Grace College, Winona Lake, Ind., is launching a fitness and nutrition concentration for its exercise science major, one of the fastest-growing majors at the institution. Exercise Science Director Christina Walters jumped at the opportunity to add a specialized focus on fitness and nutrition to meet the most common interests of prospective and current students.
“The field of fitness and nutrition is evolving and growing at a rapid rate. And in our fitness-driven culture, everyone claims to be an expert. This degree is intended to train and equip fitness and nutrition professionals by exposing them to evidence-based practices and modern techniques within the industry,” said Walters.
Walters explained that the focus of the program is to study the multiple facets of the human body and understand how using exercise and nutritional strategies will promote a healthy life.
“This degree really plays to our students’ strengths,” said Walters. “A wide majority of my students who are interested in fitness also want to know about nutrition. They really go hand in hand. To see the excitement generated around this new offering is truly encouraging,” she said.
Third-year exercise science and pre-chiropractic student, Zach Kraft, said, “I think the new exercise science concentration is great! Many other schools of our size don’t offer both nutrition and fitness in one degree. I’m grateful that Grace is always looking out for its students and equipping us to not only be successful but purposeful in our fields.”
Kraft’s classmate, Hannah Wanemacher, concurs. “This new concentration is a great addition that will allow many students at Grace to specialize in their niche career interests. Selfishly, I wish this concentration was available when I started here at Grace,” she said.
Wanemacher will graduate with her undergraduate degree in exercise science this December and her MBA in May of 2022. She has plans to become a personal trainer after graduation and hopes to open a fitness center with her brother in the future.
The new concentration will pave the way for students to become personal trainers, coaches, and nutrition coaches. It also sets students up to earn their certification in nutrition and will be an ideal springboard for those who want to pursue higher education to become a registered dietician.
Students enrolled in the program will be required to take a variety of highly practical classes including “Group Fitness Instruction,” “Strength and Conditioning,” “Nutrition” and “Diet, Planning, and Counseling.” They will also complete internships and practicums in order to get hands-on experience both in and out of the classroom. Walters said students will even have the opportunity to lead fitness classes to large groups on and off campus.
“At the heart of it, this program is all about developing strong leaders,” said Walters. “The goal is that students graduate from the program capable of leading their clients, leading in their workplace and most importantly, leading others toward Christ through the platform of healthy eating and living,” she said.