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Paul Martinez: Kinesiology major gives his future a workout

October 06, 2008

Paul Martinez has taken physical fitness and wellness to heart.

The ASU senior kinesiology major from Fort Stockton spent the summer as an intern at the prestigious Cooper Aerobics Fitness Center at Craig Ranch, which was founded in McKinney by Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D., author of the 1968 book, “Aerobics.” 

Cooper’s book popularized a point system for improving the cardiovascular system and was the origin of the 10,000-steps-per-day plan for attaining a healthy level of fitness through walking.

“Being selected for placement at such a facility is a huge opportunity for this young man,” said Dr. Doyle Carter, head of the ASU Kinesiology Department. “He personifies what we want people to think of when they visualize a kinesiology major and graduate.”

Martinez said that from the first day of his internship he was immersed in Cooper’s fitness doctrine and experienced all facets of working in a fitness center.

“We were on a different schedule and did something new every week,” Martinez said.  “We went through a four-day personal training certification course and took a test to be certified as a trainer at the Cooper Center.”

Among the areas Martinez studied during his internship were new member orientations and personal fitness assessments. The assessments included blood pressure checks, height and weight, fat measurements, medical screenings and function of movement, which checks for physical limitations of clients.

“A huge thing for people is core strength – how strong their lower backs and abdominal muscles are. We also check to see how their knees, ankles and shoulders stand up to physical activity,” Martinez said. “We test everything so we can design a fitness program for these people to improve their quality of life.”

Martinez and another intern also helped the Cooper Aerobics Fitness Center’s fitness director develop a mentorship program for personal trainers working outside the center. The program will share Cooper’s philosophy on fitness and teach the trainers new methods for performing fitness tests.

A desire to focus on strength and conditioning training led Martinez to kinesiology, but he said he didn’t want to be a high school coach with classroom duties.

“I wanted to work with different types of people from the elderly to athletes,” Martinez said. “I wanted to do the physical training part, the workouts and to help improve people’s health.”

He said the internship showed him a new path he hadn’t considered. He plans to work at a fitness center after finishing his degree and then explore an advanced degree in radiology.

“After seeing the medical testing, I decided I want to go to the clinical side of kinesiology,” Martinez said. “I want to administer the stress tests and do CT scans.”

That does not mean he is going to give up the physical fitness side of kinesiology completely.

 “I can still do personal training and work with individuals and give them one-on-one attention,” Martinez said.