Featured Blogs
  • Tips for Presenting an Award-Winning Poster at an ACSM Regional Chapter Meeting

    by Caitlin Kinser | Sep 26, 2022

    Woman talking to a man and pointing to a research posterAs graduate students, we spend tireless hours collecting data, gaining knowledge about our field, and learning new laboratory techniques (often into the wee hours of the morning). Conferences provide us an opportunity to finally showcase our hard work. Presenting your research at conferences is one of the best opportunities to tell your story as a graduate student.  

    This spring I presented a poster at the Rocky Mountain ACSM Regional Chapter meeting and was ultimately named the 2022 ACSM President’s Cup winner at the national annual meeting. However, long before I presented my poster at the Regional Chapter, I went through several iterations of red-inked proofreads. I learned a lot about what to do and what not to do. If you are planning to present a poster at an ACSM regional chapter meeting, consider these tips to increase the effectiveness of your presentation.

    Read every part of your poster out loud (even the references).

    Making errors when creating a poster is inevitable, but reading your poster out loud helps you catch these errors. Remember, your research should tell a story. As you read your poster out loud, listen and make sure your poster is clear and easy to follow from start to end. 

    Use fellow students as resources.

    Research is rarely completed alone, and therefore you should not complete your poster alone. Rely on your fellow students to proofread. Often other people can catch errors that you might miss, especially if you created the poster while sleep deprived (we have all been there!).

    Create a visually appealing poster.

    It is important to create a poster that stands out among the competition. Breaking up the text on your poster with scientific images is a key way to make your poster stand out. Consider supplementing your introduction section with an image demonstrating your aims and hypotheses or consider implementing a protocol schematic into your methods section. An excellent resource is BioRender. It is free and has thousands of relevant life-science icons.

    Set aside extra time to print your poster.

    Often when you print your poster, you will catch formatting errors or blurry images that you did not see on your computer screen. It is immensely helpful to have extra time to fix and re-print your poster when any of these issues arise. It is worth the time to fix these issues before you leave for your conference.

    Be familiar with the judging rubric.

    Seek out the judging rubric specific to the conference. For the ACSM regional chapter, the judging rubric equally weighs significance, innovation, project design, ability to respond to questions and poster design/presentation skills. It is important that you spend time working on each part. It is tempting to focus solely on the visual aspect of the rubric, but the oral aspect of the rubric is equally important.

    Craft a compelling elevator pitch.

    An elevator pitch is a quick (~30 second) synopsis of your research story that appeals to your audience.  Once you get the attention of your audience, you can go into detail about your experimental design and relevant results. When you are at the conference, there will come a point in time where the judge will approach your poster and ask you to explain your project. If done well, this is a moment where you can shine.
    lightbulb iconTIP: Implement the “ABT” formula (ABT=And, But, Therefore) to nail your elevator pitch. The “ABT” formula is a universal story structure which is highly successful in scientific communication. Use the word “and” to set up the scientific story by establishing a few facts. Next, use the word “but” to establish the problem or a gap in knowledge. Finally, use the word “therefore” to suggest the solution that your research attempts to address; you can think of this as your purpose statement.

    Field questions from people with a variety of backgrounds.

    The judges assigned to your poster will likely have diverse scientific backgrounds. Therefore, when preparing for your poster presentation, practice fielding questions from people with a variety of backgrounds. Present your poster to your mom, your classmates, your professors–heck, you could even present your poster to your crazy neighbor. Consider how someone from an industry perspective might perceive your research compared to someone from a molecular science perspective. Not only will this prepare you for any question you may receive, but it will also allow you to consider your research from a broader viewpoint.

    Make sure your poster adheres to the ACSM Regional Chapter guidelines.

    Every conference has slightly different poster guidelines. Make sure you follow the guidelines closely. Be familiar with specific poster requirements like the size requirements, inclusion/exclusion of an abstract and recommended sections headers. This is a small, but crucial, way to demonstrate your attention to detail.

    Ultimately, presenting your research at conferences is a fun opportunity to showcase your work and knowledge. When done well, a poster presentation can help you build a reputation as a highly rigorous scientist with impeccable research skills and attention to detail. Good luck as you prepare for ACSM regional chapter meetings!

