The reason I was drawn to the FLEX Internship was the opportunity to get all-around practice in a fitness setting. I’ve always been enthusiastic about exercise and physical fitness, and before I started this internship I knew what my personal strengths were in the health/wellness field, but I knew there was more that I hadn’t seen yet. The Wellness Center is the perfect place to see all different dimensions of health that are used to help people to live healthier lives. I wanted to use this internship to help spark new interests and make decisions about potential career opportunities. I was surprised at some of the new things that interested me, and I am really glad I found ways to mix what I love doing with helping people improve their lives. The projects I was a part of exposed me to many different aspects of the fitness world, from training to weight loss, and really gave me a well rounded knowledge of the health and wellness field.
The largest portion of my internship was giving various fitness assessments to Wellness Center clients. Not only did I learn the practical aspects of how to complete each assessment, I also had to interpret the results of those tests to clients who either had no experience in health or fitness, or had years of experience and asked very advanced questions. Right away, I was nervous because I didn’t really trust myself when giving advice on others people’s health. But this turned out to be incredibly beneficial to me because I had no previous experience working with clients and gave me a huge confidence boost in my ability to communicate with clients at all experience levels.
When I wasn’t giving fitness assessments, I was given various projects, some based off my own background and interests. Because I had a strong background in strength training previous to the internship, my first project was a six-week weight lifting class. I was given complete freedom in the design and implementation of the class, which was really cool, but at the same time was challenging and gave me a better perspective of how much thought has to go into a training program. At times it could be stressful, especially making adjustments for the different fitness levels, but it was rewarding seeing people from my class coming into the weight room and confidently completing lifts that I taught them. Overall, the class was successful, and again, was a confidence builder –as it turned out I knew much more than I first assumed. Other projects, programs, and events that I took part in included: Maintain Don’t Gain Campaign, Exercise is Medicine, Family Fun Days, and basic equipment orientation, which all further promoted my growth in the field.
I think the most beneficial program I was a part of was the Exercise is Medicine Program that is available at the Wellness Center. The program receives clients who have been prescribed exercise as medical treatment. I only worked in it for a brief time, but during that time I learned a lot. Much of the time was spent building a trusting relationship, and learning more about the client so I could help figure out the best way to guide them into an exercise routine. I did more research preparation for Exercise is Medicine clients, so I could better answer any questions that came up for their particular situation. I think I enjoyed this part of the internship the most because it was a new way of training that didn’t involved athletics. It wasn’t just about athletic gain; it was helping people live healthier.
Overall, my FLEX Internship experience was great! The Wellness Center took my interests into account when deciding the projects that I worked on, but at the same time exposed me to completely different things, like the Exercise is Medicine Program, which ended up being a huge part in helping me make some big decisions about what to do with my Exercise Science degree. But besides the projects, I was constantly surrounded by fitness enthusiasts who were always around to offer advice and tips when I had questions. This opportunity was amazing and I’m incredibly thankful! I’ve gained tons of useful skills that I know will be necessary for my future education and potentially my career. I think it’s opportunities such as this that can help students gain experience and confidence in the field of health and wellness.
- Megan Gray