 2018

    ACSM had a tremendous response to our "Journey of Becoming ACSM Certified" webinar. In the webinar, we introduced Jen Aragon, Cat Perry, and Whitney Leyva who will be documenting their journey of becoming an ACSM Certified professional.

    View the webinar here. 

    Each has a unique story in how they first became interested in the fitness industry, but the overarching goal is that they want to help others reach their full potential through exercise. What will be interesting to watch for is how Jen, Cat, and Whitney will balance their competing priorities of school, work, social life, and/or kids.

    In addition, we discussed some general tips on how to prepare for your exam. For example, why one should start with the exam content outline, what content-weighting and cognitive complexity mean and why they're important, why you should understand the big picture and not get lost in the details, how PrepU can be used to test your mastery, and the power and impact of community. A lot of folks really latched onto the latter, so we created study groups for Personal Trainer and Exercise Physiologist exams on Facebook:


    I look forward to your taking on the challenge of transforming your passion for exercise and converting it into a lifelong career.

    Be sure to connect with us on social media to keep up with the latest news.

    Francis Neric - Twitter: fneric | LinkedIn: in/fneric
    Cat Perry - Twitter: catperry | Instagram: catperry | LinkedIn: in/catperry
    Whitney Leyva - Twitter: ironwhit | Instagram: ironwhit | LinkedIn: in/whitney-leyva-ms-cscs-usaw-289a5a66/
    Jen Aragon - Instagram: jenjen7777

  • Industry Presented Blog: Carbohydrate Conundrum Webinar Q&A

    Potatoes USA | Feb 27, 2018

    Viewpoints presented in this blog reflect opinions of the author and Potatoes USA and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM.

    Katherine A. Beals, PhD, RD, FACSM

    Potatoes USA recently hosted an industry-presented webinar entitled: The carbohydrate conundrum: Are carbs essential or obsolete when it comes to health, fitness and athletic performance? Watch a free recorded version of the webinar. The webinar is also available for two (2) CECs via ACSM ceOnline.

    Several questions were asked by attendees during the webinar and the answers are below.

    Q- Are there studies that have examined the effects of a ketogenic diet on "high intensity" sports (e.g., power lifting, sprinting, etc).

    The majority of studies have examined ketogenic diets in athletes participating in submaximal, endurance exercise (58-65% of Vo2 max) and most of these studies have measured alterations in substrate oxidation vs. actual performance, and with good reason. First, fat can only serve as a significant substrate under aerobic metabolic conditions (i.e., the aerobic energy system or oxidative phosphorylation). Anaerobic metabolism (such as would predominate in high intensity exercise such as sprinting) can only utilize glucose as a substrate, while the ATP-PCr energy system (which predominates in strength and power events, e.g., power lifting) utilizes ATP and phosphocreatine. So it would be very unlikely that a high fat diet would be beneficial for high intensity sports (since fat is not a viable fuel source for these sports). Second it is unlikely that endurance "performance" would be improved on a ketogenic, since to perform well in most endurance events (i.e., to "win") the athlete must complete a given distance in the shortest amount of time, which typically requires them to compete at an intensity leve higher than "submax". Indeed, an endurance athlete hoping to "win" his or her event while maintaining a submax intensity is going to be sorely disappointed. The only published study to date examining ketogenic diets in resistance-trained individuals is Wilson et al. (2017). (see abstract below).

    Wilson et al. 2017 The Effects of Ketogenic Dieting on Body Composition, Strength, Power, and Hormonal Profiles in Resistance Training Males. J Strength Cond Res. 2017 Apr 7. [Epub ahead of print] Twenty-five college aged men were divided into a KD or traditional WD from weeks 1-10, with a reintroduction of carbohydrates from weeks 10-11, while participating in a resistance-training program. Body composition, strength, power, and blood lipid profiles were determined at week 0, 10 and 11. A comprehensive metabolic panel and testosterone levels were also measured at weeks 0 and 11.Lean body mass (LBM) increased in both KD and WD groups (2.4% and 4.4%, p<0.01) at week 10. However, only the KD group showed an increase in LBM between weeks 10-11 (4.8%, p<0.0001). Finally, fat mass decreased in both the KD group (-2.2 kg ± 1.2 kg) and WD groups (- 1.5 ± 1.6 kg). Strength and power increased to the same extent in the WD and KD conditions from weeks 1-11. No changes in any serum lipid measures occurred from weeks 1-10, however a rapid reintroduction of carbohydrate from weeks 10-11 raised plasma TG levels in the KD group. Total testosterone increased significantly from Weeks 0-11 in the KD diet (118 ng/dl) as compared to the WD (-36 ng/dl) from pre to post while insulin did not change.

