Copyright 1997-2005 American Society of Exercise Physiologists. All Rights Reserved.


August 2005
 Vol. 9 No. 8.
 Editor: Dr. Lonnie Lowery

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August BOD Editorial
"Entrepreneuring "200"
Durak, E.
Rapidity In Strength Training Will Unload The Muscles And Limit Full Range Strength Development Adaptation. (Fifth on page)
Johnston, B.D. 
Faculty as Role Models
Birnbaum, L.

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Entrepreneuring "200": The Next Step in ASEP Leadership
Eric Durak, MSc

The recent newsletter article by Aliisa Criffield makes some significant points regarding the training in exercise physiology, and the job availability within that same field. There are a few significant questions that come to mind, and I will try to answer them within the scope of this article.

#1 What's In a name?
The first point that is brought up in the Criffield article is that persons with degrees in EP are hired for positions that are not called "Exercise Physiologist". A prime example are the job offerings for EPs within the very ASEP newsletter from this month. All three jobs require the services of a clinically trained (research trained) EPs. The job postings, however, read as follows:
a. Research (Exercise) Physiologist
b. Exercise Specialist
c. Clinical Exercise Physiologist

Does the second job not count because it isn't called EP? I also will direct readers to look over my job listings at the bottom of this article. One says company president, the other is wellness specialist. The reason for the first - I earned the title as President by owning and operating a private business for over 10 years. The reason for the second - someone else defined the job title. If one asks me what I am qualified as, I tell them "Exercise Physiology". I don't necessarily let the title EP dictate who I am, or the work I do. I make it clear to people that my training is in this discipline, and I am a professional in this area. 

#2 What about Reimbursement and the Money Issue?
The profession of Exercise Physiology will NEVER receive reimbursement for their services! Why would the author of the Reimbursement Guide for Health and Fitness Professionals make this statement? Over the past 14 years no one in the EP profession (mainly in ACSM and other such agencies) has understood the way healthcare works well enough to position EPs as a reimbursable area for healthcare services.

Does that mean that EPs can't get their services reimbursed? Looking at other agencies, such as Health Care Dimensions ( they have made a significant business in the senior wellness market, and recently, the HCD business was sold to a larger health care agency for over 80 million dollars!! This is due in part to the ability of HCD to acquire health care contracts from private HMOs and Medicare Plus Choice in many markets.

I have preached to those who will listen for many years that going after health care contracts is THE way for EPs to become a solid member of the healthcare community. Trying to replicate the decade-long efforts of counselors and dietitians is NOT the way to ensure reimbursement. Having a solid CONTRACT for a particular wellness service IS! Consider Personal Health Approach in Rochester, NY. This personal training/exercise therapy studio received a contract with Empire Blue Cross in 2001, and has been doing close to $1 million per year since that date. It has certainly changed the way the community looks at this "provider" of worker's compensation post rehab services. Is the director an EP? No - but he hires them when needed. He fills a niche because he knew how to obtain HMO contracts (he is not eligible for reimbursement).

In my opinion, I think that a critical step for ASEP is to have information on dealing with HMOs with regards to local and regional health plans, national networks, and through hospital and even health club administrators (who may not equate the value of EP services with a new HMO contract). Companies such as American Specialty Health Plans (San Diego, CA), and Wellness Health Plans (Reston, VA) are network agencies that already do business with health clubs and other wellness companies. There is no reason I see that EPs could not negotiate to have their hospital, wellness center, OR health club become a network provider member - pending they agree and are willing to work within the tenets of the existing contracts. Otherwise, they are free to provide their own contracts with other HMOs.

#3 Should I Pursue Self-Employment or the Golden Job?
No one has the perfect job. Many in health care complain about working conditions or pay raises. In most of the reports I have read through ASEP, the plight of the EP usually stems from trying to seek a job that will pay them according to their education, experience, and abilities. In very few instances do I hear about EPs who are involved with some level of self-employment, whether as a full time endeavor, or as a side job in addition to their employment capacities.

There are many other professions where persons working full-time devote some additional time to an internet site, product development, consulting, etc. to earn extra income, and push the envelope within their profession. A recent discussion with a Connecticut-based EP found that (after working on the clinical side for years), he developed a web site after three years of research and investigation into his area of fitness and the market. He now projects over $300,000 per year off this web site - because he took the time to develop a business and a marketing niche that very few were involved in, and now markets full-time for this business, which will be very profitable for him in the coming years.

In my estimation, many [traditional] jobs will have no golden parachute. In the profession of EP, there never really was. With the exception of tenured professors, most who work in the area of exercise physiology hopefully have a good retirement plan from their work, because their base pay is not among the highest of wage earners. Have some type of self-employment mentality (research consultant, product development, writing and editing, sales and marketing); it may be essential to increase income and provide an opportunity for EPs to become involved in other areas of health promotion, and increase awareness about the profession (and its versatility).

