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Cyberfitness: Is it in you?

Combining physical fitness and computers into one career isn’t as strange as it sounds. Cyberfitness: Is it in you? Combining physical fitness and computers into one career isn’t as strange as it sounds.

Dear Molly: I am 23 years old with no college degree, but I love working out and I love computers. I thought about some way to track my workout using my computer, but right now writing stuff down in a notebook is working for me. Is there any way I can combine these two really strong interests? Right now I am working part-time as a rock-climbing instructor and I know that I need to get busy doing something else.

Molly says: You know, I can’t think of two activities that seem so far apart–but there is a lot of overlap these days, thanks to the interests of the physical fitness industry in how to use computers to help improve fitness education and training. For example, many health clubs have installed computer systems that monitor your workout as you use various weight lifting machines. The systems track and record your performance, allowing you and your trainer to review exactly what you did during a session, rather than what you thought you did–if you know what I mean!

I’m going to throw out some ideas for you to explore: How about going back to school for physical therapy, but adding on the component of using computers to track your clients’ progress. You could also become a sports or personal trainer by getting a certification. Check out the certification process by visiting the American Fitness Professionals and Associates Web site.

You can use computers in both occupations by using software to track performance. One such software program is Sportsware 2000 Injury Tracking Software by Computer Sports Medicine. JJA Microsystems makes Fitness Tracker, fitness tracking software that runs on hand held computers.

You could also work for a company such as Computer Sports Medicine or JJA Microsystems, helping them to develop, demonstrate, sell, or install their products. You may need a two-year degree in business to be hired by such a company, but they might take you on while you go to school at night.

With a little more specialized education in computer science (think four-year computer science degree), you might be qualified to help create the software itself. You could also work with the companies that make exercise equipment to help them further the computer-tracking trend. I can see these kinds of companies incorporating wireless communications and “smart” computer technology–such as a virtual trainer that cheers you on while you work out–within the next five years.

I haven’t even mentioned ergometrics or biomechanics–just type those terms into your Web browser to start educating yourself on these topics.

Molly Joss also writes the monthly Career Advisor column for ComputerUser magazine. Ask a career-related question at

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