    Q- What about the effects of consuming exogenous ketones (e.g., as a supplement)? Has this been shown to improve performance?

    Ketone supplements-(ketone salts and esters) have gained some limited popularity as a potential ergogenic aid among athletes, particularly endurance athletes. The goal is to increase ketone levels in the body quickly without having to follow a high fat, low carbohydrate diet (i.e., gain the hypothesized benefits of a ketogenic diet without having to actually follow it!). The limited available research does not show a performance benefit of supplementing with exogenous ketones. There was a very nice review paper on the topic published in the peer-reviewed journal, Sports Medicine, last year by Pinckaers and colleagues (Pinckaers PJ et al. 2017) (see abstract below).

    Pinckaers PJ et al. Ketone Bodies and Exercise Performance: The Next Magic Bullet or Merely Hype? Sports Med. 2017; 47(3):383-391. Elite athletes and coaches are in a constant search for training methods and nutritional strategies to support training and recovery efforts that may ultimately maximize athletes' performance. Recently, there has been a re-emerging interest in the role of ketone bodies in exercise metabolism, with considerable media speculation about ketone body supplements being routinely used by professional cyclists. Ketone bodies can serve as an important energy substrate under certain conditions, such as starvation, and can modulate carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. Dietary strategies to increase endogenous ketone body availability (i.e., a ketogenic diet) require a diet high in lipids and low in carbohydrates for ~4 days to induce nutritional ketosis. However, a high fat, low carbohydrate ketogenic diet may impair exercise performance via reducing the capacity to utilize carbohydrate, which forms a key fuel source for skeletal muscle during intense endurance-type exercise. Recently, ketone body supplements (ketone salts and esters) have emerged and may be used to rapidly increase ketone body availability, without the need to first adapt to a ketogenic diet. However, the extent to which ketone bodies regulate skeletal muscle bioenergetics and substrate metabolism during prolonged endurance-type exercise of varying intensity and duration remains unknown. Therefore, at present there are no data available to suggest that ingestion of ketone bodies during exercise improves athletes' performance under conditions where evidence-based nutritional strategies are applied appropriately.

    Q- If the goal is fat loss (or increased fat oxidation), and not high performance, what is the negative impact of a ketogenic diet? If the training protocol is primarily submaximal training and the focus is increasing fat oxidation, wouldn't a ketogenic diet benefit the "casual exerciser" seeking to lose body fat?

    Research consistently shows that following a ketogenic diet will promote alterations in substrate oxidation during submaximal exercise, specifically a relative increase in fat oxidation and a relative decrease in carbohydrate oxidation. Thus, metabolically, it would seem to makes sense this type of diet could promote beneficial changes in body composition. But, as is true with many aspects of metabolism, it is not that simple and it is all "relative"! The keys lie in the terms "submax" and "relative". Most athletes routinely train at intensities higher than submax (they have to if they are going to improve performance and win races). The alterations in substrate oxidation on a ketogenic diet will likely not hold true for exercise above submax intensities (there is currently a lack of data in this area so we do not know for sure, but from a pure metabolic standpoint, high intensity exercise cannot be maintained without glucose as a fuel source). Ok, so what about recreational athletes and exercisers who spend a lot of time training in the "submax" zone? Here is where the term "relative" comes into play. Remember that weight loss (which includes fat loss) is a matter of energy balance (i.e., calories consumed and calories expended). A given exercise bout (let's use a 60 min run at 62% Vo2 max for an example) will expend a certain number of calories, let's say 500 calories. If we have two runners (same body weights), one following a ketogenic diet and one following an adequate carbohydrate diet, they will both expend 500 calories. The difference is that the runner on the ketogenic diet will oxidize relatively more fat vs CHO (let's say 60% fat and 40% CHO) compared to the runner on the adequate carbohydrate diet (who will oxidize 50% fat and 50% CHO). But, at the end of the day the calories they expended in the exercise bout will be similar; thus, assuming similar energy intake (and expenditure the rest of the day) fat loss will likely not be different. With the exception of the Wilson et al (2017) study (mentioned above), there have been no studies examining body composition changes in "athletes" following a ketogenic diet compared to those following an adequate carbohydrate diet. There are, however, several studies that have compared the Atkins diet (a well-known ketogenic diet) to lower-fat, more moderate carbohydrate diets in sedentary individuals. The results indicate that those on the Atkins diet often lose significantly more weight in the first few months; but, by the end of a year, weight loss is similar between the groups (and the initial, rapid weight loss is often attributed to the greater energy deficit-that is, a reduced calorie intake-- in the Atkins group).

