5 Questions for Dr. Len Kravitz

Megan Merchant

Len Kravitz

Len Kravitz, PhD, is one of the most highly regarded and respected educators in the fitness field.  Among his extensive awards list, he was the 1987 Fitness Instructor of the Year for IDEA and since 1989 has been a regularly contributing editor and author to the IDEA Fitness Journal.  He is the program coordinator of exercise science at the University of New and is currently developing a clinical weight loss program for a Florida-based bariatric company and coauthoring a Human Kinetics book on Eccentric Exercise with colleague Aaron Bubbico, MS.

When and how did you realize Fitness was the career path for you? 

“I began with a gymnastics background with interests in science and research; these pursuits lead to a flexibility study proposal at San Jose State in California.  The Chair recommended I study an aerobic dance class to meet the 60 required study subjects with the added condition I TEACH this class.  Back then group instructors prepared to teach through VHS, audio cassette, and live observation.  I quickly grew attached to the fitness phenomenon: the anomaly that people would voluntarily attend and participate in group classes to improve their fitness.  I happily joined the fitness realm while simultaneously maintaining my scientific interests through Exercise Science.”

You have an extensive publication and peer review library; which article topic do you find of most interest?

“I love discovering ALL the exercise benefits to health through a scientific perspective.  Researchers are starting to study the effects of too much exercise; one forthcoming article I’m developing covers Rhabdomyolysis: striated muscle breakdown caused by overexertion.  I’ll be discussing this further in my course “Metabolic Conditioning: the good, the bad, and the ugly” at the IDEA Personal Trainer Institute the end of February 2013.  Another forthcoming article reviews the complexity of thermodynamics.  The traditional calorie burn model is not as simple as intake and output.  Some people retain more water; metabolic rates vary.  Constant motion is critical to health of the majority of individuals in addition to the recommended ACSM physical activity guidelines.  I always strive to make my newest article the BEST article and having a passion for my topic is a vital component.  I must also compliment some of the best editors in the business; the Editorial Board at IDEA is phenomenal!”

Which current group fitness professionals do you enjoy observing?

“There are many stellar fitness pros right now.  Keli Roberts has a tremendous program experience and research background and is always extraordinarily prepared and knowledgeable.  Lawrence Biscontini is similarly innovative regarding mind and body work.  Jay Blahnik drives the industry with his endless creativity.  Rob Glick is fun to watch and can instruct anything: he empowers and inspires classes without overbearing his students through his unique communication style.”

In your 2012 IDEA Journal article “Qualities of top teachers” you end with a dedication to one of your teachers, Gail Sears (1935-2010).  Tell us about her. 

“I met Gail many years ago at the first or second IDEA Convention.  Only in the past ten years have professionals begun staying at hotels.  Prior to this, presenters stayed with the event host 95% of the time.  Gail and I saw each other regularly at week-long events and Gail reached out to everyone; she gave me first class treatment while in Texas for over 15 years.  She began at a recreation center in San Antonio and eventually evolved the center into a large, high-quality program.  Gail was both a stellar person and professional. ”

How do you currently offer group fitness instruction to your students at the University of New Mexico?

“Our ‘Teaching Group Exercise’ course has transitioned to ‘Teaching Exercise.’  Students learn the difference in instruction for one-on-one, small group, and large group sizes as well as exercise modifications for healthy, clinical, and therapeutic applications.  Every student sole or co-authors a group exercise book that includes ten chapters on the different aspects of exercise.  They receive both a real-world experience and additional options of copywriting, self-publishing, and editing their books.  75% of our Exercise Science students graduate to a physical or occupational therapy program.  All fitness students require a deep understanding of weight loss.”

For more on Dr. Len Kravitz, visit http://www.drlenkravitz.com/.


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