Society of Exercise Physiologists
Vol 8 No
5 May 2004
Lonnie Lowery and Dr. Tommy Boone
Strategies for Increasing Awareness of ASEP by the ASEPNewsletter
Dr. Lonnie Lowery
Certified Exercise Physiologists from the recent May 1, 2004 EPC
test site at St. Scholastica.
Article by a
graduate student about exercise physiology. The author's
name is Nykole Grippe. The title of the paper is Exercise
Physiology Professionalism: Personal Reflections
About the Recent 6th ASEP National Meeting by the ASEPNewsletter
Dr. Tommy Boone
Additional articles by graduate students
are published in this month's
for a review of our upcoming professionals in the filed.
Quote of the
Month: “Never cease to pursue the
opportunity to seek something different. Don’t be satisfied with
what you’re doing. Always try to seek a way and a method to improve
upon what you’re doing, even if it’s considered contrary to the traditions
of an industry.” – Howard Marguleas
Don't forget to check out JEPonline
research articles. The ASEPNewsletter
"highlight" this month is: Nutrition and Exercise
BALANCE DURING 24 HOURS OF TREADMILL RUNNING byJON K. LINDERMAN1,
and LLOYD L. LAUBACH of the University of Dayton, Dayton, OH, USA For a
pdf copy, click
“3-Cs” of Leadership: Courage, Caring,
and Commitment ASEP
members, there are three things we should remember. First, it takes courage
to lead. Second, caring for the loss that academics suffer when asked to
stop supporting sports medicine is a significant part of leadership. Third,
commitment is vital to change.
Torch Moves Forward by
Dr. Jesse Pittsley. He writes: "While attending the 6th annual
American Society of Exercise Physiologists (ASEP) national meeting this
past month I came to a rather profound realization. During the meeting,
the young founder of the Wisconsin Association of Exercise Physiologists,
Jason Young, gave a presentation regarding the value of creating ASEP affiliated
state organizations. Specifically, Mr. Young spoke about unifying
Exercise Physiologists (EPs), he described some of the important topics
surrounding EPs, and he outlined the steps to create a state organization.
While listening to this speech, an interesting thought came to mind.
That thought was, I've heard this before.”
Strategies for Increasing Awareness of ASEP
Lonnie M. Lowery, MA, MS, Ph.D.,
ASEP National Secretary,
Co-editor ASEP Newsletter,
Nutrition, Exercise & Wellness Associates, LLC
Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44222
A primary drive of recent Board of Directors (BOD)
meetings has been improved promulgation (i.e. marketing) of the American
Society of Exercise Physiologists. Stimulated by more than self-interest
(ASEP growth for its own sake), the marketing of ASEP goes beyond the singular
goal of business marketing that hopes to increase its "bottom line". The
expansive new ASEP marketing plan is meant to save a profession from extinction.
Several approaches have been included in the recently-formalized business
plan, each with specific measurable objectives. Following are just two...
Expanded use of the ASEP E-News (email version of
the longstanding web Newsletter) will be used to invite a wide variety
of potentially interested students and professionals into ASEP. This invitation
will include 10 critical reasons to join as well as benefits for those
who make the commitment to ASEP and the Profession. Exercise science graduates
looking to practice in the field need to know WHY they should join ASEP
and become true exercise physiologists (EPCs).
Part of this marketing initiative can eventually
focus on faculty "gatekeepers" as well...
A "faculty education" campaign on was also seriously
considered at the recent National Meeting. Awareness among exercise-related
faculty that recent graduates are entering a nebulous, unlicensed and multi-certification-polluted
"profession", with extremely poor earning potential relative to other health
professions, (Wattles, M. ASEP Annual National Meeting, April 1-3, 2004)
is a key goal for this campaign. Is an exercise science degree currently
worth its LARGE monetary / time investment when EP licensure is nearly
non-existent among states? Is it worth it when other, established legalized
professions are simply certifying themselves in our hard-earned, 4-6 year
education/ skill set?
Indiana recently considered legislation that would
move EP opportunities to PTs. And despite a position paper that diet itself
is ineffective for weight control, RDs have created weight management certificates
that include physical activity. And why shouldn't these professions want
to branch out from their traditional roots and get a piece of the growing
wellness/ prevention/ treatment markets? They are simply protecting and
expanding their charters. We must do the same to create a climate of proper
referral to the best trained professional for each specific client's/ patient's
But back to the faculty awareness initiative. Without
full disclosure to incoming students of the legally rare, underpaid and
threatened exercise physiology profession, doesn't it become an ethical
dilemma then, for universities to accept tens of thousands of dollars in
tuition payments (and related Departmental benefits)? This question can
be asked because ultimately, the unlicense-able exercise degree conferred
is often unworthy of supporting even a lower-middle class lifestyle. Without
ASEP, advisor referral to other Programs (PT, RD, and various associate
degree programs) may well become the only ethical advice for any incoming
student wishing to make a living in exercise, commensurate with his or
her education/ time/ money investment.