    Q- In the webinar you mentioned that ketogenic diets may actually be glycogen impairing vs glycogen sparing. Can you explain this?

    Yes! In her review article covering the controversy of training high vs training low, Burke et al. (2010) emphasizes that the alterations in substrate oxidation (i.e., relative increase in fat oxidation and decrease in carbohydrate oxidation) may not be as metabolically beneficial to the athlete as they might seem. (see reference below) Specifically, fat adaptation enhances the metabolic pathways and upregulates enzymes involved in fat oxidation at the "expense" of pathways and enzymes involved in carbohydrate metabolism/utilization. Burke provides the example of pyruvate dehydrogenase (a rate-limiting enzyme in carbohydrate utilization), and indicates that some limited research shows that fat adaptation suppresses the activity of this key enzyme, thus, causing an impairment of the utilization of carbohydrate during exercise. She supports this metabolic effect with studies from her own lab as well as others that could find "no evidence of an expected improvement in exercise performance [on a high fat diet], but instead, a reduction in the ability to perform high intensity exercise". (Burke 2010).

    Burke LM1. Fueling strategies to optimize performance: training high or training low? Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2010 Oct;20 Suppl 2:48-58.  Availability of carbohydrate as a substrate for the muscle and central nervous system is critical for the performance of both intermittent high-intensity work and prolonged aerobic exercise. Therefore, strategies that promote carbohydrate availability, such as ingesting carbohydrate before, during and after exercise, are critical for the performance of many sports and a key component of current sports nutrition guidelines. Guidelines for daily carbohydrate intakes have evolved from the "one size fits all" recommendation for a high-carbohydrate diets to an individualized approach to fuel needs based on the athlete's body size and exercise program. More recently, it has been suggested that athletes should train with low carbohydrate stores but restore fuel availability for competition ("train low, compete high"), based on observations that the intracellular signaling pathways underpinning adaptations to training are enhanced when exercise is undertaken with low glycogen stores. The present literature is limited to studies of "twice a day" training (low glycogen for the second session) or withholding carbohydrate intake during training sessions. Despite increasing the muscle adaptive response and reducing the reliance on carbohydrate utilization during exercise, there is no clear evidence that these strategies enhance exercise performance. Further studies on dietary periodization strategies, especially those mimicking real-life athletic practices, are needed.

    Q- Is there a certain number of grams of CHO and or protein before exercise proven to improve power/performance?

    The current recommendation is 20 grams of protein (containing at least 6 grams of essential amino acids) immediately before and/or within 2 hours after resistance training. For endurance exercise, the recommendation for carbohydrate before exercise is 1, 2, or 3 grams per kilogram of body weight 1, 2 or 3 hours before training (respectively). For post exercise recovery (endurance exercise). If there is less than 8 hours before the next training bout, the athlete should consume 1.0-1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight per hour for four hours. For protein, it is recommended the endurance athlete consume 20-30 grams of protein within 2 hours post exercise (including 6-10 grams of essential amino acids). This information can be found in the joint position statement from ACSM, AND and Dietitians of Canada.

    Thomas DT, Erdman KA, Burke LM. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016; 116(3):501-528.

    Katherine A. Beals, PhD, RD, FACSM is an Associate Professor (clinical) in the Department of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology at the University of Utah where she teaches graduate courses in macro and micronutrient metabolism, sports nutrition and research methods.

