Check out the first in our series of ACSM profiles. Get a little background info on the people behind the certification-you might even learn something!
Gary Liguori, PhD, FACSM.
Department Head of Health and Human Performance
University of Tennessee Chattanooga
How has ACSM certification increased your level of expertise?
Getting certified by ACSM (CES, 1994) was a big career step for me. Fortunately, it was built into my graduate program at East Stroudsburg, which had me well prepared for the exam. Since then, being certified has opened many doors, including my very first position after completing my MS. The CEO asked me what certifications I had during a lunch interview, and was pleased to hear it was through ACSM!
Maintaining my certification is done through continuing education, so that has allowed me to further my level of expertise. During my PhD studies, I was able to stay involved in many tasks that not only progressed my degree, but also enhanced me as an ACSM professional.
What's your favorite part of the community you live in?
I just moved to Chattanooga in July 2012. However, I live on top of a mountain surrounded by forest and miles and miles of running trails; this is a highlight for me (and my running-friendly dog!). Chattanooga also has a great downtown that we are just getting to know.
What's your favorite form of personal exercise, and why?
Without a doubt, I love to run. Those who know me well will confirm my passion for running, especially trail running, which I have been fortunate to do all over the country and even in some interesting international locales. Also, even though I don't move too quickly, I really enjoy road cycling, and for a short time after college dabbled in local triathlons (I did compete in track and cross-country in college).
Running, however, is the one exercise that brings me peace no matter what else is going on in my day. We've all heard of the runners high, or the theory of Flow, and while some look to achieve that periodically, I can honestly say there is hardly a run in which I don't feel I'm experiencing Flow. For better or worse, my running defines me.
How do you stay on-track with your own fitness routine?
This is one of my biggest challenges given I have three young children, a wife, and a job! I'm often found out running in the early morning hours or mid-day, thanks to the flexibility of working in academics. Regardless, it is a priority for our family to be active, so my wife and I make the time for each other to get out and run, plus
someone has to take the dog out for her exercise, right?
Do you have any other advice for anyone considering ACSM certification?
Go For It! There are a lot of reasons to get certified and a lot of organizations offering certification. Some are really good and bring tremendous benefits with them. I have sat on various ACSM certification committees for the past six years, and can say without hesitation that the people involved in certifications for ACSM are
passionate, diligent, intelligent, and want to have the best certification out there.
There are no shortcuts or exceptions, and this is what makes ACSM certifications truly the Gold Standard. Not only will you be getting the best possible certification on the market, but the networking, the support system, the opportunity, and the pride in having passed your exam will make it all worth while.
Check back monthly for our continuing series of ACSM member profiles!