Sports Medicine 2B: Personalizing Your Practice

Sports Medicine
Career Pathway Course Units

Unit 1: Preparing for a Group Exercise Class

If you’ve ever attended a group fitness class like aerobics, dance, spinning, barre, or HIIT, you know that when all the factors are right you leave the class feeling amazing—like you could conquer the world! Yes, exercise-induced endorphins are partially to thank for this, but the behind-the-scenes work of your exercise instructor is also critical to the comfort and success of class participants, even though these factors don’t have anything to do with the actual physiological changes in the body. Or do they? Does the music selection make a difference in your desire to move? Can the temperature of the room help determine your level of effort? Does the volume, tone, pitch, and projection of the instructor’s voice increase your ability to persevere through pain-producing isometric holds, when all you want to do is quit? These are all considerations the instructor thinks about as they prepare for a group fitness class.

Unit 2: Teaching Group Exercise Classes

Teaching is communication, so to be an effective group fitness instructor, you must first understand yourself and how you communicate. Are you loud and tough or energetic and bubbly? Do you avoid conflicts or address them right away? Once you determine how you want to present yourself in front of a group, it’s time to turn your attention to your clients and the ways they learn. Support participants by cueing them at just the right time to help them finish a hard move or to show them you noticed their perseverance. Cheerleader, expert, coach—you wear lots of hats as a fitness instructor, but you can handle it!

Unit 3: Creating Exercise Plans for Diverse Groups

In our perfect fitness world, everyone would love to exercise and be able to execute all movements perfectly. However, when you step into your classroom—in other words, “the real world”—you’ll notice that there are likely a few participants who don’t seem to even need an instructor, while the rest lean on you for support. Those who need your support might desperately want to be more physically fit, or maybe they were told by family or physicians to get in shape. No matter their reasoning, they need you, and to reach them, you’ll have to use your knowledge of anatomy and best teaching practices in unique ways.

Unit 4: Rehabbing with Exercise

Tissue damage that results in a person’s inability to be active during recovery can be devastating to their future health. Regardless of the cause of the damage, a client needs to move to fully recover. You can do something about that! You may need to wear a few different hats as you help them rehabilitate their impaired tissue. The most obvious hat is that of a trainer, whether personal or in a group setting, helping them to progress from no activity to being involved in any fitness program they desire. The second hat is for an educator, teaching clients about their anatomy and physiology and the motions they need to perform (or avoid) during rehab. The final hat? That’s for being a counselor or cheerleader. Rehab takes a long time, so be prepared to provide clients with the care, concern, and encouragement they need to work through this period of pain, fear, or frustration.

Unit 5: Trends in Sports Medicine

You’ve heard it said: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Being excited to go to your job every day is a blessing, and to get to this point, it is important to look critically at all aspects of your potential career. Your passion for exercise and its health benefits have shaped your decision on a career in a sports medicine field so far. Now, it’s time to consider the many paths you can take in the fitness world and what trends and techniques will let you help clients meet their goals. How will you make your mark in the fitness world?

Unit 6: Your Responsibility: Sports Medicine Legalities

Did you know that Milan, Italy, has a law that states citizens must smile at all times except during a funeral or inside a hospital? Sometimes laws feel arbitrary, but more often than not, they are in place to protect us. In sports medicine, laws and industry standards help prevent avoidable accidents leading to injury, and they protect professionals if they are liable for a client’s injury. Unlike the law in Milan, we have to pay attention to these! It is up to you to be aware of your surroundings and make sure clients are exercising safely. Let’s look at some of the legal practicalities of working in sports medicine to make sure we’re prepared to fulfill our duty to do no harm.

Unit 7: The Business of Being Fit

When you walk into a well-run health club, do you notice the office details that make it such an organized and perfectly functioning business? Probably not and, really, you shouldn’t! If a health facility has solid operating procedures in place and a good business plan, the “business” part of the organization shouldn’t even be recognizable to clients. Easier said than done, though! Getting to this point requires intentional planning and the ability to train employees to carry out that plan. Let’s start thinking about what it would actually be like to run a successful business like this!

Unit 8: Your Career

Sports medicine excites you. It makes you want to get out of bed to go help people. You are so energized by this field that you see yourself one day owning your own facility! Expanding on your knowledge about what it takes to own a fitness business will help you cement your plan—from finding a building or plot of land to operating within legal limits. Your future is only bound by your imagination!