    About Potatoes USA

    Potatoes USA is the nation's potato marketing and research organization. Based in Denver, Colorado, Potatoes USA represents more than 2,500 potato growers and handlers across the country. Potatoes USA was established in 1971 by a group of potato growers to promote the benefits of eating potatoes. Today, as the largest vegetable commodity board, Potatoes USA is proud to be recognized as an innovator in the produce industry and dedicated to positioning potatoes as a nutrition powerhouse.

  • High Altitude and Cold Weather Sport: Are There Nutritional Concerns?

    Dan Benardot, PhD, RD, FACSM | Feb 19, 2018

    Cold weather and high-altitude sports have certainly been in the news recently. Have you ever wondered if these environments influence nutritional requirements and, therefore, may also have an impact on athletic performance? There is an increasing body of research suggesting that there are many nutritional issues related to cold and high-altitude environments that, if not appropriately dealt with, may seriously impact performance even in the most highly conditioned athlete. It is also important to consider that warm high-altitude environments (think Mexico City, altitude 7,382 feet; 2,250 meters), may also impart a performance advantage because of lower air resistance that an athlete must overcome, provided the athlete is sufficiently adapted to the altitude and is not suffering from one of several forms of altitude sickness.

    What are the Potential Nutritional Issues?
    Athletes who suddenly find themselves at an altitude exceeding 2000 meters are likely to experience nausea and loss of appetite, both symptoms of acute mountain sickness. This may sound like a minor issue, but failure to eat and drink enough increases the potential for poor muscle glycogen storage, which is needed for high intensity activity.  It has been found that food and fluid intake is often 10-50 percent lower in cold/high-altitude environments than amounts consumed near sea level. This problem is intensified because carbohydrates are used at a faster rate at high-altitude—dramatically increasing the risk of early fatigue. Consumption of more carbohydrate than usual may be needed in cold environments because a primary system of sustaining core body temperature in the cold is an involuntary central nervous system-induced event called ‘shivering’, which dramatically increases muscle glycogen usage.  

    Failure to consume sufficient fluids is also a significant issue, due to higher urine production at higher altitude, with higher risk of dehydration and an associated early fatigue. In fact, trying to maintain a good hydration state in cold and high-altitude environments is just as difficult as maintaining fluid balance in hot and humid environments because of the increased urine production and the voluntary failure to drink sufficient fluids. There may even be an increased risk of dehydration from high levels of water loss if the clothing worn is particularly heat retaining or heavy sporting equipment is being carried (i.e., skis, poles, helmet, etc.).

    What Can Physically Active People Do To Satisfy Nutritional Needs?


    There is no substitute for adapting to the cold and high-altitude environment. Athletes competing in this environment should try to spend at least four days in this environment prior to competition. This allows the body to make appropriate adaptations to resolve acute mountain sickness. The high-altitude environment is lower in oxygen, so assuring good iron status with no sign of iron deficiency or anemia is important. If performing endurance activity in this environment, spending even more time at high-altitude is important to improve red-cell concentration and oxygen-carrying capacity. Of course, increasing red-cell concentration increases the requirement for selected nutrients, mandating a diet rich in high-iron, high-vitamin B12 foods (red meats, etc.), high vitamin C and folic acid (fresh fruits and vegetables), or a physician monitored intake of nutrient supplementation.

    Total Energy

    Frequent eating at planned timed intervals, with a focus on high carbohydrate foods is important because carbohydrate requires less oxygen to metabolize for energy than either protein or fat.  Insufficient energy intake reduces both strength and endurance, both critical factors in athletic performance.  Frequent eating requires advanced planning to make certain there are planned eating times during the day (about every three hours) and available foods that can be easily accessed.  Because of the nausea commonly experienced at the beginning of the adaptation process, eating smaller amounts with greater frequency may be a useful strategy to help assure adequate intakes.


    Taking weight before and after exercise, and/or at the beginning and end of the day is a good indirect measure of the amount of body water that was lost but not replaced (1 lb = 16 ounces; 1 kg=1 liter). Athletes should monitor how much fluid was consumed and add an amount needed to sustain body weight. If the athlete cannot carry fluid with them, there should be known and available hydration stations that the athlete can access with ease and in high frequency.


