Knowing the truth will set you
free, but only if you are willing to embrace it.
Recently, I read in The
 the following statement:
“A university education should not have as a task to prepare students
for occupations which deal with routine tasks.”
I couldn’t agree more!
of course, dozens of academic degrees that prepared students to do nothing but
This isn’t just
It is driven by tradition and the
inertia of present-day circumstances that apparently had little to no
Often, more so in the past than
today, the distinctive task of the Department of Health and Physical Education
graduated young men and women who understood their destiny.
It is no secret that the majority of them
secured jobs in teaching and coaching.
Then, students understood the connection between why they were attending
college and their career in physical education.
These same students took a variety of activity courses, much like the
students of the 21st century physical education major.
They also took courses such as kinesiology,
motor learning, sports biomechanics, sports nutrition, and “physiology of
When the physical education major
came under severe attach for lacking quality and integrity as an academic major
and, interestingly, at the same time, various doctorate prepared physical
educators were expressing an interest in research, two things happened.
First, to survive as part of the college
system, many of the physical education departments became known as the Department
of Kinesiology or the Department of Exercise Science.
Unfortunately, much of the chaos (and
meaningless) of today’s undergraduate so-called “exercise physiology” related
majors is a direct product of this ill-defined and poorly planned departure from
Now, there are
probably 30 or more different undergraduate degrees  that are only one to
three courses different from the original physical education major.
Second, the physical education
departments that had become one of a dozen or so different names (such as the Department
of Human Performance) created the “idea” of an exercise physiology
This was usually at the
persistence of those within the department who had an interest in research to
better understand sports training and athletics.
After all, even though those who took
responsibility for teaching several exercise physiology courses, and even after
acquiring the title, Exercise Physiologist” – they were still doctorate
prepared physical educators.
the emphasis was on improving the credibility of the department’s standing in
the academic community.
Two conditions resulted from this thinking.
First, it wasn’t until 30 or 40 years did it
gradually become apparent to others that the department chairs and the faculty
(particularly, those who referred to themselves as exercise physiologists) did
not have any understanding of what they had done or even why.
Consequently, it seems that no one in the
academic community is even thinking about what went wrong!
To them it is as it should be (i.e., exercise
physiologists teaching in an exercise science department) and, frankly, that is
a condition of failed involvement, if not, disregard for the essence of a
The second condition is equally
Without critically assessing
what the physical educators had done, they simply created (and in some cases)
converted the physical education doctorate to the so-called exercise physiology
Many, if not most, students
graduate today calling themselves “exercise physiologists” and, yet the actual
academic degree is in physical education with a concentration in exercise
Or, they graduate from a
Department of Kinesiology with a major in kinesiology with an emphasis in exercise
The problem of so many types
and mixtures of degree programs is that none of it allows for a true academic
degree in exercise physiology.
At first glance, none of this may come across to the
reader as a problem.
But, it is a big
problem for numerous reasons.
Can a physical therapist
graduate from a non-physical therapy department?
Can nurses graduate from something other than
an academic degree in nursing?
the psychologist or the occupational therapist?
Even to those who don’t want to see the problems that have resulted from
not having a philosophy and/or vision to guide the development of exercise
physiology, it should be obvious that the initial problems with physical
education decades ago now show up in exercise physiology.
The truth has value and can be the reason to do things
But, its power lies in
accepting it whether by faith or stubborn commitment.
Here is the point, exercise physiologists
cannot continue to shoot from the hip declaring themselves as “physiologists”
or even “scientists” however easy it is for them to do so.
One simple reason is because there exists an
academic doctorate in physiology and unless an exercise physiologist has earned
that degree as well, then, he/she is not a physiologist.
Again, this brings up the lack of understanding by the
department chairs and/or deans when the Internet information states they
graduate exercise physiologists (doctorate or otherwise) and, yet students
complete a degree in exercise science or kinesiology either with or without an
emphasis in exercise physiology.
fact that this is not done in any other credible healthcare profession violates
the academic ethic and value of the college experience and the students’
Clearly, this problem is
part of the failing of the department chairs of what are essentially physical
education departments and the faculty who called themselves exercise
physiologists to see for a fact that there is an inherent commitment to think
straight and to stop the denial of their responsibility to change in light of
new observations and analyses.
These truths are exactly those espoused by the ASEP
It hasn’t been easy, but
they understand the truth must be embraced.
This is what justified the American Society of Exercise Physiologists,
and the specific obligations of the leadership, especially to the ASEP Code of
Imagine this, if the importance
of a college degree is a myth, then, there is no point to paying the high
tuition cost and attending college.
the purpose and title of academic degrees are a myth, there is no use selecting
a particular degree program.
electrical engineering and after college, then, open a medical practice.
Doesn’t make any sense, does it?
How about this?
Major in exercise science and after college,
then, seek out a job as an exercise physiologist.
While it is obvious that department chairs and others
immerse themselves in all kinds of study and work that demands their attention,
they can’t forego their responsibility to spend time thinking about the nature
of what they are doing.