Although the BOD and many ASEP members at the faculty-level
are aware that some students pursue knowledge for its own sake, as common
to the humanities (indeed noble), it is also recognized that many (most?)
students entering a health-related profession expect to earn a better living
by actually utilizing their chosen profession. Exercise Science faculty
advisors who eventually recognize this potential conflict of interest in
which they participate should gain interest in ASEP. Hence the proposed
"faculty education" initiative. That is, ASEP's informational flyers, meetings,
structure, accreditation, and legal initiatives will create legal value
and subsequent earning potential to an exercise physiology degree - and
faculty can know they are justified in recruiting hopeful new students
into their programs. Presently, however, accepting money/ enrollment and
unwittingly encouraging an over-positive career outlook in an unrecognized
"profession" (that is rapidly being annexed by other licensed health professions)
The faculty education initiative, in whatever form
it takes, should open many eyes. The resulting "trickle-down effect", from
fully-aware faculty "gatekeepers" to their students, of the REAL job market
and its legalities should increase ASEP membership as this ethical/ legal
awareness grows. It'll be an uphill battle; "fighters" are welcome.
In summary, you can see that much discussion has
gone into the new and sweeping marketing initiatives of ASEP. Their results
- which will be measured in various ways - should help everyone.
About the Recent 6th ASEP National Meeting
Tommy Boone, PhD, MPH, MA, FASEP, EPC
Professor and Chair
Department of Exercise Physiologists
The College of St. Scholastica
Duluth, MN 55811
Having just returned from the
6th ASEP Annual Meeting, it occurred to me how much exercise physiology
has changed. At another time, the meeting would have been 100% about
research and more research. The only people who presented research
were those with the doctorate degree or working on the doctorate.
This fact alone didn’t catch me by surprised having attended national meetings
since the early 70s. What caught my attention was the interest in
professionalism and not just the research. The generally unrecognized
topics such as starting a state chapter, accreditation, board certification,
the future of exercise physiology, and reasons for autonomy and accountability
were interesting and the attendees wanted to know more!.
Just think about it. A decade earlier
ASEP did not exist. Times were just as difficult then as they are
today. During 1998, at the first ASEP meeting in Duluth, MN, everyone’s
thoughts were new about the organization and, frankly, about what the presentations
should be. Then, as is still true today but less so, the majority
of the presentations were about research and the physiology of sports training.
Gradually, the participants have come to expect the presenters to utter
words more fitting for an evolving profession. For exmaple, "What
is the purpose of a vision?" "What is a scope of practice important?"
"What is the value in having a code of ethics?" "How is the ASEP
certification different from other certifications?" "Why should undergraduate
academic programs be accredited?" These questions and more need discussing.
Students and faculty alike need an understanding of what it takes to professionalize
Lincoln, the President of the United States,
said it best: “The dogmas of the quiet are inadequate to the stormy
present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must
rise to the occasion. As our cause is new, so we must think and act
anew….” Just as an education is important to getting ahead in the
United States, professional programs of study that are accredited are important
in being successful. However straight forward these concepts are,
not all students understand them. They may value getting a college
degree, but have little understanding of the importance of credibility.
Academic programs that are not accredited may be viewed poorly in light
of accredited programs much like accredited institutions. We quickly
recognize the value of academic accreditation. The degree itself
is inextricably linked to the department or institution accreditation status.
The striking and continuing unchanged fact
regarding exercise science academic degrees (taken to mean exercise physiology)
is that they are failures. Unchanged from decades ago the degrees
are not accredited. Perhaps even worse yet, they fail students by
not having a philosophy to guide programmatic changes. And, one of
the greatest mistakes is the idea that the undergraduate degree is nothing
more than a transition into graduate school. We need to remind ourselves
continually and assist others in doing so that most exercise science degrees
are actually kinesiology degree programs, which are actually one or two
courses from a physical education degree. We have not come very far
from home plate, and our reliance is still on a traditional system of thinking
that is entirely outdated for exercise physiology. Challenges abound
as more of us come to this understanding and support changes in the educational
In this new 21st century of exercise physiology
within the ASEP perspective, the failure of not having excellent academic
programs with consistency throughout the United States is critical to our
success. Improvement in the quality of the students’ education is
highest on the list of the ASEP priorities. It is instructive to
note that the ASEP Board of Accreditation has accredited six college and
university academic programs. Both students and faculty benefit from
the accreditation process. Also, the continuing newness creates professional
opportunities and a sense of urgency to move exercise physiology along.