    It is important to focus on the consumption of high carbohydrate foods to help optimize glycogen stores, which are used at a higher rate in cold and high-altitude environments.  Having frequent carbohydrate consumption will also help to sustain blood sugar and, therefore, mental function (the brain is a high consumer of blood sugar). It will also provide a source of fuel to working muscles that does not require oxygen to metabolize.

    The Bottom Line: 

    Plan so that the athlete never gets hungry or thirsty and has enough available energy to compensate for the extra that must be used at high-altitude.

    Dan Benardot is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, a Registered/Licensed Dietitian, and Professor of Nutrition, emeritus, at Georgia State University, where for many years he directed the Laboratory for Elite Athlete Performance. Dr. Benardot has served as nutritionist for several Olympic teams, and for the Atlanta Falcons football team. He co-authored ACSM’s 1993 position paper on ‘Nutrition and Athletic Performance’, and served as a reviewer for the 2009 and 2016 position papers.  He has also authored/co-author of several chapters in ACSM publications, several published books, and numerous articles in scientific journals. 


    For Additional Reading:

    Bartsch P, Bailey DM, Berger MM, Knauth M, and Baumgartner RW. Acute mountain sickness: Controversies and advances. High Altitude Medicine and Biology 2004; 5(2): 110-124.

    Beidleman BA, Muza SR, Fulco CS, Cymerman A, Ditzler D, Stulz D, Staab JE, Skrinar GS, Lewis SF, and Sawka MN. Intermittent altitude exposures reduce acute mountain sickness at 4300 m. Clinical Science 2004; 106(3): 321-328.

    Cheuvront SN, Ely BR, and Wilber RL. Environment and Exercise. In: Maughan RJ (ED): Sports Nutrition: The Encyclopaedia of Sports Medicine: An IOC Medical Commission Publication, Volume 19. Wiley Blackwell: London © 2013, pp 425-438.

    Cheuvront SN, and Keneflick RW. Dehydration: Physiology, assessment, and performance effects. Comprehensive Physiology 2014: DOI: 10.1002/cphy.c130017

    Paulin S, Roberts J, Roberts M, and Davis I. A case study evaluation of competitors undertaking an Antarctic ultra-endurance event: nutrition, hydration and body composition variables. Extreme Physiology & Medicine2015; 4(3):

    Sawka MN, Cheuvront SN, and Kenefick RW. Hypohydration and human performance: Impact of environment and physiological mechanisms. Sports Medicine. 2015; 45(1): 51-60.

  • ACSM to Develop a Common Clinical Exercise Physiologist Certification Examination

    Francis Neric | Feb 13, 2018

    The ACSM Committee on Certification and Registry Boards (CCRB) investigated the potential of developing a single clinical exercise physiologist certification exam in 2016 and 2017. This yielded two major takeaways: (1) employers have difficulty differentiating between CEPs and RCEPs in job descriptions or performance goals and (2) a single clinical certification would substantially clarify and strengthen matters for exam candidates, university programs, employers, and the clinical exercise professionals.

    Based on this information, the ACSM CCRB will develop and maintain a single clinical exercise physiologist examination - ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist® (ACSM-CEP®). The ACSM-CEP® content domains will include:

    • Domain I. Patient Assessment
    • Domain II. Exercise Testing
    • Domain III. Exercise Prescription
    • Domain IV. Exercise Training and Leadership
    • Domain V. Education and Behavior Change
    • Domain VI. Legal and Professional Responsibilities

    ACSM will provide additional details which include content weighting, specific job tasks, and levels of cognitive complexity on the ACSM Certification website ( The goal is to launch an operational beta form of the ACSM-CEP® exam in December 2018.

    The minimum requirements for the ACSM-CEP® will be the following:

    • Master's degree in Exercise Physiology or equivalent and 600 hours of hands-on, clinical experience.


    • Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science, Exercise Physiology, or equivalent and 1,200 hours of hands-on, clinical experience.

