When trying to decide what your major should be, it is sometimes helpful to get a glimpse of what your classes will look like if you make a particular decision. Although the potential list is a long one, if you choose a fitness-related major, with the hopes of becoming a personal trainer, group instructor, wellness coach, or other similar position, you are practically guaranteed to take some of the following classes.
Anatomy and Physiology
Although this may be classified as either a prerequisite or core part of the curriculum, most health-centric majors will include at least one anatomy and physiology class. In “A&P,” as it is sometimes called, you will learn the basics of the organization of the human body, with an emphasis on pathological and clinical conditions for different body systems. You will also learn about medical terminology that you may find useful in your career. Different systems you might study include sensory organs; bones, muscles, and nerves; the endocrine and immune systems; blood and blood circulation; the respiratory and cardiac systems; and the reproductive, digestive, and urinary systems. This class may be followed up by a second course in anatomy and physiology, or by classes more specifically oriented toward your major.
You may or may not take a class in medical terminology, but being able to recognize different medical words based on the combination of prefix, root, suffix, and vowels used will be helpful in a career that requires you to identify and label various parts of the human body, as well as their associated pathological conditions. A class like this will help you improve both your oral and written communication skills as it pertains to medical jargon, and pronunciation and spelling may be emphasized in particular. You might also be given lessons in billing and coding, so that one day you will be able to accurately code the procedures you employ and the diagnoses you assign.
A class with this or a similar title will often serve as an introduction to many of the concepts you will need to master before graduating from an exercise science or health fitness program. You will cover certain aspects of anatomy and physiology as well as biomechanics, program design, general nutrition, client assessment, injury prevention, and motivation. You might also be awarded specific certifications in conjunction with this class, such as personal training or CPR/First Aid certifications. Other potential topics include sports medicine, special populations (such as children or the elderly), kinesiology, flexibility, body composition, and cardiovascular and strength training workouts.
Strength and Conditioning
This class will have a particular emphasis on strength training exercises. You will learn how to create exercise programs for athletes looking to put on muscle, as well as motivate and coach clients. Topics might include assessment, flexibility, athlete nutrition, sports psychology, strength, and injury prevention and treatment. You might have certain portions of the class that focus on specific muscles (such as abdominals, shoulders, or legs) or specific sports (such as bodybuilding, soccer, football, or weightlifting). You will also study other aspects of exercise that will be important in a successful training regimen, such as metabolism, temperature regulation, and body composition.