Health fitness professionals, health care practitioners, and students are gathered this week at ACSM's 20th annual Health & Fitness Summit & Exposition - taking place March 29-April 1 in Orlando. Follow all the action online by looking for the hashtag #ACSMSummit16, or learn more about educational & career opportunities at acsmsummit.org.
At first thought, the opportunity to present at a national conference as a young professional (doctoral student) with limited conference speaking experience seems both impossible and intimidating. We've all heard the stories. The session that involves an expert, camouflaged by the large number of attendees filling the seats of the session, and the young presenter doing their best to keep the audience interested and, most importantly, awake!
It's quite the task to present to an audience, let alone a group of well-educated professionals. You envision a scenario where a hand goes up in the audience, there's a quick comment and the expert (intentionally or unintentionally) sends the world and entire experience crashing down on the young presenter. Well, from the overall experience of a new presenter and young professional, I can tell you that this is not the case. I had the honor of delivering four separate talks during this year's ACSM Health & Fitness Summit. The conference provided some of the most engaging, helpful, intelligent and appreciative professional attendees that one could imagine. Was it outside of my comfort zone (classroom lecture/the annual poster presentation)? Absolutely. But the experience succeeded in providing an enriching experience that has undoubtedly contributed to my professional and personal growth. Those are the things that matter beyond the reading and research, our bread and butter.
The small chats led to networking, and the networking opened more doors over a few short days than I could have ever imagined. Additionally, the constant support and hard work from the staff, organizers and faculty made the overall experience unforgettable. So I can confidently leave other young professionals with limited national speaking experience this piece of advice: if you have an idea worth sharing, share it. You won't regret it. To learn more about presenting at next year's summit, click here.
Nick Beltz, MS, ACSM-RCEP, CSCS is a Ph.D. student in exercise physiology and teaching assistant at the University of New Mexico. His research interests in research include cardiovascular risk factor modification, cardiopulmonary exercise testing protocol optimization and resistance training program design as a means for improving markers for chronic disease.