    In addition, ACSM and the new Clinical Exercise Physiology Association (CEPA) will co-develop a formal and widely promoted Registry of Clinical Exercise Physiologists. The aim of the Registry is to not only emphasize the value ACSM-CEPs bring to health care teams, but to highlight those individuals in the registry who have achieved a standard of excellence beyond entry level certification. All current RCEPs will automatically qualify for the Registry, and additional details and progress reports about the new registry will be released later this year.

    So, what does this mean to currently practicing CEPs and RCEPs, beyond greater visibility and clarity to all? Clinical certificants in good standing will not need to retake their clinical exams or provide additional documentation. Certificants will be automatically migrated to the ACSM-CEP program, and certification numbers, login information, and CEC history will remain intact. In addition, ACSM will reissue and mail hard-copy credentials to the address we have on file for you.

    Clinical Exercise Physiologists will unquestionably remain the gold standard for the exercise profession. ACSM and CEPA will be strategically focused on boosting the prominence of the clinical exercise professional to current and future employers, refining and clarifying the important role they play in preventing, managing, and treating chronic diseases and conditions in health care and throughout society, and improving the quality of care for patients. Please contact us via if you have questions, comments, or suggestions.

    In health,

    Francis B. Neric, M.S., M.B.A.
    ACSM National Director of Certification

    Meir Magal, Ph.D., FACSM, ACSM-CEP®
    ACSM Certification Board (CCRB), Chair 

    Brad Roy, Ph.D., FACSM, ACSM-CEP®
    ACSM Clinical Exercise Physiology, Credentialing Chair

    Michael Lynch, M.S., ACSM-RCEP®, RD
    ACSM Registered Clinical Exercise Physiology, Committee Chair

  • Doping Control in PyeongChang – Fighting for Clean Sport at the Winter Games

    Matthew N. Fedoruk, Ph.D. | Feb 13, 2018

    Four years after the Winter Games in Sochi were corrupted by one of the largest and most egregious doping scandals in history, the best athletes from around the world once again are gathered to compete atop snow and ice. In PyeongChang, South Korea, they are competing in sports that demand speed, precision, endurance, and big air. With the 2014 Winter Games now synonymous with a Russian doping scandal that involved cocktails of performance-enhancing drugs and swapping urine samples through mouse holes, athletes and fans worldwide have never been more aware of the need for meaningful action to protect the integrity of the Olympics. 

    Motivated by these events, athletes from at least seven countries have united behind #MyMoment in a global movement to explain why clean sport matters to them, and to demand that their irreplaceable Olympic moments be protected from doping. Olympians and Paralympians of all ages and disciplines have taken a stand for the moments they’ve earned as clean athletes, including biathlete Lowell Bailey, who lost the medal he earned in 2014 to an athlete who doped. These athletes exemplify both the power of the athlete voice and the many reasons why clean sport is worth fighting for. 

    In this turbulent and frustrating environment, it is perhaps more important than ever that the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) in South Korea execute a comprehensive and effective doping control program. During the Games, the POCOG is utilizing highly trained Doping Control Officers (DCOs) from experienced anti-doping organizations worldwide to collect samples from athletes at any time and location throughout the Games. The International Olympic and Paralympic Committee policies also allow for long-term storage and reanalysis of samples, meaning a sample can be pulled from a freezer vault and analyzed using the latest technologies for a period of 10 years after the Games. This serves as a significant deterrent to any athletes who believe that their legacy cannot be tarnished due to discovery of doping long after the Games. 

    For most of the athletes at the Games, the doping control process is very familiar because elite athletes must comply with anti-doping rules throughout their athletic careers. Many athletes will provide dozens of urine and blood samples, both in and out of competition and without advance notice, during their careers. Even after they arrive in PyeongChang, athletes must continue to submit Whereabouts information so DCOs can find them — anytime, anywhere — in the athletes’ village, dining hall, training venue or at a competition. 

    For in-competition testing, athletes are notified as soon as they step off the field of play. The athlete is closely chaperoned, even during media interviews and medal ceremonies, until the urine and/or blood sample is provided and secured. 

    The WADA-accredited laboratory based in Seoul is then responsible for all the sample analysis. Working around the clock, and reporting many results within 24 hours, scientific experts conduct analysis to identify more than 250 prohibited substances and methods that are included on the WADA Prohibited List. Athletes will also have their biological passports scrutinized, which could lead to further target testing or additional sophisticated analyses. 