    Watch Sophie's Winning presentation: "One Week of Time-Restricted Eating Improves Markers of Cardiometabolic Health in Healthy Adults."


    Sophie Seward, MS, is a Ph.D. candidate at Colorado State University in the Sleep and Metabolism Laboratory. She is specifically interested in the impact of lifestyle interventions to improve cardiovascular health such as exercise, diet, heat therapy and sleep in people at risk for cardiovascular impairments. She is the winner of the 2022 Presidents Cup at the ACSM Annual Meeting, representing the Rocky Mountain chapter. 
  • 11 Tips for Instructors Bringing Students to ACSM Regional Chapter Meetings

    by Caitlin Kinser | Sep 22, 2022
    11 tips or students attending ACSM regional chapter meetings

    One of the best parts of being a faculty mentor is taking students to regional conferences. You get to show them inspiring scientific content and introduce them to peers and colleagues who share their passion for sports medicine and exercise science. 

    If you’re planning to take students to an ACSM regional chapter meeting, consider these tips to help maximize their conference experience. 

    1. Review the conference program beforehand. 

    Conferences can be overwhelming, but reviewing the program before you attend helps set you up for success. This is especially important for first-time attendees. Discuss the different types of sessions (e.g., symposium, tutorial, thematic poster) with your students and help them choose which sessions they want to attend. You can even highlight a few presentations that you personally plan to attend or that you think would be good for your students to check out. 

    2. Have your students think about their goals for the conference. 

    Ask your students why they are attending the conference and what they hope to accomplish there. Having goals will allow them to be more intentional with their meeting experience. 

    3. Help them develop a personal “elevator pitch.” 

    As faculty, we all have our own “elevator pitches.” We’ve been doing our work for a while and understand what role we play in the advancement of our field. Our students, however, are relatively new to the discipline and may not know exactly who they are as professionals and what they hope to accomplish. Ask your students to think about who they are, what they’ve accomplished, and what they hope to do next in the context of our field. 

    4. Remind them it’s okay to step out of one presentation to attend another. 

    Often, there are several interesting presentations going on at once. Remind your students it’s perfectly fine to step out of one presentation to attend another. Just try to be respectful — sit in the back or close to the aisle, and try to move when the speakers are switching. 

    5. Encourage them to show up to their lab mates’ sessions. 

    Remind your students that friendly faces in the audience help calm nerves, and that they’d want the same support. 

    6. Remind them to talk with the conference’s student representatives. 

    The student representatives are great contacts. At SEACSM, our student reps help answer questions about where sessions are located and also put on a 5K —and this year we are looking to do a student bingo game to help encourage students to meet peers and other conference attendees. 

    7. Ask your students to identify one or two presenters they would like to network with personally. 

    Networking is one of the most important things students can do for their careers because you never know when you’ll meet someone again, especially in our field! Encourage your students to meet one or two new people, learn more about their research and find common ground. Encourage them to talk about research, but also try to make a personal connection — finding something they have in common outside of academia can help students feel more at ease and like they belong. 

    8. Encourage them to say yes to opportunities that might arise. 

    You never know where one “yes” will lead you. Encourage your students to make connections with researchers outside of your school. It could jumpstart their career. 

    9. Remind your students to follow up with people they connected with. 

    While making connections at the conference is important, you need to follow up on them. Make sure your students find a way to connect with contacts after the conference, whether via LinkedIn or email. Faculty should also consider creating an easy way to provide people with their contact information, like a QR code that links to a PDF that includes their abstract, email address and Twitter handle. 

    10. Check in with your students. 

    Conferences can be a little overwhelming. Take the time to check in with your students and see how they feel the event is going. 

    11. Finally, remind them to have a great time!

    Learn About Regional Chapter Meetings

    Bhibha M. Das, Ph.D., MPH, FACSM, is a public health and physical activity practitioner and researcher with over a decade of experience in the field. Prior to joining academia, she spent four years working with communities, including underserved and rural ones, to develop, implement and evaluate physical activity promotion programs and policies. Dr. Das’s research agenda focuses on physical activity promotion as the cornerstone for improvements in quality of life in a variety of populations. Das earned degrees in public health and kinesiology from the University of Illinois and is currently an associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology at East Carolina University as well as a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine® (ACSM). She also serves as member-at-large in the Southeast Chapter of ACSM (SEACSM). 

