EXS101 Students Writing for Success

Each semester, students in the EXS 101 class, Introduction to Exercise Science, Kinesiology and Physical Education, are asked to write a research review article about a topic they are interested in sharing.

Congratulations to Joshua Ferguson, Riley Crosby, Brittany Kloster and Luke Kapala for their excellent work in Fall 2014!  They were the top four selections from over 60 students!

Read their articles here!

We are so proud of our hard-working and dedicated students!  Success begins right here at GCC!


Fitness Trends for 2015

Fitness Trends for 2015: What’s Hot, What’s Not

The results of the Annual Survey of Health and Fitness Trends are in!

What is “in” for 2015:

  1. Body weight training – appeared in the trends list for the first time in 2013, now it is #1!
  2. High Intensity Interval Training
  3. Educated, certified, and experienced fitness professionals – this was #3 last year as well.
  4. Strength training
  5. Personal Training
  6. Exercise and weight loss
  7. Yoga – This was #10 last year and is moving upwards.
  8. Senior fitness – a growing market that seems here to stay for a while
  9. Functional fitness
  10. Group personal training – while this one fluctuates on the list, it still tends to stay in the top 20 as personal trainers get more creative with their personal training packaging.
  11. Worksite health promotion
  12. Outdoor activities
  13. Wellness coaching – this one took the biggest jump from #17 in 2014
  14. Circuit training – first appeared in the top 20 in 2013
  15. Core training – Core training was in the top 5 from 2007 to 2010, so it is interesting that it is dropping. However core training may be a part of other programs ranked in the top 10.
  16. Sport specific training – this one took a hit falling from 8th in 2010 and has declined since then
  17. Children and exercise for prevention of obesity – this was #11 in 2014.
  18. Outcome measurements – first time in the top 20. This addresses accountability and ways to track outcomes to prove that selected programs really work. This comes in the forms of new apps and technology not just for the individual, but for managers and owners of facilities
  19. Worker incentive programs – this one appeared in the top 20 list back in 2011 and represents a resurgence of worksite health promotion now that the economy might be stabilizing
  20. Boot camp – while in the top 50 since 2008, this one did not reach the top 20 until 2010 when it held the #16 spot. The highest spot it held was #8 in 2011, so it will be interesting to see if it can continue as a trend in the future.

Thompson, Walter. “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2015: What’s Driving the Market.” ACSM Sports Bulletin.

EXPT Career Expo Success

Career Expo Gives Students Fitness Industry Insight

November 20, 2014

Experts in the field attended the EXPT Career Expo.

On November 14, 2014, GCC Exercise Science and Personal Training students met more than 20 experts in the fitness and wellness field at the First Annual Exercise Science and Personal Training Career Expo.

Participating organizations included the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), Arizona State University (ASU) School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, Northern Arizona University (NAU), Foothills Recreation and Aquatic Center, GCC Sports Medicine, GCC Exercise Science and Nutrition Club, Rio Vista Recreation Center, P1 Kids, LA Fitness, Royal Oaks, Valley of the Sun YMCA, Foothills Sports Medicine, Title Boxing Club, Grace Fighting Systems, Tortoise and Hare Sports, Staywell Health and Wellness Coach, and several entrepreneurs including Akard Fitness, Big Joe’s Little Gym, and Certified Fitness LLC.

These organizations helped students plan their fitness careers, learn to network with experts and find local job opportunities.

The event would not have been such a success without the generous help of Laura Hinau, Director of Career Services; Celeste Anderson, Fitness & Wellness Department Volunteer; Skyler Hollingsworth, Fitness & Wellness Department staff; Stephanie Sawyer, Lisa Lewis and Joann Pell, Fitness & Wellness Faculty; Laura Avila and Shohreh Moshrefzadeh, Food and Nutrition Faculty; and the Exercise Science and Nutrition Advisory Council.

About the event, students said:

“I realized that I can really broaden my horizons.  There is so much to offer in this field.”

“I learned about transferring to university.”

“I had an interview set up!”

“What an awesome networking opportunity!”

“Everyone was so helpful and interested in my professional goals.”

“There are so many opportunities in the field!”

“I received fitness business info that was crucial.”

“I learned about internships and different certifications.”

Did you attend? If so, use our feedback form to tell us how to make next year’s event even better.