    If there is an adverse analytical finding, or positive test, an athlete may face repercussions unless they have a valid Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE), certifying a legitimate therapeutic need to use a prohibited substance. In the absence of a TUE, athletes can choose to have their B sample tested to confirm the positive finding of their A sample. To ensure due process, the athlete is afforded the right to present their case before an independent Court of Arbitration for Sport panel. 

    In addition to advocating for clean athletes’ rights both nationally and internationally, USADA provides our U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes with comprehensive education and resources, including Supplement 411 andGlobal Drug Reference Online, to ensure they are equipped with the information they need to compete clean. To further prepare them for the Games, USADA required U.S. Olympians and Paralympians to complete educational programs to learn about Games-specific doping control measures. 

    In partnership with Stanford University, USADA also developed HealthPro Advantage: Anti-Doping Education for the Health Professional, which is designed to help physicians learn about anti-doping rules so they can better serve athlete patients. All ACSM members can take the HealthPro course for free and physicians can earn CME credits for completing the corresponding evaluation materials. 

    The voices of athletes and their support networks are critical in the fight for clean sport, but it remains crucial that all who believe in a level playing field stand together to demand that sport leaders protect the integrity of sport. Clean athletes train their whole lives for their irreplaceable podium moments and every moment matters in PyeongChang! 

    Editorial Note: USADA is the national anti-doping organization in the U.S. for Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American, and Parapan American sport. For more on USADA’s mission, responsibilities, programs, and resources, see U.S. Anti-Doping Agency on the web. SMB is grateful to Dr. Fedoruk for sharing with our readers his insightful views in this commentary on doping control – an undertaking inherent to providing fair and clean competition for athletes at the Winter Games in PyeongChang.

    Matthew N. Fedoruk, Ph.D., is an ACSM member and the current science director at the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). Next month, Dr. Fedoruk will support doping control oversight at the Paralympic Winter Games as a member of the Anti-Doping Committee for the International Paralympic Committee. Dr. Fedoruk was responsible for managing anti-doping operations at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. As a recognized expert in the field of anti-doping science and doping control, Dr. Fedoruk also serves as a member of numerous World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Expert Groups.

  • The Science of Figure Skating: Jumps

    Deborah King, PhD | Feb 12, 2018

    One of the most anticipated events of the Winter Games is men’s and ladies figure skating, where we will be treated to grace and athleticism. Skaters glide across the ice, seemingly effortlessly, maintaining their balance in dizzying spins, quadruple jumps, and intricate footwork sequences. Landing a jump known as a quadruple flip on opening day, American Nathan Chen is the first man to complete a “quad flip” at any Olympics. Two days later, Mirai Nagasu landed a triple Axel, the first American woman to complete at triple Axel at any Olympics.

    How do skaters jump over 24 inches in the air, rotate faster than six revolutions per second, and land on one foot while balancing on a 3/16-inch wide blade and skating over 15 mph? Within the field of sports science and medicine, biomechanists work to answer these questions, studying the forces and motion of athletes to advance training, improve equipment design and prevent injuries. 

    The science behind the jumps

    To land a quadruple jump, skaters must trade-off the needs for both height and rotation. Too much effort driving upwards with their arms for height can mean slower rotations in the air. A stronger rotation pushing off the ice can mean less force to jump high. While never measured directly in a quadruple jump, calculations from 3D motion analysis suggest skaters average close to 150 foot-pounds of torque and 300 pounds of force against the ice as they spring into the air to complete a “quad”, and that is for a 150-pound skater!

    To rotate fast in the air, skaters tend to be small, because that helps them spin quickly.  But don’t be deceived! Despite their size, skaters are strong—not only with their legs for jumping, but with their arms too. During a quadruple jump, a 150-pound skater is rotating so quickly that their arms are being pulled away from their bodies with 180 pounds of force. It’s the same sensation you feel in your arms when you’re on a merry-go-round, only much greater. To maintain their rotation speed and get four rotations in the air before their skate hits the ice, skaters must counteract this “centrifugal” force by pulling their arms tightly into their body with 180 pounds of force. Any space between their arms and body means their rotation will be slow and they may not get around to the proper position to land the jump. 

