Kinesiology major makes the gym his classroom as SDFC personal trainer

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for spring 2019 commencement.

Working as a personal trainer is a great way to help others and gain experience in the exercise and wellness field. But for graduating senior Ryo Kataoka, the job was a way to learn outside the classroom about the science taught in his classes.

“What is often theoretically acknowledged is not necessarily practical for some clients,” Kataoka, a kinesiology major, said. “These experiences allow me to grow as a personal trainer by giving me new questions and areas to study.”

Originally from Aichi, Japan, Kataoka said working as a personal trainer at the Sun Devil Fitness Complex was a great opportunity for expanding his coaching and communication skills.

He spoke to ASU Now to reflect on his time as a Sun Devil and where he’s going from here.

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: Because I have been a competitive soccer player for a long time, I was always intrigued by exercise science.

Although I only had limited knowledge back then, my curiosity in applying science into practice burgeoned when I was in a high school soccer club, and with many trials and errors, my curiosity in exercise science grew even more, so I set my academic career to learn further in college in the United States.

It was not an easy transition from a different country as an international student, but I'm glad about how much I have learned and thankful to all the people who have supported me.

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: Coming from a different cultural background, I found that many people in the U.S. are able to give their opinions and be more assertive. I was poor at asserting myself at the beginning, but during my years at ASU, I learned to express my opinion and hold discussions with other students.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I chose ASU based on a variety of opportunities at such a big school.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: Both Nicole Nolan and Tannah Broman taught me the field of exercise science and how to interpret research critically, which I know will help me in graduate school.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: Build a habit that helps to reach your goal. What helped me personally was to start with a small habit and make it easy so I can't say no.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: The SDFC Downtown was my favorite spot. I liked the atmosphere in the facility and the interaction with staff and students was always pleasing and enjoyable.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I recently got accepted to graduate school in Florida, so my next step is to advance my understanding of the field of exercise science and become a part of enabling the developments in that field. I'm excited about the opportunities that await!

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A:  I would use it to advance the research for sustainable energy sources.

Written by Sun Devil Storyteller Bryan Pietsch, EOSS Marketing