Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., Quincy College, Abington, MA
Did your career path start off with fitness?
I began my college studies in the field of engineering at Penn State University. At one point during my freshman year, my track coach asked me to consider a career in physical education/coaching. I thought that was an excellent recommendation, and proceeded to change my major to physical education (this was before the field of exercise science existed).
What is the most important career move you have made in your life so far?
Perhaps my most important career move was to leave my position as assistant professor of physical education at Florida State University to become a YMCA fitness director in the emerging field of physical fitness. I wanted to have some first-hand experience at exercise instruction for average adults and older adults, and then return to college teaching as a more knowledgeable professor in a new exercise science curriculum. My experiences were so positive working in YMCA fitness (especially the research studies) that it took me 30 years to come back to full-time college teaching.
Did you have a mentor, or was there a person in your life that inspired you along your path to get into this field?
As mentioned above, my college track coach (Dr. John A Lucas) was definitely instrumental in directing me into physical education. As time went on, I made the decision to move more towards exercise and fitness with less emphasis on sports skills and competitive athletics.
What motivates you to exercise?
My main motivation is to be healthy, and to be as fit as possible (or perhaps practical at my age) in the areas of muscular fitness and cardiorespiratory fitness. I truly love to exercise, and feel that my physical activity partly defines who I am as a person as well as a professional.
What fitness activities do you participate in?
My regular exercise activities include strength training, running and cycling. My favorite recreational activities are hiking, horseback riding, and canoeing.
What inspires you: Personally. Professionally. Spiritually?
I am inspired by many things. Personally, I am most inspired by my wife, my friends, and my students. Professionally, I am most inspired by my colleagues in fitness, in teaching, and in organizations such as the American College of Sports Medicine. Spiritually, I am most inspired by reading the Bible.
How did you first become familiar/involved with ACSM?
I first became aware of ACSM as a graduate teaching assistant at Penn State University when I assisted one of ACSM’s founders, Dr. Karl Stoedefalke, teach his noon-hour faculty cardiac rehabilitation class. He played a major role in my involvement with ACSM.
What one piece of advice would you provide to up and coming health and fitness professionals?
My advice for new fitness professionals is to some spend time with a highly-respected and experienced exercise science professional who can serve as an effective role model and mentor. I wish I had done this more as a young professional, as I most likely would have avoided many mistakes, had a clearer direction for my career path in fitness, and been much more effective with my work in the field of exercise science.