    Being short of rotation can cause a skater to fall, but so can being “óff-axis.” If the skater leans too much to one side during take-off, they will be tilted in the air and land with their body too far inside or outside of their foot to maintain balance. Once in the air, skaters can’t fix any take-off mistakes. They can’t get more height, and they can’t straighten an axis that is tilted. They may be able to “pull-in” tighter and hold their rotation longer, but most skaters are already holding the smallest body position for as long as possible. 

    To land, pushing out with the leg and arms stops the rotation and bending the knee of the landing leg absorbs the impact force on the ice allowing the skater to land smoothly.  These intricate components of a successful jump come together in less than one second.  So, as you watch competitive figure skating, marvel at the grace and athleticism knowing the strength and power demands of sport and a bit of physics behind a successful jump.

    You can learn more about the biomechanics of figure skating via this recorded webinar presentation from this blog author Deborah King, PhD, by clicking here

    Deborah King, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. She earned her bachelor's degree from Bates College, M.S. in Exercise Science from University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and her PhD in Biomechanics from The Pennsylvania State University. Her research focuses on applied sport biomechanics, landing mechanics, 3D analysis of human movement, balance control and strategies and figure skating. 

  • Is Middle Age Too Old to Start Exercising and Seeing Benefits? Research Shows That It's Not Too Late!

    Erin Howden, PhD | Feb 09, 2018

    How old is too old to begin exercising? Recent findings from our group suggest that middle age is not only a good time to get started with exercise training, but it also can help you overcome the negative impact of years of being inactive or sedentary.

    There is a growing recognition of the negative impacts of sedentary behavior in academic research. My team of researchers has previously demonstrated that “sedentary behavior” compounds the effect of aging on cardiovascular function and increases the risk of heart disease. We have also shown that very high levels of exercise training performed over a lifetime can offset these effects, and preserve cardiovascular function to levels similar to healthy young individuals. Importantly, evidence from bedrest studies, which are useful models of accelerated aging characteristics, suggest that exercise training is an extremely effective countermeasure to the effects of inactivity on cardiovascular health.

    Based on these studies, we decided to investigate whether exercise training could in fact overcome the effects of sedentary behavior on cardiovascular health.  We recruited a group of healthy, but sedentary middle-aged individuals to participate in a two-year exercise training study. Each participant was prescribed an individualized exercise program, based on their fitness levels as summarized in Table 1.  The amount of exercise prescribed was progressed gradually from three sessions of moderate exercise per week for the first couple of months after which high intensity interval training was included. We employed this strategy for several reasons, including: 

    1) to build an exercise routine, and 

    2) to minimize the risk of musculoskeletal injury.

    Table 1. Weekly exercise program to improve cardiovascular health

    1. One high-intensity aerobic session per week, e.g. 4×4 intervals – 4 sets of 4 minutes of exercise at 90-95% of maximum heart rate followed by 3 minutes of active recovery at 60-75% of maximum heart rate

    1. Two or three days a week of moderate intensity exercise (where exercisers sweat but can still carry on a conversation), for 30 minutes

    1. At least one long session of moderate intensity exercise, such as an hour of brisk walking, cycling, tennis or dancing

    1. At least one weekly strength session


    What did we observe? After two years of training, cardiovascular health was dramatically improved! Fitness increased by almost 20 percent, meaning on average the cardiovascular age of participants decreased by about five - ten years. Importantly, no one in the exercise training group decreased fitness – although of course there was variability in the response. We also observed a large (about 25 percent) reduction in heart stiffness. 

    What does this mean for you? This study demonstrates that exercise can improve your health and quality of life, no matter what age you are. It also provides support for the current physical activity guidelines. If you have been thinking about starting an exercise program, there is no better time to begin than today.

    Dr. Erin Howden is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia. She completed her PhD at the University of Queensland, and then took a post doctoral position at the Institute of Exercise and Environmental Medicine in Dallas, Texas, where she worked in Benjamin Levine's laboratory. Dr. Howden's current research seeks to determine whether exercise training can improve physiological function in various diseases, which represent an advanced ageing phenotype.