Certainly enhancing collaborative and positive relationships with other
professionals and organizations help to ensure independence and recognition
of exercise physiology as a healthcare profession.
With these changes there is an increasing
appreciation of the exercise physiology body of knowledge. Having
recognized the logical link between mind and body as well as the obvious
need to integrate diverse subjects into the study of exercise physiology,
our education (when properly constructed and implemented) is an excellent
foundation from which to teach lifestyle management skills. Virtually
all conditions of health and illness can benefit from regular exercise,
and who better to prescribe exercise than the “exercise physiologist”.
It is a model that isn’t just obvious but of considerable importance since
it has great potential for influencing the healthcare system. The
results from our research are now being used as a "prescription" just as
medicine is prescribed for diseases. The knowledge for prevention,
perhaps, better yet postponement, of many illnesses and diseases comes
largely from understanding the role of exercise in markedly changing the
body under acute and chronic exercise conditions.
It is beyond the scope of this article
to demonstrate how our knowledge will be used to benefit society.
Tomorrow’s exercise physiologists will not look anything like the years
of gym rat work for the low dollar. Academic and hands-on skills
linked to new course work are changing the face of exercise physiology
application. Emphasis on connecting with the client and using technology
to describe and identify physiological functions are creating a culturally
different definition of exercise physiology. With increased diversity
of technological application linked to unparalleled changes in the curriculum,
the career opportunities are going to increase dramatically with prevention
programs and sophisticated thinking about postponement and/or controlling
of genetically linked diseases and/or dysfunctions. All of this and
more is an expected reality because exercise physiologists are now finally
planning for their future.
The contributors to the 6th ASEP National
Meeting moved exercise physiology forward a significant degree in just
two days of presentations and meetings. There is simply no way the
participants could have walked away from the meeting thinking about yesterday.
The 21st century exercise physiologist is board certified to practice.
This difference between now, guided by ASEP, and before, guided by sports
medicine, is appreciated by those who have taken the time to think critically
about what it means to be a professional. Although it is encouraging
even though the change process is not at a phenomenal rate and force, it
is nonetheless changing. Everywhere there are signs that changes
are occurring. Exercise physiologists of the past decades are beginning
to say: (1) "ASEP is here." (2) "It has done a lot in a very short time."
(3) "I may not have liked their decision to develop a professional organization
outside of the context of sports medicine." (4) "Frankly, they have proven
that they have heart." (5) "From what I know about it, their actions have
helped students and exercise physiology.”
Exercise physiologists need to think beyond
the laboratory or, at least, take their laboratory thinking to the real
world. In the not too distant future, the number of elderly persons
(those over 65 years of age) will increase dramatically. These individuals
will need accurate and timely information about exercise, rehabilitation,
and cognitive strategies to keep themselves healthy. I believe that
this is an ideal market for exercise physiologists (as well as childhood
obesity). Instead of working just in the market places defined by
the younger crowd, exercise physiologists will work in rural or remote
areas and inner cities where their knowledge of exercise, physiology, anatomy,
rehabilitation, biomechanics, nutrition, and cardiovascular assessments
will be used to assist the elderly in developing and maintaining their
mind-body health. Exercise physiologists will be equipped to administer
comprehensive anatomical and physiological assessments. Their work
will be based on solid, evidence-based, scientific principles.
Of course not everyone will agree with
my very brief look into the future and what I concluded from the meeting.
Many academics still resist change. They are not comfortable with
the notion that change is inevitable. So, they will work hard to
keep things as they have always been. ASEP advocates should probably
remember that it is human nature to resist change or to be skeptic about
change. We will need to learn how to deal with them and, thus help
those who are experiencing a certain degree of chaos. In time, I’m
sure we will hear more positive comments from those who believed that it
was fundamentally impossible to change. They will be frustrated at
first, but I believe they will commit themselves to exercise physiology.
There will be dozens of reasons for the change in how they think about
ASEP and its leadership. What is important to remember is that support
for our students is critical and, wherever it comes from, we must always
be grateful and ready to receive. Eventually, shaped by diversity
in our thinking as healthcare professionals, but driven by our desire to
build exercise physiology, we will collectively benefit exercise physiology
Change of this magnitude is the making
of a profession. It takes an entirely new shift in thinking; a model
so different from the past that it fosters conflict and hope. It
is no wonder that exercise physiologists often experience a little bit
of both feelings (even at the recent ASEP meeting). What we must
remember is that it is vitally important that we stay the course.