#4 What about Relationships - Now and in the Future?
Lastly - I believe that EPs MUST engage in developing relationships with persons that may enhance the image and marketability with our profession. Here are my thoughts on a few of these prospects.

a. Hospital CEOs and administration. When possible attend meetings or present at meetings that administration also attends. It should be a done deal when they can see the quality of the work that EPs can provide as part of a healthcare system.

b. Technology providers. I think that many more EPs should be involved with internet technology and product sales. Three years ago I consulted and wrote copy for a wellness technology web site, and was earning over $50 per hour for brief health tips for this site. These opportunities will continue to present themselves, and both ASEP board members and organization members should be forging these relationships.

c. Pharmaceutical representatives. At the onset - this may seem like an odd relationship. Don't we stand for the opposite of what drug companies are all about? In many cases, yes. With the current troubles by many drug manufacturers, an insider tells me that many of these companies are looking for wellness "brands" to differentiate their business from the many others in the market place. Drug companies are mostly market driven (doesn't say much for their take on the quality of their products), but dealing with high quality wellness products, services, or brands is something they are looking for. They need to see that there is a financial as well as clinical reason to develop the relationship. Until now - most EPs have not been able to give a clear definition of why are are the ones to develop this relationship with.

d. Other health care professionals and organizations. As I mentioned in my lecture at the ASEP conference in MN, a bariatrics company CEO is excited about the prospect of working with EPs to deliver exercise as part of bariatrics contracts in the future. I am now working with two professionals (one fitness, and the other marketing) to develop a wellness program for bariatrics patients. It is an opportunity that I feel will mark a turning point in providing clinical exercise services in healthcare settings.

In summary, there are opportunities for EPs in emerging markets of healthcare and technology. Part of the ASEP strategic plan should be to survey members on what they think about working with one or more of the above-listed entities, and where ASEP should focus its attention on within the coming year. It could make for a year of growth and ground breaking avenues that other organizations never succeeded at. I will personally be happy to lend any amount of information possible to assist in moving this agenda forward with ASEP. I hope to have the support of other ASEP members as they receive information in their own regions regarding opportunities and relationships that will further the cause and profession of exercise physiology.

Mr. Durak is President, Medical Health and Fitness and Wellness Specialist, Department of Facilities Management, University of California, Santa Barbara.

References/ Further Reading:
1. Criffield, A. There is a Need, and the Need is Great. ASEP Newsletter. 9(6), June, 2005.
2. Daugherty, S. Entrepreneuring as an Exercise Physiologist. PEP Journal Online. 8(4), April, 2005.
3. Durak, EP. How Exercise Physiologists can Maneuver into a Solid Healthcare Niche with Bariatrics Patients. PEP Journal Online.. 7(7), July, 2004.
4. Boone, T. The Giving Away of Exercise Physiology. PEP Journal Online. 7(4), April, 2004.
5. Boone, T. The Entrepreneurship of Exercise Physiology. PEP Journal Online. 6(3), June, 2003.
6. Durak, EP. The Exercise Physiologist as an Entrepreneur. PEP Journal Online.. 3(2), July, 2000.

Ask the Professor: Your Inside Scoop on Tough Questions

with Dr. Don Diboll (August guest is again Dr. Lonnie Lowery)
Note: Ask the Professor is intended for informational purposes only. It is not to be taken as healthcare advice. Please do not submit questions of a personal nature (e.g. fitness programs, nutrition advice solicitation, etc.) Thanks.

Q.)  Are very-low carbohydrate diets appropriate for athletes?.

-A frequent question

A.)  The short answer is no - at least compared to non-athletes. Dietary carbohydrate and subsequent glycogen replenishment are imperative to support performance and reduce fatigue. Since skeletal muscle gets the majority of its fuel for intense activity from "in house" (locally stored) carbohydrate, athletes need to put it back. The peri-exercise period (pre-, mid-, post-) is an opportune time to do this, for hormonal and enzymatic reasons.

In the uncommon case of an over-fat athlete with a family history of glucose intolerance or diabetes (or known lab values indicative of poor carbohydrate metabolism), lower carbohydrate intake (and/ or low glycemic index carbohydrates) may be called for outside of the "peri-workout window". Due to individual differences, it's important to discuss such questions and exercise-diet interactions with a physician.

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California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
3801 West Temple Avenue
Pomona, CA 91768

Assistant Professor in Exercise Physiology,
Kinesiology & Health Promotion Department

Applications are invited for the position of Assistant Professor of Exercise Physiology. Duties and Responsibilities: Teach undergraduate and graduate courses in exercise physiology/laboratory and related areas in exercise science, participate in academic advisement, supervise masters theses and serve on thesis committees, engage in research/scholarship and grant writing, and represent the discipline through departmental, college, university, and community service. Required Qualifications: Earned doctorate in kinesiology or exercise science with an emphasis in exercise physiology (PhD required by July 1, 2006). Strong background in exercise physiology required. Additional preparation in exercise metabolism, muscle physiology, exercise biochemistry, and research methods/statistics desired. Evidence of research and grant writing desired. ACSM certification desired. Strong interpersonal and communication skills required. Date of Appointment: Appointment begins Fall 2006. To be considered for the position, submit (1) letter of application, (2) statement of teaching philosophy including teaching within a multicultural environment, (3) completed application form, (4) curriculum vitae, (5) official transcripts showing all graduate course work, (6) a minimum of three recent letters of reference, and (7) names and contact information for at least two additional references. Materials must be postmarked by October 15, 2005. If a candidate is ABD, registrars verification is required if the status is not indicated on the transcript. Inquiries may be directed to Ms. Charlene Saunders (, 909-869-2768, or FAX 909-869-4797). Please request an application form from and send application materials to:

The Search Committee
Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
3801 West Temple Avenue
Pomona, California 91768

The University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.

Copyright ©1997-2005 American Society of Exercise Physiologists. All Rights Reserved.  All materials posted on this site are subject to copyrights owned by the American Society of Exercise Physiologists (ASEP). Any reproduction, retransmission, or republication (in whole or in part) of any document or information found on this site is expressly prohibited, unless otherwise agreed to by ASEP and expressly granted in writing to consent to reproduce, retransmit, or republish the material. All other rights reserved. 



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