Your Questions About Health And Fitness Careers

Paul asks…

Is becoming a nutritionist a bad career decision?

I know that fitness is booming and noticed that many people are becoming certified fitness trainers. I've wanted to be a nutritionist my whole life and now I have the chance to go to school for that. I don't want to pay for school is the industry is going to be so competitive that I make no money. Input? Will this industry boom once the trend dies down? It did well before. Will it take long for the trend to end?? What would you do?

dknol answers:

My answer is based on the U.S. System. This is just my thought, but overall the “easy fix” is booming……surgical procedures to shrink your stomach where you can't eat (I call these procedures surgical anorexia)……versus someone going through real nutritional counseling and sessions to teach them how to eat, what to eat, and to change the way they view food. I feel that obesity is such a problem in America because people are malnourished…….heavily processed foods do not provide the body “fuel”, and thus the weight builds and people find themselves hungry. But in reality they are hungry because their body is searching for nutrients, versus just eating a hot dog and potato chips.

Some larger gyms do hire nutritionists, but their programs are fee based (of course).

There is a distinct difference in nutritionist and registered dietitian. There is no state licensure or national educational requirements for a nutritionist.

“A Nutritionist is a health specialist who devotes professional activity to food and nutritional science, preventive nutrition, diseases related to nutrient deficiencies, and the use of nutrient manipulation to enhance the clinical response to human diseases. A Dietitian is an expert in food and nutrition. Dietitians help promote good health through proper eating. They also supervise the preparation and service of food, develop modified diets, participate in research, and educate individuals and groups on good nutritional habits .”

RD's are considered nutritionists……….but nutritionists (in of itself) can't call themselves RD”s unless they have gone through the RD educational requirements, which includes an internship.

I just did a job search for my state using “Registered Dietician”, and only found 4 job hits.

There are so many “diets” out here……..and I found it interesting that diet is “die” with a “t”. I definitely believe there is a need for nutritionists to really counsel people, help people learn how to make better choices, to include providing cooking lessons, how to grocery shop, etc. But unfortunately, there just isn't a job market for that by an employer. And most positions like this will be a person marketing his/her own services……for people to pay “private pay”. Just think how much nutrition plays a role in the brain development of children!

Mark asks…

How does cage fighting affect your body?

Every cage fighter I have talked to says that it is not a dangerous sport… I find this hard to believe. You are beating the crap out of each other! Do you know of any health problems it causes or any fighters that have had health problems?

dknol answers:

First, it's not “cage fighting”. It's Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). More MMA matches world-wide have taken place in a ring than a cage.

The typical health problems are minimal, compared to many other professional sports. One of the benefits of MMA is that it's not seasonal. Some guys in football, baseball, etc will compete with serious injuries, including torn ligaments and concussions, because if they miss a game, they don't get paid. MMA, meanwhile, doesn't come with the pressure to compete with a serious injury. In fact, in the US and many other countries, athletic commissions require a pre-fight physical, which reveals serious injuries; without passing such a physical, the fighter doesn't compete.

The most common injuries are cuts on the face and broken hands; the worst-case scenario with these injuries is that you'll get scars on your face, and have hands so damaged you'll find it hard to use them. However, the latter case is unlikely, and has only happened to one fighter I know of, who competed back in the old bare-knuckle days, without the benefit of hand wraps and gloves. Repeated concussions can lead to “punch drunkenness”, which includes memory problems and slurred speech, though there's no documentation of this happening to an MMA fighter, and because MMA fights involve more than head punches (leg kicks, chokes, arm locks, throws, leg locks, knees to the body), MMA fighters receive far fewer blows to the head than boxers do over the course of their career, and have a lower risk of such damage. The typical athletic wear-and-tear, including torn rotator cuffs and ACL's, pop up now and then, but you don't have to be a fighter, or even an athlete, to suffer such injuries. Another common injury is cauliflower ear, where the cartilage in the ear becomes misshapen due to friction, but this is more superficial than anything else. Broken bones on the arms and legs may occur, but these are generally rare (I've watched hundreds of matches and have only seen five) and heal after a few months.

There are also positive affects. By training MMA, you become stronger, lose access fat, and increase your flexibility and endurance. Due to the demands MMA puts on the body, MMA fighters develop conditioning in every conceivable area of fitness and athletics. Considering the fitness factor is long-term and broad ranging, I'd say it outweighs the possibility of little accidents tremendously.

Ruth asks…

How would I go about becoming a paramedic?

I have studied public services in college for the past three years with a view of joining the army, however I changed my mind and decided to pursue a career as a paramedic. Having read some conflicting websites about what and how I should go about it I figured this would be best answered by someone in this services or someone also aspiring to join.

dknol answers:

To become a paramedic in the UK you will need to enroll on a 2-year university course. Several universities offer this course so you should check out their website. You can also look on the NHS careers website and they give a list of universities using the course finder tool.

