February 5, 2023

CapFit: students learn how to become personal trainers

One of the many majors offered by the university is exercise science. Students who take this major often go on to work as group fitness instructors, strength and conditioning coaches, coaches in a specific sport, physical therapists, various medical fields and even personal trainers. 

For the aspiring personal trainers in the exercise science major, a program called CapFit is offered.

CapFit is a faculty and staff fitness program. It is offered to third and fourth-year students who enroll in a course called the “Junior Practicum.” Its purpose is to give students live experiences to develop an exercise program for a Capital Faculty member.  

A student is assigned with a Capital faculty member to develop a customized exercise program designed for them. Throughout the semester, they do their workouts before being tested at the end to compare how they were in the beginning. Think of it almost like an internship in the sense that students are able to work in the field and test what they have learned in the classroom. 

“I take a step back to allow the students to really apply their knowledge [and]apply their skill. All the training that we’ve taken in the classroom, they can apply it with a real live person,” said Dr. Julie Polta Dallas, head of CapFit.

The students involved in CapFit can become the trainers themselves, as Dallas calls them “student personal trainers.” The program is only for students in the exercise science major and university faculty; unfortunately students outside the exercise science major can’t participate unless they change their major.

According to Dallas, the results of the program have been positive. She enjoys the position as head of the program because she loves to see the personal growth of the students and the opportunities the program provides to them.

The students in the program have also enjoyed their time in the program. Dallas has said she has heard not only from students in it, but also students who know people in it have said good things.

The faculty members who train with the students also have many positive things to say about CapFit. Many have developed personal relationships with their student trainer. They have expressed their enjoyment of the exercise programs they are given. 

Another source of praise came from an unfortunate circumstance. When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit in 2020, students were forced to adapt. When the lockdowns started,  students and their clients had to continue through a different way. The clients had to do their exercise at home, while the students had to check on the progress remotely. 

Many of the clients didn’t have access to the equipment they had during their usual meetings with their trainers, so the students were able to adjust their programs to use whatever they had. The student trainers were praised by the clients for their ability to rise to above the challenge and think outside the box.

A new addition to the program this semester is the application to test a client’s blood cholesterol and glucose levels. In the past, they would receive screenings of their resting heart rate, blood pressure, height, weight and some body composition analysis. 

However, they didn’t have the application to check someone’s blood cholesterol and glucose levels until this semester. Now, they can follow the client and repeatedly check their glucose and cholesterol levels over the course of the semester to see if they improve or decline. If they have dangerous levels of either, the students will make recommendations of what to do next.

The students in the program are in the process of branching out to offer other exercise programs, such as a program for people with neurological disorders like Parkinson or Alzheimers to join the class and take part in exercises. One difference with this program is that it’s a form of group therapy as opposed to the one-on-one therapy seen previously in CapFit. 

Other local colleges have similar programs to CapFit, such as Otterbein and Columbus State. Columbus State’s program is so similar that a transfer student didn’t have to take CapFit if they took the equivalent at Columbus State before their transfer.

If you know anyone involved in CapFit and want to start exercising, ask them for their advice.

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