Exercise Physiologist Career Conversations

     Hi! I work at CGI seeing Alexis here and my job title is an exercise physiologist. I went to NDSU in Fargo and I got an exercise science degree. And I also have a minor in Psychology. I went to school for four and a half years took me four years to get a bachelor's degree in exercise physiologist science. And then I took cement half-semester or another semester to get my minor in Psychology typical day would become to work in the morning. And I spend the earlier part of my morning either working in cardiac rehab or our Occupational Medicine Clinic and then in the afternoons and evenings, I work in the acceleration Sports training facility up here trained athletes.


Training of an Exercise Physiologist

    The training goes it’s a program that's going to improve speed power strength agility and athletes. So they're doing treadmill workouts to improve speed. They're doing plyometric work for the agility lower body explosiveness of it. We have a weight program that we set up with them to strengthen the core and the different running muscles type that those types of things. We have sport-specific programming. So somebody that wants to just focus more on, you know, one aspect of their a baseball player in there a picture, you know, we focus on that or a volleyball player and they want to work on their hitting. Exercise physiologists have programming to just focus on specific things that they like to improve on cardiac rehab.

Exercise Physiologist
Exercise Physiologist


    Working with patients that have either had an undergone a cardiac procedures something like open-heart surgery or having a stent placed or something like that or they've had a cardiac event such as a heart attack or been diagnosed with congestive heart failure and what we do with them then is we come in and we do their rehab do different exercise with them monitoring their vitals are blood pressures heart rates oxygen saturation and with the goal in mind of trying to get the heart strengthened and get the get that person back to where they were before everything happened.

    So they can live their normal daily routine and activities. It's you know, a full-time 40-hour a week job with sometimes some extra hours having to go into it. So anywhere from probably 40 to 45 hours. It's a very fast-paced job.


Whether it's Sports training in the acceleration program or cardiac rehab?

    Yeah. It's very fast-paced you always Got to be ready for change things to change you might be you know, working with an athlete and all of a sudden they roll their ankle something like that. So you always got to kind of be ready to you know, there's more to it than just training or training the athletes not only you know, I'm proven in their sport, but we're doing things to prevent injuries from happening. So things are always changing on the cardiac rehab side of things you might be working with a patient and everything's fine and then all of a sudden things can go south and there, you know, they could you know go into cardiac arrest, you know, worst-case scenarios.

    You got to be ready at all times for the worst-case scenario to happen. So it's you come to work in the morning and you probably don't sit down except for a lunch break. So you're kind of always going all day not usually probably the most traveling that we do from the just getting to know the athletes in the acceleration program. A lot of times we try to get to their games after they've trained with us. Norm is established relationships with them and we like to go out and you know try to catch a few of their games so, you know light traveling but for the most part don't have to go across the country for four much. So the as far as from the acceleration standpoint taken classes, like anatomy and Kinesiology and biomechanics was very important because of those taught me how the Body Works how the body responds to things like training and exercise, and being able to not just train somebody to make them tired. But train them the right way to where they're doing things when they're in their sports that they're not getting into bad habits to where they're putting themselves at risk for injuries. So having a good knowledge base about how the body works and doing it the correct way from a cardiac rehab standpoint. The anatomy is very important.


Understanding Exercise Physiologist

    Just understand the whole how the heard Works how when something goes wrong with the heart how that affects the rest of the Body and after something like a heart attack happens, you know what that does to the heart and kind of how that'll affect somebody for the rest of their life. So it's very important from an anatomy standpoint. I chose exercise physiologist career because I enjoyed the anatomy class that I took in high school got me interested in something in the medical field.

exercise physiologist - exercise scientist
exercise physiologist


    I enjoy working with people. This is a job where you're working with people all day every day shaking a lot of hands and it's just it's something it's a very rewarding field. When if it's an athlete that you train in the that we train the acceleration program if we can help them meet their goals, you know to make them a better athlete or it's an in the cardiac rehab side of things taking somebody who was very sick and being able to help them throughout their rehab process and get them to get them back to where they want to be. It's just very rewarding and you can go home at night knowing that you knowing that you helped somebody that's a pretty good feeling make it easy to get up and come to work.

    The morning I decided this very early called probably my freshman year at College. You know, I had a pretty good idea that I wanted to do something in the medical field, even when I left high school, but once I started getting into some of the more of the core classes in college, As a exercise physiologist, I decided that this is for me. So this is what I'm passionate about in this position. You got to be a people person. There's no doubt that you're like I said, you're always working with people different people.

    You have some that can be more difficult to work with some that are great to work with so you just you got to be able to relate to people on different levels and just be passionate about health and fitness if I'm training an athlete to be a better basketball player, you know, or I'm working with somebody in cardiac rehab I want to be confident that you know, I'm telling them something that I believe in.

    So be very passionate about health and fitness some of the most difficult parts. My day would be in you're always going to work with somebody that if I'm working with an athlete if they just they're here, but they don't want to work too hard or they're having a hard time. It's hard to motivate them just finding new and innovative ways to make things fun for the athletes. So they want to come here and they want to work hard. So thinking outside the box a little bit on the cardiac rehab side you're working with people that are saying coming out of open-heart surgery. They're very sick. Getting out of bed is very hard for them. 

    So to convince this person that well, I'm going to get you out of bed and we're going to take a walk down the hallway now it can be you got to be convincing but you got to be able to relate to that person to make them trust you that you're there to help them and even though you might be telling them something that they don't want to hear or wanting to do something that they don't necessarily want to do being able to get them to believe that you're there to help them so that can be difficult at times but that'll be with any job. I work from the for the most part. It's more on an individual standpoint when I'm working acceleration. Learn more about Exercise Physiologist Career Conversations by watching this video.

Group Training

    I'm training my group of athletes, but we intermixed with the other trainers we might I might be doing one thing with my kids. I might team up with one of the other trainers with his kids and do a group activity cardiac rehab wise. It's more of a team aspect. We have a few different workers in we're working with a group of people for the most part. So it's a little bit of both you're on your own a lot. But you're also working in a team setting too. So it's important to be able to work with other people, but you got to be able to handle things on your own as well.

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