To be accepted on the course you will need to demonstrate both your academic abilities but also previous experience you have. Most uni's require applicants to have at least 5 GCSE's grades A*-C including maths, english and science. They will also want around 200-300 UCAS points (depending on which uni's you apply to) you get UCAS point through completing a-levels), but you could also do an access to higher education course if you don't have a-levels. If you do/have done a-levels they require you to have studied biology, (human) biology, or a health & social care course. In terms of experience it is quite hard to gain some, but you should consider doing some voluntary work such as working in a care home or join red cross/st. John's ambulance. This will show care experience and will also show that you really want to do the course.

As for the application process it is extremely competitive. Lat year one uni in the UK received over 2000 applications for 25 places on a paramedic science course – so you really need to stand out from the crowd. If shortlisted you will have to undergo an interview, criminal record checks, fitness tests, medical examination, group discussion tasks and possibly literacy and numeracy tests to show your educational ability.

Another point to consider is that before applying you MUST have a full UK driving licence with no more than 3 penalty points. Some uni's, but not all, will also want you to have a C1 provisional which enables you to drive larger vehicles such as ambulances. Although having a full C1 licence is not essential to get onto the course it will be essential to gain employment into an NHS ambulance trust, so you'll need to spend around £2000 on passing this test. Although, in some cases the ambulance trust does pay for this training for you.

Some universities will provide the course completely free as the NHS trust pays (such as Swansea Uni) but others you will have to pay for the whole course yourself, and with rising tuition fees it may become pretty expensive, especially seeing as you will have to pay for your car and insurance and stuff too (they want you to have a car so you can travel to and from your placements).

I wish you all the luck in whatever you decide to do and if you have any other questions contact me and I'll be happy to assist as best I can :)

John asks…

I want to gain muscle and not fat during eating disorder recovery?

I am during the beginning stages of recovery and am just getting help and such from therapy.I know I'm under weight at 5″5-5″6 and about 100 or less lbs , but the idea of gaining fat is overbearing to me.I'm pretty sure the doctors will be okay with me at least maintaining rather than continuing to loose weight right now, but eventually I'll have to gain something. I workout daily, usually power yoga, Pilates, bodyweight training, our some weight training with dumbbells. I LOVE to exercise and have plans on pursuing a career in fitness and health. I know I have to get healthy to do this. So I'm able to maintain a fitness plan to gain muscle . But during this recovery time, am I going to be able to gain weight in terms of MUSCLE and not fat? I'm more able to accept the fact of having to gain weight when I know it will be muscle. it's hard for me to wrap my mind around the idea of eating more food, even though I know I need to feed my muscles. Anyone have tips on this issue? what's a healthy days worth of food look like for my radios and goals? I eat VERY healthy foods , and I DO eat. I just suppose I haven't eaten enough. Here's what I did and ate today: an hour of curcuit training, with some bodyweight plyo and strength. breakfast was about a cup of Greek Chobani with frozen berries and cinnamon and a sprinkle of flax cereal, lunch was a large bowl of Chicken Pho no noodles but tons of veggies, dinner was a whole chicken breast a small sweet potato and tons of a veggie melody of squash, zucchini, and kale.

dknol answers:

It is very unwise for you to be asking questions related to your eating disorder of random strangers, mostly clueless teenagers, in a public forum such as this where anyone can say anything. You should be discussing your fat issues with your doctor and ED team.

Before you can even think about being healthy – much less a fitness trainer – you need to get your head around the idea that fat is good. You need fat, we all need fat. If we don't have fat we die and no one should be more aware of that than you. The only time fat is a problem – which is too often – is when people have too much. So, stop thinking of fat as evil.

Use the following information and resources if you need to.

• Anorexia is the most deadly mental illness.
• A study by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reported that 5 – 10% of anorexics die within 10 years after contracting the disease; 18-20% of anorexics will be dead after 20 years and only 30 – 40% ever fully recover
• About 8 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder (does not include over eaters)
• 0.5% of American women suffers from anorexia.
• 2.5% of American women suffers from bulimia.
• 1.1% – 4.2% of females suffer from bulimia nervosa in their lifetime.
• About 10% of college women suffer from a clinical or nearly clinical eating disorder, including 5.1% who suffer from bulimia nervosa.
• Studies indicate that by their first year of college, 4.5 to 18% of women and 0.4% of men have a history of bulimia.

Here are some links you may find useful. The websites have loads of information for you.
• NEDA Helpline 1-800-931-2237 (9-5 Eastern Time Weekdays only)
• NEDA Website –>
• NEDA Video –>
• ANAD –>
• Nemours on ED –>
• Obsessed with dieting? –>
• What is BDD? –>
• Take an ED Quiz –>
• Where to get help –>
• More ED Videos –>
• Mayo Clinic on ED –>

Good luck and good health!!


David asks…

If I studied a career in Mexico called Physical Activity and Sports?

Would I be able to teach physical education in the U.S.?

I'm in college but as a freshman and it would take a while until I finish another career here. What do you think?

dknol answers:

‘studied a career', did you mean ‘studied or took a course'?

To teach at a US school, from reading on it, you have to do another teacher training program as well, it's what a lot of answers on here seem to advise.

But to teach Phys Ed as a business, as in a fitness & health program for adults, that would be different since it's a business.

Good luck

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