That is why it
is urgently important to convey the message of this article in as many forms as
Otherwise, at some point in
the future others will get it.
then do what they can to erase all the good that has transpired even in the
middle of the chaos that persists.
Hence, why not do the right things now for the right reasons regardless
of whether others get it or not?
engage others in the discussion that the purpose of college is to prepare
students to transition into career opportunities?
Why not convert all the so-called exercise
physiology related degree programs into 100% exercise physiology?
After all, again, it is rather obvious that the purpose of
a college education is not to prepare students to engage in task-oriented
And, frankly, that is exactly what
exercise science, kinesiology, or sports science is doing.
None of these degree programs (and others
like them) has a sufficient body of scientific knowledge, research, inquiry,
and philosophy sufficient to educate a healthcare practitioner.
This kind of thinking often rubs the reader
the wrong way.
appreciate that just as wrong as it is for medical doctors to put making money
before the care of their patients, it is wrong for the academic profession not
to consider correcting its weaknesses.
Not doing so is the essence of encouraging a continuous drift away from
the purpose of the academic profession.
No profession is exempt from its ethical obligation,
regardless of how busy it gets or how challenged its members are to doing their
The decades of not addressing the
correctness or lack thereof of all academic degrees that suggest the graduate
is rightfully an exercise physiologist is simply unethical.
Also because attending college is more costly
today than years ago, many administrators should immediate set into motion
Their students are experiencing
far too many diminished opportunities.
Note also it is clear that the doctorate prepared physical
educator and the athletic trainer do not actually care whether the exercise
physiologist faculty member ever stands up and speaks out for change.
They understand what it means to have a
career driven degree and, yes, they understand the value of a credible
certification and/or licensure.
most faculty understand all too well that while the exercise science degree was
created to improve upon the physical education degree, it didn’t work.
Worse yet, it is even laughable because
exercise science is essentially a physical education degree without the
opportunity to teach and/or coach in the public schools.
If the exercise science degree had become what it was
intended to be, then, personal trainers wouldn’t be standing on every street
Mr. Six Pack and Miss
Tights would understand that the illusion of what they are doing is credible
healthcare is “deadly as a canderworm.”
And, worse yet, the big time American College of Sports Medicine is
promoting personal trainer certifications.
Talk about profit without honor!
It is truly deception at its worse.
The organization leaders not only failed to promote the profession of
exercise physiology, they have continually watched out for themselves at the
expense of students.
When the history of
this process is finally told it will be understood as a deliberate deception to
buttress sports medicine at the expense of a failed rhetoric .
Once again, please appreciate that significant oversights
in sports medicine activities are commonplace, and far too often the leaders
have been the academic exercise physiologists.
They are to blame for much of the meaningless fitness, trainer, and
nutrition certifications that have popped up in recent decades.
It is illuminating to read the websites.
One must wonder just how obvious is it to
those who search the Internet that 90% of the certifications are excellent
examples of fraud.
Indeed, just as there is fraudulent advertising , there
is “fraudulent certifications.”
It is an
insult to a healthcare professional’s intelligence to not know this point.
Collectively, the mass numbers of
weekend-warrior certifications represent an offensive, if not, silly, affront
to the ASEP efforts of having built the professional infrastructure to the
professionalism of exercise physiology.
Again, here, the central problem is fraud.
At no time is it right to intentionally
misrepresent business dealings with the public.
It is just wrong, it is an ethical problem as well as a legal one,
although the latter hasn’t been challenged in courts.
If it is true that the behavior of the collectively
membership of the healthcare community is determined by the leadership of the
respective professions, then, a great profession is a Society of individuals in
which its membership thinks greatly of their responsibility to engage and
support their leaders.
otherwise can only be consistent with a low behavior of colleagues that can
only mean a descending standard for those who believe in exercise
Fortunately, the good news
is that the ASEP leaders are moving in the right direction to avoid the
wrongdoing of others who have converged their thinking with blatantly wrong
These individuals have joined
with the gatekeeper guardians of the sports medicine initiatives.
It would be a great relief to see students and colleagues
stand up to negative influence on ASEP.
History demonstrates that it is just a matter of time, wouldn’t it be
better if it was earlier rather than later?
The key to the ASEP reform is to unite and share the work of building
the profession together as one.
nothing novel about this point of view.
Professional leaders are growing more aware that a new reality is within
a moment’s grasp.
Hence, the concept of
professional stewardship and responsibility to ethical thinking puts more
emphasis on the professionalism of exercise physiology than do all the sports
Having said that, it is prudent to support the ASEP
organization, its leaders, and the membership.
Simply stated, it is necessary to share with the world that neither
physical education nor exercise science is exercise physiology.
This is also the case with sports
There is nothing about ACSM
that allows it to represent the profession of exercise physiology.
Instead, the reality is that the main effort
to professionalize exercise physiology lies within the ASEP organizations.