5 Recommendations for Aspiring Personal Trainers


In a recent article, Eric Cressey, fitness enthusiast and owner of Cressey Performance, advocates that students take a thoughtful and planned approach when considering whether to enter the field of Personal Training.  The Personal Training program at Glendale Community College follows Cressey’s advice, preparing students to make that well-informed decision.

Here are Cressey’s top five recommendations:

1. Go observe a few current fitness professionals who are successful in their crafts. Ask questions and get a feel for whether this is a good fit for you before you jump into the deep-end, quitting your job and investing all sorts of cash in a career change.

EXS101, the first course in the GCC Personal Training Program, gives students an opportunity to explore career options in the field and meet people working in the industry.  During an internship requirement students 80-240 hours working alongside the experts.

2. Wait a year to get a certification. What?  Huh?  This is supposed to come first, right?  Wrong.  Getting a certification without any background experience makes you a liability, not a professional.  Every penny you spend in that first year should be on books, DVDs, seminars, and travel to go observe other coaches/trainers in action.  And, you should be taking advantage of all the free resources there are for you to get educated online.  Don’t ignore fitness industry business resources, either; they aren’t taught with certifications or degrees, but are tremendously important.

Prior to obtaining certification, GCC students can complete one of three certificate programs or earn an associate’s degree. These programs give you a solid exercise science background and hands-on experience working with clients before you take the national certification exam. After completing these programs you’ll be more employable, and a better resource for your clients.

3. Get an internship. This is an extension of #1 – and it still comes before getting a certification.  You need to log at least three months of 40-hour weeks somewhere learning your craft and paying your dues.  Get a feel for whether you could see yourself doing this long-term.

Obviously, this is a concern because it would require you to quit your job, so you’d need to save up for this period.  However, you would be amazed at how many interns are hired by facilities after their internship period is over (all our “hires” at Cressey Performance have been former interns).  And, most facilities will pay for your certification and CPR/AED training, and some will even give you a continuing education stipends on top of it.

We agree. That’s why the internship is an integral part of the educational plan at GCC.  The Personal Trainer Certificate internship requires  80 contact hours, and it does not have to be done in a 40-hour week. The Associate’s Degree internship is 240 contact hours, but can be divided up between semesters if necessary.

4. Get a certification. Yes, it is step 4.  Frankly, I don’t really care what certification you get because none of them really wow me, but then again, I have a hard time justifying an undergraduate exercise science degree for $100, let alone $200,000.  If I was 18 today, I’d save all that money, get an internship, and spend the cash on loads of books/DVDs – and taking selective courses (gross anatomy, kinesiology and biomechanics). Most jobs will require it even if it is just a small foot in the door.

The certificate or an associate’s degree from Glendale Community College will prepare you to be a successful trainer.  You’ll need an NCCA-accredited personal trainer certification to get any job in the field. If you want to increase your earning potential, consider higher education – a bachelor’s, master’s, or a PhD. Whatever your goal, GCC is the perfect launch pad for the rest of your educational plans.

5. Pay your dues. There is no way around it.  You aren’t magically going to have a full client roster on your first day of a job; you have to start somewhere.  I can promise you that you will be better off with the background you’ve created with steps 1-4.

In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell talks about the importance of accumulating 10,000 hours in order to become an expert in one’s field.  There are only 8,760 hours in a year – and even if you assume 60-hour work-weeks, it’s still going to take over three years to get to that 10,000-hour mark.

Be the best intern you can be – and absorb all the learning possible. Work at a fitness center front desk so you become familiar with the needs of customers and clients. Volunteer in your community. Give presentations.  Go to high schools.  Go to church groups. Go to health fairs. Practice, practice, practice.  Your years of experience will become another major selling point when you apply for that dream job!

I’d like to hear your questions or stories about your personal training educational experience. Reach me at louise.so@gccaz.edu.

What’s Your Medicine?

May is Exercise is Medicine Month. I’m so excited to have another reason to tout the benefits of being physically active.

I believe exercise is better than medicine because there are only positive side effects. You can reduce the risk for heart disease, cancer and stroke, and make a dent in obesity risk too!

The hardest part for most is making the first move from the sofa or office chair. Once you get moving, the benefits begin to appear. The body immediately starts producing endorphins, the happy hormones, that give you that feeling of exhilaration. The long-term effects include a healthier, more efficient heart, improved endurance, and a better overall quality of life.

