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Meet Your ACE Resource Center Study Coaches

Meet Your ACE Resource Center Study Coaches | American Council on Exercise | Exam Preparation Blog | 7/11/2014


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When people purchase study materials with the intention of taking one of our exams, they often experience a slight panic when they get their materials and realize, “I have to understand concepts in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, nutrition, etc?!” FEAR NOT! The ACE Resource Center has a team of study coaches ready to help you on your journey to becoming an ACE Certified Fitness Professional. If you’ve ever called our Resource Center, you’ve already spoken to at least one of us, and we thought it might be helpful if we told you a little about ourselves.

Name: Christopher Scott Gagliardi

Chris Gagliardi

How long have you worked at ACE? I’ve been a part of the ACE family since October 26, 2010, at 8:00 a.m.

Education and experience: I earned my bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from San Diego State University and earned a certificate in orthotics from Northwestern University. I currently hold certifications with ACE, NSCA and NASM.

“Fitness Philosophy”…What drives you? If you find an activity you really enjoy, fitness will never be a task—it will become a way of life.

Biggest challenge when studying for ACE Exams: The biggest challenge I faced while studying for my exam was making the time to study. I kept coming up with reasons not to study. I learned that, just like every other aspect of life, you can always think of excuses not to do something, but I needed to start coming up with excuses to do things—like study.

Favorite study topic to discuss: I like learning about exercise science, anatomy and behavior change.

Favorite part of being a fitness professional: I enjoy sharing my passion for fitness with others and watching them grow as they strive toward becoming the best version of themselves.

Name: Mollie Martin

Mollie Martin

How long have you worked at ACE? Ten months and a few days.

Education and experience: I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a degree in psychology with an emphasis in kinesiology. I earned my ACE Personal Training certification while working at my college gym as a junior and wanted to give back to others with my passion for fitness. After graduating college, I moved to San Diego to work in the fitness industry and to play rugby at the elite level. I have worked with clients from many walks of life and taught classes ranging from cycling and boot camp to aqua and cardio circuits. A few months after starting at ACE, I completed the ACE Health Coach certification and the Sports Conditioning Specialty Certification, in addition to having my Corporate Health Coaching certification. I am currently studying for her ACE Group Fitness Instructor Certification before I tackle the Advanced Health & Fitness exam.

“Fitness Philosophy”…What drives you? The more you put in, the more you’ll get out.

Biggest challenge when studying for ACE Exams: Between working full-time, teaching three boot camps a week, training clients and playing rugby full time, my biggest challenge is finding the time! Studying for my exams all comes down to time management and getting enough sleep!

Favorite study topic to discuss: Sports conditioning

Favorite part of being a fitness professional: My favorite part about being a fitness professional is the opportunity to share my passion for health and fitness with others who may not have the same outlook on life by educating them while making them sweat.

Name: Makeba Edwards

Makeba Edwards

How long have you worked at ACE? I have been working at ACE for two-and-a-half years.

Education and experience: Growing up, fitness has always been an integral part of my life. My father’s involvement in the fitness industry inspired and influenced me to not only make fitness a lifestyle, but a career. I started as a receptionist and floor trainer in 1997 in a small gym in the Caribbean. Since then I have had the opportunity the work in many different capacities, from membership sales to personal trainer to being a national group fitness presenter and master trainer. I hold a B.S. in exercise science and sport studies from the University of Tampa and have been working in the fitness industry for over 15 years. I hold the ACE Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor and Health Coach Certifications, as well as the Fitness Nutrition Specialty Certification. I also hold an International Personal Trainer Certification, and I am certified in and teach several group fitness modalities.

“Fitness Philosophy”…What drives you? My drive comes from my passion for seeing people living the healthiest, most well-rounded lives. The little bit that we can all contribute in our own corner of the world makes a big difference to the big goal of preventing and eradicating obesity. There are no quick fixes! Getting to your desired fitness goal requires hard work, commitment and consistency. With these three components you are on your way to affecting change you want to see.

Biggest challenge when studying for ACE Exams: Time Management. Because of my busy schedule, I sometimes find myself procrastinating when it comes to studying. I try to find small moments in my day to dedicate to my studies. Every little bit counts! 

Favorite study topic to discuss: My favorite topics are postural and movement assessments. I love getting into the details of anatomy as it relates the way the muscles function.

Favorite part of being a fitness professional: My favorite part about being a Fitness Professional is the people. I have been able to interact with so many people from all different walks of life and everyone has a different need and a different story. I love the look on my clients’ and participants’ faces when they have accomplished their goals or when they are able to do something that to them, at one point, seemed far out of reach.

Name: Jessie Newell

Jessie Newell

How long have you worked at ACE? It will be a year in August. Fun fact: Mollie and I were hired the same day!

Education and experience: I have been working in the health and fitness industry since 2008. I earned a B.S. in kinesiology from San Diego State University, and have earned Personal Training, Health Coach, and Group Fitness Instructor Certifications through ACE. I am also in the process of completing my 200-hour yoga certification through Let It Go Yoga in Santa Barbara.

“Fitness Philosophy”…What drives you? I played many competitive sports in the past, but my lack of proper training when I was young left my body achy and in pain. By the time I was 18, I had bad knees, bad hips and a bad shoulder. I loved the many benefits of exercise (more energy, positive mental attitude, group camaraderie–just to mention a few!) so I wanted to learn how do the things I love without compromising the functionality of my body. And thus my passion for functional fitness began! Shortly after I found the joy of yoga, and realized that health of the body is only a part of what it means to be healthy, and that true health needs to include the mind, body and spirit.

Biggest challenge when studying for ACE Exams: My biggest challenge is remembering to focus on what’s important and not get caught up in minor details. I am the type of person who likes to understand the who, what, where, when and why behind something. I have to remind myself when I am learning new information, “Is this going to affect how I should train someone?” If not, chances are it’s not going to be a topic that needs to be focused on (protocols, procedures, normative data, etc.).

Favorite study topic to discuss: Anything exercise science! I am a self-proclaimed nerd and I LOVE learning about what’s happening on both a structural and a functional level during exercise.

Favorite part of being a fitness professional: Helping others be their best self. I truly believe that health and happiness are closely intertwined and when I get to see other transform into a healthier individual, all the positive benefits of exercise seem to translate into the other aspects of their lives.