By Courtney Jacques, Contributing Writer 

UMF Alumnus Julian Jackson takes advantage of the weight room in the FRC. (Photo by Lindsay Mower)

UMF Alumnus Julian Jackson takes advantage of the weight room in the FRC. (Photo by Lindsay Mower)

Nine UMF students and three professional staff members attended the American Aerobics Association International (Triple AI) Conference late August 2016, held in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, allowing the UMF Fitness and Recreation Center (FRC) to offer revamped fitness programs, over 18 new certifications and 51 group exercise classes.

The three day weekend event was filled with bringing education to fitness professionals. Triple AI events are statewide and attract thousands of people. The Cape Cod conference had well over 1,000 individuals gathered to increase their training in fitness.

The conference allowed students a greater opportunity to expand their knowledge in the health field and receive certifications in specific areas. The UMF Health Club contributed $100 to every student attending the trip. Alison Thayer, director of PHE and fitness, and Michael Colella, director of group fitness and personal training, are two of the professional staff that joined students for the weekend long experience.

 Students walked away from the conference with over 18 certifications, enabling them to teach internationally known classes such as P90x, PiYo, Barre and cycle. “A couple years ago 95% of all instructors and trainers at the FRC were not certified with anything, and now almost all instructors have certifications,” said Colella.

“I have knowledge and faith in my staff to provide professional, safe and effective service,” said Thayer.

The conference is split into three different sections to provide various learning seminars. “People were pretty much active all day,” said Thayer. Some trainees had to take written tests, some were active, and others had practical applications, shared Thayer and Colella. The conference caters to many areas of exercise from aquatics to kids and teens fitness. Learning different styles was a highlight of Colella’s experience.

The attendees this year were confident and knowledgeable, according to Thayer. Both Colella and Thayer expressed how well the UMF students performed at the conference. “Our program is so unique at UMF: we mentor and educate. Many people have to teach themselves to get as much education as students in universities,” said Thayer.

Colella elaborated on the success of the UMF attendees. “Some of our students were more well trained than the professionals themselves. Our students take the time to study themselves and it shows. We get good experience here.” Thayer’s greatest reward of the weekend was, “seeing students shine.”

Both Thayer and Colella hope to see more students at future Triple AI conferences. “It’s local, it’s inexpensive and always has the newest trends,” said Thayer. “The more students that go, the more the university can expand itself,” said Colella.