    Katherine (Katie) E. Spring, M.S., is a doctoral candidate in Dr. Danielle Wadsworth’s Exercise Adherence and Obesity Prevention Lab at Auburn University. While at Auburn, she has been elected to serve as student representative for SEACSM as well as ACSM’s Student Affairs Committee. She received her master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Mississippi State University. Prior to attending Mississippi State, she received her associate’s degree from Holmes Community College, where she also played for the college tennis team. Her research primarily focuses on the effects of physical activity and play on physical, behavioral and learning outcomes in young children. 

  • The Pressing Need for Sports Medicine in Motorsports

    by Caitlin Kinser | Sep 08, 2022

    nascar cars on a blue backgroundAutomobile racing is one of the largest spectator sports in the world, with a viewing audience equal to that of soccer, and most people, regardless of their interest in the sport, can name famous race events like the Daytona 500 or Indy 500 and drivers like Jeff Gordon, Mario Andretti or Lewis Hamilton. The popularity of automobile racing has also grown in recent years thanks to the Netflix documentary series Drive to Survive and the feature film Ford vs Ferrari. Yet if you were to ask, “Are race car drivers athletes?” most responses would be “no.” Many people think drivers just sit in the car while the vehicle does the work. However, racing drivers routinely compete at heart rates of 160-180 beats per minute, can lose up to seven pounds sweat  during a race and are exposed to gravitational forces that rival those experienced by fighter pilots and astronauts.

    For the past fifteen years, my laboratory, Spartan Motorsport Performance Laboratory,  worked to dispel the notion that race car drivers are not athletes by documenting the stressors they are exposed to, their physiological responses to these stressors and the overall fitness requirements for driving race cars. In the short term, we seek to identify evidence-based training and nutrition practices that will optimize driver health and performance—efforts that have contributed to drivers winning the Daytona 500, 24 hours of Le Mans, Baja 1000, and Monaco Grand Prix, as well as several NASCAR, Formula 1 and IMSA championships. In the long term, we want racing drivers universally recognized as the athletes they actually are, increasing their access to the sports medicine practices enjoyed by their peers in more traditional sports.

    If you were to tour a traditional professional sport’s team training facility, you would encounter a state-of-the-art sports medicine clinic with modern equipment and certified professionals (e.g., physician, athletic trainer, sport psychologist, exercise physiologist, strength and conditioning coach, dietician) dedicated to optimizing athlete performance and rehabilitating injuries. However, if you were to tour a professional race team facility, you would discover a venue equal in cost and personnel expertise focused on the performance of the race car, yet lacking sports medicine support. Certainly, there are highly skilled medical personnel (e.g., the IndyCar Safety Team) present at the racetrack who respond to and treat drivers during a crash, but establishing a day-to-day health and training regime is often the sole responsibility of the driver. In many racing contracts, it is up to the driver to source their own physical training/nutrition advice and sports medicine care, often at their own cost.

    To document how drivers manage their sports medicine care, I worked with Drs. Abigail C. Bretzin and Julia N.D. Hines to evaluate racing driver knowledge, attitudes and reporting behaviors regarding concussion (published in The Translational Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine in 2022). Like most contact sports, concussion is a concern in motorsports and a serious injury if not properly treated. We used validated surveys to assess knowledge, attitudes and reporting behaviors in 59 professional race car drivers and determined that most drivers were aware of concussion symptoms and the dangers of improper management of concussion. Alarmingly, though, we learned that only half the drivers reported a concussion to their team, the reason being that they did not want to let their race team down by being unable to drive the car. Placing the responsibility on the driver to direct their own health care and training cultivates a culture of drivers choosing between their health and their career.

