James Madison University

Alumni Highlight - Chris Tokar

BS Kinesiology: Exercise Science, Class of 2011

Chris Tokar

Throughout my life I have always been interested in exercise and sports, so studying Kinesiology was a no-brainer for me.† I wanted to be able to share my passion and interests in exercise with others but I was not sure how.† All of a sudden I was a senior and I didnít know what I wanted to do with my degree.† Kin 421 helped me to realize the benefits of working with others on their personal fitness goals.† It provided a first hand experience to personal training.† After completion of the course, I received a referral to work with another professor at JMU.† Seeing him reach his goals and knowing that I played a role in helping to facilitate the action made personal training seem like a rewarding profession to get into.† I would also recommend that any aspiring fitness professional take Kin 425, even though it was not required for Exercise Science, it provided me with so much valuable information in regards to strength training.

My Practicum and Internship

I did my practicum and internship with Anytime Fitness in Dumfries, Va.† It was a rather small gym that had a few trainers on staff but most of my duties were in the front office and membership sales.† In my downtime I shadowed the trainers and tried to take in as much info as I could.† I learned a lot about what goes into running a gym and it was rewarding to see the ins and outs from that perspective, but I also learned that I did not want to sell memberships or sit behind a desk all day.


Chris Tokar

After graduation I became certified through National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) as a Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES).† I interviewed for a few personal training positions at various gyms and health clubs but the one that stood out to me was Life Time Fitness.† Their total philosophy on living a healthy lifestyle lined up with my own personal views.† The other clubs that I interviewed with preached “exercise, exercise, exercise” as if it was cure all, end all.† Life Time’s approach was lets optimize your metabolism, educate you on healthy nutrition habits and integrate exercise.† The Registered Dietitians on staff provide our clients with professional nutrition advice and the metabolic testing/life lab testing (for more info http://lifetimefitness.mylt.com/community/lifelab) provide all-inclusive information on what is going on inside the body with metabolism and stress.† From there we can make a comprehensive plan that integrates exercise for optimal results.

The population at Life Time varies from teens, to young professionals, to middle-aged adults, and senior citizens.† Some are looking for weight loss, performance enhancement, corrective exercise, or just to feel better throughout the day.† I am able to work with many different populations through out my day, which keeps each day fresh and exciting.† Life Time also has training seminars on metabolism, nutrition, and new training methods that help to continue to further my own education and become a better fitness professional.† There are a variety of ways to get involved and take on new responsibilities; besides training my clients I currently perform fitness consultations, myHealthScoreís (http://revolution.myhealthcheck.com/myHealthScore/62910/), and Iím finishing my certification to become a metabolic technician. Whether I am helping my clients with exercise and exercise programming or educating members on metabolic issues and healthy metabolism, JMUís Exercise Science program prepared me for the tasks and challenges I face every day. In the future I would like to go back to school to further my education in Physical Therapy or Clinical Exercise Physiology. I can thank JMU for helping me along the way.