Len Kravitz, Ph.D., CSCS
Professor and Coordinator of Exercise Science | University of New Mexico
International fitness expert, gymnast, mime artist, aerobics instructor, science geek, professor and researcher are among the numerous titles Len Kravitz has held during his career, which started after earning a bachelor’s degree in recreation from the University of New Mexico (UNM). Len went on to obtain an M.A. in physical education from San Jose State University and a Ph.D. from UNM. He served as faculty at both institutions and, ultimately, selected UNM as his professional home. Len’s research focuses on energy metabolism, energy expenditure and exercise program measurement and assessment.
Energy research seems especially fitting since most people remember Len’s high energy and passion, along with his signature shirt and bolo tie. In fact, high energy is the approach he extends to life whether he’s meeting with students, teaching, presenting or researching a new fitness trend. Len loves what he does, and it shows.
This March, Len will share his passion with hundreds of fitness professionals as he delivers the Larry Golding Keynote at ACSM’s International Health & Fitness Summit. In "Best Workouts from around the World," Len will highlight program designs that improve strength, hypertrophy, cardiovascular health and metabolic well-being as well as discuss qualities of the best fitness professionals. Len will also share the latest research on exercise benefits for clinical and apparently healthy populations during "Training to the MAX: The Ultimate in Cardio and Resistance Exercise."
ACSM staff asked Len a series of questions to learn more this year's summit, his research, advice for students and how ACSM membership has helped him.
- Why should people attend this year’s International Health & Fitness Summit?
The ACSM Summit Program Planning committee, for which I served for numerous years, is truly dedicated to bridging the gap of science to application with the best presenters on current, meaningful topics. There are so many wonderful tracks of interest for fitness pros, wellness educators, nutritionists, worksite health promotion specialists, students, personal trainers and academics.
- Why did you choose your area of research?
A major part of my research interests is with caloric expenditure of exercise and energy expenditure of different modes and programs of exercise. I have always been fascinated with how our body utilizes fuel for total body energy metabolism. In my early days in the fitness industry, not a day went by that I did not have a client or student come up to me requesting advice on burning more calories as you exercise. This really propelled me forward with this line of scientific research.
- What have been some of the significant outcomes of your research?
As I completed my graduate work in exercise science, I knew I wanted to give back to the fitness industry, and I felt my wonderful education would be the venue. I started writing articles on my research for all the professional fitness journals and doing research review articles on numerous hot button topics. To date, I have more than 300 peer review professional publications that provide fitness pros with up-to-date scientific knowledge they can use in their profession.
With my writing, I have been able to mentor and co-author with 70 graduate and undergraduate students, often on their first writing publication experience for the fitness industry. From a professional standpoint, this is very fulfilling as many of these students will be the leaders in our field in the upcoming future.
- What advice do you have for students or professionals entering the field?
My philosophy has always been, “do not follow your passion, LIVE your passion.” Every day I get up and go to UMN where I teach or go to present at a fitness conference in the U.S. and beyond, I feel inspired. Each moment I am living my passion and so enjoying every second.
- How has ACSM membership helped you?
ACSM has an incredible network of colleagues, who share similar interests. We are all so supportive of each other and really motivate each other to continue to grow and succeed in our profession. ACSM conferences and journals provide an incredible resource for our profession to thrive.
- What's one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Most people who meet me now see Len Kravitz as a science geek; however, I taught group exercise and did personal training for 20 years before transitioning into higher education and scientific research.
- Anything else you'd like to add?
My other philosophy is stay laser focused on your goals. I have found that once you write out your goals, and keep laser focused (all the time) on those goals, you will attain them.
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