    Auto racing has seen substantial improvements in driver health and safety in recent years, and the next step is to increase the presence of sports medicine health care teams within motorsports. Drivers and race teams should be taught about the physical stressors of and physiological responses to driving, along with how a sports medicine team can mitigate these issues. Sponsors should be taught that, in addition to funding the race car and driver salary, they should consider funding health care professionals within the race team. For their part, sanctioning bodies should be taught about the importance of sports medicine and encouraged to consider regulations that would increase drivers’ access to such critical resources. Lastly, sports medicine physicians, athletic trainers, physical therapists, exercise physiologists, nutritionists, strength and conditioning coaches and sport psychologists should turn an eye toward motorsports and consider whether their expertise could benefit this underserved population.

    David P. Ferguson, Ph.D., FACSM, is an Associate Professor of Kinesiology at Michigan State University. With over 15 years of research experience in professional auto racing, Dr. Ferguson focuses on helping racing drivers improve their performance while staying safe. He began his journey by earning a B.S. in Kinesiology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Following this, he earned an M.S. in Clinical Exercise Physiology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in exercise physiology from Texas A&M University and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Nutrition and Cardiovascular Physiology at Baylor College of Medicine. He has published multiple scientific papers on racing driver physiology and served as author and editor for a book, “The Science of Motorsport” on the topic. His expertise supported drivers in the winning of three NASCAR Cup series Championships, an IMSA Sportscar Championship and two Formula 1 World Championships. He has also helped drivers win notable races such as the Daytona 500, 24 Hours of Le Mans, 24 Hours of Daytona, and the Baja 1000.

  • New Guidance on Open Access to Federally Funded Research: How ACSM's Newest Journal is Positioned to Help

    by Caitlin Kinser | Aug 29, 2022

    man wearing a VO2 testing mask on a treadmillEarly in 2022, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), in conjunction with publishing partner Wolters Kluwer, announced the launch of a new research journal, Exercise, Sport, and Movement (ESM). ESM represents ACSM’s first-ever open access journal, thereby making its content free to anyone interested in the subject matter. As the person selected to be ESM’s Inaugural Editor-in-Chief, I have since fielded many questions about open access, particularly, “why should I publish in an open access journal?” Fast-forward to August 25, 2022, when the White House released a significant announcement dictating that all future taxpayer funded research, and the resulting dissemination of such research, shall be freely available to U.S. taxpayers without further delay.

    Practically speaking, what this means is that all current and future federally funded research results must be published in an open access journal, like ESM. Part of the argument for this change is that U.S. taxpayers fund literally billions of dollars of important research, especially in the broad area of health, yet most of it sits behind paywalls for extended periods of time and is therefore not available to those same taxpayers who provide the funding. This will no longer be the case, and ESM, thanks to the foresight of ACSM and Wolters Kluwer, is perfectly positioned to begin publishing federally funded research, along with all other research, that fits the scope of the journal.

    To be clear, publishing in general does not come without costs, as there are production processes necessary before the information becomes available. Open access journals move those costs from the reader to the researcher. Therefore, ESM, like all other open access journals, does have an article processing charge, or APC, however, ESM’s fees are lower than most and vary by submission type.

    “When research is widely available to other researchers and the public, it can save lives, provide policymakers with the tools to make critical decisions, and drive more equitable outcomes across every sector of society,” said Dr. Alondra Nelson, head of White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). “The American people fund tens of billions of dollars of cutting-edge research annually. There should be no delay or barrier between the American public and the returns on their investments in research.”

    All federal agencies will be expected to have their respective policies updated and fully implemented by December 31, 2025. However, agencies will be expected to update their public access and data sharing plans right away, by mid-2023.

    In the end, this is a monumental decision by the White House to give back to the taxpayers. At the same time, ACSM and Wolters Kluwer fully anticipated this, leading to the development and launch of ESM. Now that the OSTP has made open access the new standard, ACSM, Wolters Kluwer, and of course, ESM, are excited to be a key outlet for publishing federally funded research.

    Learn More About ESM

    Submit Your Work to ESM

    Gary LiguoriGary Liguori, Ph.D., FACSM, is the dean of the College of Health Sciences and a professor of kinesiology at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, Rhode Island. He is the Senior Editor of the 11th edition of ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (GETP11), and the Editor-in-Chief of Exercise, Sport, and Movement.