You may not be ready for the suggested goal of 150 minutes per week. That’s okay! Do what feels good for now. Do something you enjoy. And find a friend to join you.

Check in with your doctor and see if your cholesterol, triglycerides and blood-sugar levels are within the ideal range. Tell your doctor about Exercise is Medicine.

Exercise is Medicine is a joint effort, that began in 2009, between the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Medical Association (AMA). The goal is to have physicians check on patients’ physical activity and exercise participation as an important part of their overall treatment plan.

Doctors would hopefully motivate their patients to seek out a fitness professional to help get them started on a safe and effective path to lifelong exercise.

How many minutes of exercise did you do today? I challenge you to examine your daily doses of exercise during the month of May. You may be surprised at your health outcomes!

Personal Trainers Trending in 2013

Well, it looks like it’s cool to be smart! The number-one fitness trend for 2013 on the ACSM annual survey is Educated, Certified and Experienced Fitness Professionals.

If you are not already signed up for one of the fitness certification programs at Glendale Community College, now is a great time!

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a faster than average job growth rate for fitness professionals (24% thru 2020).


Get Certified!

All of the best trainers are certified. Some have multiple certifications that include specialized training. If you are new to this field, you should plan to get certified. Spend some time reviewing the national fitness organizations before you commit.

If you want to get hired by the best employers, prepare to show a minimum of a community college certification along with your national certification.

At Glendale Community College, you can get multiple certificates of completion in personal training, nutrition and group fitness, as well as an Associate of Applied Science in Strength, Nutrition, and Personal Training.

These programs are a great way to prepare to take a national certification exam. The field of fitness and wellness does not have one specific certifying agency.

We encourage students to get certified through organizations that are accredited with the National Commission on Certifying Agencies (NCCA). These include what we call “the big four”: American Council on Exercise (ACE), American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

Staying Active for Life

We offer an online class called Active for Life. The curriculum is adapted from Human Kinetic’s Active Living Every Day (ALED) course. I know you are probably wondering how an online course can help someone be more active. Well, here’s how.

The course takes each participant on a journey of self reflection. It doesn’t matter if you are a couch potato or an Ironman triathlete. This course will give you tools to make you better!

You will learn to:

1. Replace sedentary activities such as watching TV with active ones such as taking short walks.

2. Become aware of the benefits of being physically active, especially the ones that most matter personally.

3. Set short- and long-term goals for becoming and staying active.

4. Reward yourself for reaching short- and long-term goals.

5. Get support from family and friends.

6. Turn negative thoughts into positive ones.

7. Monitor how much activity is done every day by counting steps or minutes.

8. Become flexible in thinking about what counts as physical activities.

9. Discover new ways to manage stress and time better.

10. Find new opportunities for activity close to work and home.

11. Plan ahead for situations that might cause relapse.

Every semester, students report on how the course surprised them. Every student can find at least three items on the above list that helped them in some way.

I personally love the “two-minute walk” idea. Most people would say “why bother?” Well, two minutes are better than no minutes! And people find that once they are out of their chair and moving, they end up walking further anyway.

Students find themselves dancing to music while cleaning the house, parking in the farthest parking spot, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and donning their walking shoes on 15-minute work breaks.

They discover things like active vacations in exotic places and walking trails in their local community. They learn that just because they miss a few days of activity here or there does not mean they have failed.

Students learn about the five stages of readiness to change from the Transtheoretical Model for Behavior Change: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance.

If someone is in the pre-contemplation stage, they have no intention of exercising and do not believe the benefits outweigh the negatives.

Most people who sign up for the class are in the contemplation phase, however. They want to be fitter and healthier, but every time they try, something prevents them from progressing through the preparation, action and ultimately, maintenance stages.

Students review websites that promote health, fitness and behavior change, and they share ideas with classmates in an online discussion forum. People really open up and share personal feelings and experiences. There is a great sense of community and camaraderie.

We ask the students to complete a personal time study. They regularly report how active they are over 24 hours. People are always shocked when they see it on paper. The bare naked truth staring them right in the face!

This is not a required course in the Personal Trainer Certification program, but it would certainly add to a trainer’s bag of tricks. The course addresses some of the psychology of motivation and behavior change.

A trainer who takes this course to better himself or herself will be better equipped to show empathy, warmth, and genuineness toward a client. You can sign up for EXS123 Online at GCC. You’ll be glad you did!