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Pamela Myers, PhD, CDN, CHTP, AFP.

The road to becoming an AFAA Fitness Practitioner has been a long one for Pamela Myers. She began working on the program in the mid 90s, while teaching full-time at a high school, part-time at a university and going to school full-time to complete her doctorate.

"I'm a glutton for punishment. Your typical Type A personality who has to do it all," Myers says.

Along the way, Myers experienced a house fire and lived in a hotel for more than six months. There were family illnesses and deaths, as well as career changes. Life also threw curve balls at her with regards to health issues that needed to be addressed. But Myers stuck with the program, completing requirements as she could. She was certainly the tortoise in the "tortoise and hare race." But "slow and steady" paid off in the long run.

"I'm very thankful AFAA stood by me throughout all of this and supported me in completing my AFP requirements. I think this is a strong testament to what a wonderful and professional organization AFAA is," she says.

After almost a decade running a private practice and teaching at a university, Myers now instructs nutrition classes and develops exercise and nutrition programs for cancer victims and survivors at The Wellness Community (TWC) in Atlanta, Georgia. TWC is a national non-profit organization providing emotional support and education for people who are battling or have survived cancer, as well as their loved ones (www.wellness-community.org). "Having lost many family members to various types of cancer, I have made it my personal mission to help TWC establish exercise and nutrition programs for their participants," Myers says.

AFP certification helps Myers establish rapport with oncologists, surgeons and other physicians. "AFP [certification], along with my other credentials and experiences, helps me to better serve as a liaison between patient and physician in matters related to fitness," she says.

Practice Profile

Practice:

"I developed and now instruct the fitness component of 'Return to Wellness,' a program created by TWC for women battling or surviving breast cancer. I also teach nutrition classes there."

Formal Education:

AAS, BMedSc, MEd, PhD, CRT, CDN, CHTP and AFP.

Current Challenges:

"I have written and published professionally for many publications including WebMD, professional journals and local papers. Clients and friends have urged me to write a book for many years. In recent months two strong ideas, incorporating fitness and nutrition, have developed. So my current, and probably greatest, challenge will be applying the discipline necessary to write the manuscripts and strive for publication."

What Makes Her Practice Unique:

"I work with such a high-risk group. The levels of wellness among [cancer patients] are extremely diverse--with regards to standard fitness guidelines, and to where each person is in the treatment process. I try to incorporate fitness techniques that establish a balance of mind, body and spirit. Stress is high among participants. Exercise should be a sanctuary for them. This is the atmosphere I strive to create in each class."

Her Favorite Communication Tools:

"My eyes, ears and heart. Perceived needs and actual needs are sometimes miles apart. Only by using our eyes, ears and hearts to truly see, listen, feel and understand what our clients' needs are can we set achievable goals to keep them motivated and coming back for more."

Top Client Education Tool:

"Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis--to look at body composition and analyze phase angle, intracellular and extra-cellular fluids. This puts a face and number on metabolic processes within the body that encourage better exercise and nutrition choices in clients."

Best Professional Attribute:

"Being professional. I take my career very seriously. I work to stay current in the fields in which I'm certified. When working with the public, I maintain a professional image--in dress, mannerisms and time management."

Key Elements for Wellness:

"I believe each of the six dimensions of wellness--physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, environmental and social--are essential to a balanced life."

Favorite Pastimes:

"My indoor activities include reading and watching movies while cuddled on the couch with my husband. Friday night movie dates are a 21-plus-year tradition. Outdoor activities range from hiking and riding ATVs to simply taking my 16-year-young Shih Tzu for slow, meditative walks."

Can't Live Without:

"My husband and my family."

Next Big Project:

"Writing my manuscripts."

Motto:

It's a maxim I read in the book Running from Safety by Richard Bach.

"Life does not require us to be consistent, cruel, patient, helpful, angry, rational, thoughtless, loving, rash, open-minded, neurotic, careful, rigid, tolerant, wasteful, rich, downtrodden, gentle, sick, considerate, funny, stupid, healthy, greedy, beautiful, lazy, responsive, foolish, sharing, pressured, intimate, hedonistic, industrious, manipulative, insightful, capricious, wise, selfish, kind or sacrificed. Life does, however, require us to live with the consequences of our choices."

The AFAA Fitness Practitioner[R] (AFP) is AFAA's highest level of certification--a degreed professional dedicated to providing a full range of fitness education services such as assessment, nutritional education and one-on-one training and counseling. For more information regarding prerequisites and course curriculum, call (800) 446-2322, ext. 231.
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Title Annotation:AFP Spotlight; AFAA Fitness Practitioner
Publication:American Fitness
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2005
Words:834
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