We cannot allow the tragedy of not having our own professional organization.
We need it to lead us as board certified healthcare professionals with
academic training in health, fitness, rehabilitation, and athletics.
Physiology Professionalism: Personal Reflections
Board Certified Exercise Physiologists
Department of Exercise Physiology
The College of St. Scholastica
Duluth, MN 55811
"Often the difference between a successful [person] and a failure
is not one's better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to
bet on one's ideas, to take a calculated risk -- and to act." --
Having completed my undergraduate work at The College of St. Scholastica
, professionalism of exercise physiology has always been a topic of
discussion and reflection. I was surprised to learn that this is
not the case among many other college and university programs. When
I declared my major as exercise physiology, I knew I had found exactly
what I wanted for my career. But, I had no idea it was only in its
beginning stages. While many will choose to follow the paved path,
I look forward to overcoming the challenges that the future holds for the
development of exercise physiology as a well-known, respected, credible
Credibility and respect are determined by the public, not only by other
professionals. To accomplish this, the public must understand what
services exercise physiologists can provide. It is difficult to expect
the public to distinguish a true exercise physiologist from someone who
is not academically prepared in the field but uses the title. This
may provide the public with a false image of exercise physiology.
The American Society of Exercise Physiologists has formed a strong
organization of focused leaders and members to achieve professionalization
and establish a vision for the future. Exercise physiology is defined by
“The identification of physiological mechanisms underlying
physical activity, the comprehensive delivery of treatment services concerned
with the analysis, improvement, and maintenance of health and fitness,
rehabilitation of heart disease and other chronic diseases and/or disabilities,
and the professional guidance and counsel of athletes and others interested
in athletics, sports training, and human adaptability to acute and chronic
Many practicing professionals refer to themselves as exercise physiologists,
although their degree is actually exercise science (or one of many other
names). A degree in exercise science, kinesiology, or biomechanics
is not a degree in exercise physiology. One cannot graduate with
a degree in nursing and refer to him/herself as a doctor. Not only
is this illegal, it is unethical. Therefore, why is it that so many
are graduating with degrees in academic areas other than exercise physiology,
and referring to themselves an exercise physiologist?
The American Society of Exercise Physiologists has begun the
process of identifying exercise physiology as a profession. Since
its founding in 1997, the ASEP has developed a mission statement, vision,
code of ethics, certification exam, accreditation process, and done much
more to move toward professionalization. This is the first and only
organization designed specifically for exercise physiologists.
The certification exam is currently designed as a two part process:
a written portion and a practical portion. The purpose of the certification
is to test the candidate's competence, including adequate academic and
technical knowledge, the ability to apply such knowledge skillfully and
with good judgment, and an understanding of professional, ethical responsibility.
Successful completion of the exam allows the candidate to be legally and
professionally referred to as an “Exercise Physiologist Certified".
This certification identifies those who are academically prepared exercise
Accreditation of exercise physiology programs has been developed as
a way to standardize academic institutions. This process ensures
that students in accredited programs are receiving the highest quality
of education, therefore, are worthy of the title exercise physiologist.
This process will improve existing programs and extinguish substandard
programs. Without accreditation, institutions are able to turn out
students who will use the title without ever having hands-on experience.
Accreditation benefits not only students, but also institutions, employers,
and faculty. There are currently six accredited programs, but I believe
this number will increase greatly in time.
The next step in professional development is the implementation of licensure.
Licensure is a legal credential conferred by an individual state.
Mandatory licensure forbids anyone to practice without a license, while
permissive licensure allows anyone to practice as long as he or she does
not claim to hold the title. Licensure protects the public as well
as the practitioner from unsafe practices. It will increase the status
level of exercise physiology in relation to other healthcare professionals
and likely lead to increased coverage and recognition by health insurance.
One would not see an unlicensed physician, physical therapist, or nurse,
so why do we expect the public to seek services from an unlicensed exercise
The American College of Sports Medicine is currently the most
widely known professional organization for health sciences, which is expected
as it has been around for 50 years . The organization offers three
certification options: Health/Fitness Instructor, Exercise Specialist,
and Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist. Requirements to sit
for the Health/Fitness Instructor certification are a degree in a related
field and CPR certification. This “related field” includes nutrition,
biology, nursing, PT, and OT. Why, then, can exercise physiologists
not sit for a certification meant for dieticians (ADA) or physicians (AMA)?
The Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist certification actually requires
that candidates must have a degree in exercise science or exercise physiology,
as well as 1200 hours of experience. Because ACSM certifications
require the purchasing of study materials (ranging from $105-140), one
has to wonder what their motivation is behind certification. Is it
really to enhance the professional or money? Although ACSM provides an
organization for many professionals, most also have their own, more specific
organization. ACSM, however, would like to keep exercise physiology
under its control.
The American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation
offers two certifications: a Cardiac Program certification and a Pulmonary
Program certification . Many of these professionals are also members
of ACSM. Why are cardiopulmonary professionals also seeking additional
membership in an organization for sports medicine and not exercise physiology?
I believe the answer is simply that many are not aware that they have the
option. AACVPR was founded in 1985, much later than ACSM and only
a few years before ASEP. Yet, the public and other healthcare professionals
know and respect AACVPR.
This shows that acceptance of ASEP is just a matter of time. There
are many barriers for exercise physiology to overcome on the road to professionalism.
We must remember that life is changing; therefore, professions must evolve
to meet the needs of the people. Our specialized body of knowledge
must be known by the public and ASEP must be recognized as our professional
organization. Without this regulation, we will not be acknowledged
as professionals. Professions have autonomy. Many exercise
physiologists do not have independence in the clinical setting. ASEP’s
development of certification, accreditation, and efforts toward licensure
will lead to a monopoly over services, and, in turn, autonomy. To
achieve a monopoly, exercise physiologists must establish an understanding
of what services we can provide that will benefit the public. We
must then demonstrate a strong commitment to retain this specialized area
as our own.
Professors are partially responsible for the lack of discussion on the
topic of professionalization. Many institutions fail to make students
aware of what to expect after graduation. Many come out of college
with student loans and find it difficult to find an adequate job.
This leads many to search for another career, but this is not the answer;
we cannot give up what we have a passion for in exchange for an easy future.
We simply have to take action for what we believe in. And, frankly,
I understand that it is difficult for those who have been working as exercise
physiologists to accept change. They have spent years under the ACSM
umbrella without being recognized for their vast amount of knowledge.
While it is not easy to leave the comfort zone, it is necessary if exercise
physiology is to become a profession of its own.
Established professional organizations took many years to become what
they have, and continue to change with the changing needs. In a few
short years, ASEP has nearly caught up to some of these organizations due
to the strong drive behind its members and leaders. We must realize
that advances such as these take time. We have to talk about ASEP.
Students, faculty, and practicing exercise physiologists should be discussing
ASEP and their goals for the future with each other, as well as with other
healthcare professionals and with the public. This is the most efficient
form of advertising. We need to network with other healthcare professionals
and form alliances with other professional organizations. . Doctors,
nurses, physical therapists, and occupational therapists need to know what
services can be provided by exercise physiologists. They need to
be aware that we are not taking their clients, but adding another aspect
to their treatment with our specialized area of knowledge.
It is a difficult time for supporters of ASEP. While many want
to encourage ASEP as the organization for exercise physiology and become
EPC, it is not the required certification for many job opportunities.
I am certified through ASEP, yet I feel obligated to get another certification
that will be more recognized by employers to increase my likelihood of
finding the career I want. I would prefer to support ASEP and encourage
employers to accept the EPC, as I believe it is the superior certification,
but coming out of graduate school, I do not have the luxury of turning
down any job that I am offered. I may have to do things I would rather
not do in order to get where I want to be, but once I get there I will
be in a much better place to have a voice and make changes.
In the short time ASEP has been around, it has made huge advances in
the development of a profession. However, it is impossible for any
organization to grow without support from members and other organizations.
It is the exercise physiologists who would like to be considered professionals
that are responsible for its growth and advancements. This will only
happen if we take action; we cannot sit back hoping for something better
and expect others to carry out a plan to improve our lives.
1.The College of St. Scholastica. (2004). [Online]. http://www.css.edu/
2. American Society of Exercise Physiologists. (2004). [Online]. http://www.asep.org/
3. American College of Sports Medicine. (2004). [Online]. http://www.acsm.org/
4. American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.
(2004). [Online]. http://www.aacvpr.org/
Board Certified Exercise Physiologists!
Elizabeth L. Abbey, EPC
Nicole Beachman, EPC
Jonathan Berger, EPC
Jason A. Brabec, EPC
Stephanie Fleming, EPC
Desiree J. Granowski, EPC
Jonathan C. Gullett, EPC
Jillian E. Johnson, EPC
J. Rob Lovrich, EPC
Jessica McGregor, EPC
Jesus Medina, EPC
Gloria R. Olguin, EPC
Kevin Ritsche, EPC
Mel J. Sando, EPC
Elizabeth A. Schultz, EPC
Andrew Sieberer, EPC
Jocee M. Volk, EPC