/ / / FITNESS: Simone Biles’ Olympic Decision: Why It’s Important for Health and Exercise Professionals
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FITNESS: Simone Biles’ Olympic Decision: Why It’s Important for Health and Exercise Professionals

At the end of last week, Olympic and World Champion Simone Biles landed on what matters most. The US gymnast, Simone Biles, a former world champion, sent a message to the rest of the world by withdrawing from several Olympic events. She also highlighted the importance of holistic and wellness, and how they can be viewed as interdependent.

Ms. Biles describes what happened before her decision. “I felt like I was shaking, couldn’t nap. It was the first time I felt this way before entering a competition. Then, when I saw the competition, I realized that mental was not an issue. I needed to focus on my mental health. It’s clearer than ever that people need whole solutions. Holistic health refers to a holistic approach to optimal health and well-being. It considers the whole person and considers how they interact with their environment. (American Council on Exercise 2019).).

With holistic health becoming more popular and organizations looking for ways to support the whole person’s well-being, all ACE professionals have the opportunity to be part of wellness teams. In fact, 92% of respondents to the 12th Annual Employer-sponsored Health and Well-being Survey expanded their support for programs addressing issues such as stress management, sleep improvement, and resiliency, as well as supporting mental health programs for dependent children. Budget dollars dedicated to corporate well-being programs is up, averaging $6 million, and for large employers (20,000-plus employees), the average budget has increased to $10.5 million. There is never been a better time to help people achieve their goals and grow a successful practice.

Simone Biles has led us to what Malcolm Gladwell refers to as the tipping point. This is when an idea or trend, or social behavior, crosses a threshold and tips and spreads like wildfire.

With that in mind, here are three ways you can enhance your ability to serve others and grow your practice as a health and exercise professional:

Shared Understanding

Knowledge of the language and fundamental positions commonly used by multidisciplinary wellness teams supporting a whole person client-centered approach increases your ability to add to the team or receive direct referrals. It is a good idea to learn about the biopsychosocial model and its relationship to the biomedical model. Think about how your ACE certifications, specializations, and preventive approaches align with the biopsychosocial approach.

Get into Someone Else’s Shoes

Practicing empathy, which involves understanding another person’s experience by imagining yourself in that other person’s situation, is central to truly understanding a whole person. To create a relationship that thrives, it takes empathy and non-judgment. Empathy requires practice and the ability to understand another person’s feelings. Empathy can be practiced by using perspective taking, affirming communication and recognizing emotions. It is important to use empathy correctly in our work as exercise professionals and health coaches. This topic is a major focus of all ACE certifications. The newly launched Taking Aim with ACE: Practicing Equality, and Inclusion As an Exercise Professional continuing education course (0.3 CEs) is available to all ACE Certified professionals.

Know your ABCs

The ACE ABC Approach, which is an integral component of the ACE Mover Method, is a science-supported, client-centered approach to working with clients. The ACE ABC Approach is based on the belief that clients are the best experts on their own lives. It focuses on the idea that people can be empowered to ask powerful open-ended questions and practice active listening to help them achieve the lifestyle changes that they desire. This approach is in line with holistic health and the biopsychosocial methodology. It relies on empathy and understanding the client’s perspective.

Let’s stand behind an Olympian in her courage and declare that mind and body are interconnected and that we need to prepare to serve the whole person. The tipping point has arrived. Are you ready to help others flourish? Is your future a matter either of chance or choice? What steps will you take to help you and the people you have the privilege of serving to a brighter future.


American Council on Exercise (2019). The Professional’s Guide to Health and Wellness Coaching, American Council on Exercise.

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