Tips and Insights from Performance Experts

Meet Our Interns

Our entire business is about improving performance – and that extends to our training for interns. Rather than pushing papers or fetching coffees, we really integrate them into the business. But don’t take our word for it. Check out what these future performance and wellness professionals have been working on, their most valuable experiences, and lessons learned from their time with Accel.

Justin Resendez, Sports Performance Intern

Kirbie Daily, Dietetic Sports Nutrition Intern

Nic Ferrante, Sports Performance Intern

Rudy Morales, Sports Performance Intern

What was your experience like as an intern with Accel Performance and Wellness?

Nic: My experience as an intern at ACCEL Performance and Wellness Center was a very positive and informative experience. Going into the internship, I had personal training experience, but at ACCEL, I was able to learn so much more about how to coach different groups of people through science-based exercise programming.  They taught me how to identify when to cue clients and help them reach their peak performance regardless of their past and present athletic state. I feel more capable of creating and understanding athletic-based exercise programs,  and applying that knowledge to training sessions (one-on-one or small group classes) no matter who is in the class.

Rudy: My internship experience at ACCEL was amazing and full of opportunities. Every day was a learning experience, and it was a very constructive opportunity. The coaches were very receptive and open to my questions and concerns. I definitely feel like I walked away from one step closer to becoming a better strength coach.

How did you hear about the internship opportunity?

Kirbie: I heard about the opportunity through the University of Memphis internship site list, as well as my boyfriend, who works with a personal training company and trains his clients at ACCEL.

Rudy: The internship coordinator at the University of Memphis told me about ACCEL. After contemplating between a personal training internship and collegiate strength and conditioning internship, he recommended I look into ACCEL. The model is unique because it’s a public facility that utilizes a performance and movement-based approach to training. As someone that wanted to experience strength coaching at different levels with all populations, that combination was a major influence.

What were your responsibilities/job requirements?

Justin: In the beginning, my responsibilities were to observe, ask questions, learn how the coaches ran the classes, and assist in setting up and cleaning. Responsibilities progressed with trust, and I was allowed to be more hands-on by demonstrating exercises. Eventually, I was leading and coaching whole classes.

Kirbie: My responsibilities were to help create weekly educational handouts and informational graphics for varying nutrition topics. I also shadowed Alisha, ACCEL’s nutritionist,  in her one-on-one nutrition therapy/counseling sessions. We brainstormed topics for weekly social media posts and created that content for the feed. I completed weekly grocery store tour videos, snack pairing photos, and compiled the information for the captions.

What was one learning objective or goal you had for yourself during this internship? Did you accomplish it?

Nic: One of my learning objectives was to learn and understand how to program with a more athletic mindset, and how to apply these science-based athletic concepts to the actual workouts. ACCEL taught us so many methods – things like reaction time, fall prevention, bone strength, connective tissue strength, muscle strength and power, metabolic endurance, and much more. I learned how to think more like an athletic coach and help all populations. I also wanted to learn how to cue clients during a workout, and I feel much more competent in this skill after my internship. I have definitely accomplished my goal and feel much more educated and ready in applying these skills.

\Rudy: My goal with the internship was to gain confidence and experience as a professional in a coaching setting. I was able to accomplish this goal with the aid and guidance of the knowledgeable and resourceful coaching staff. The ability to go from shadowing coaches and learning how they cue and coach, to learning and understanding how they program classes and exercise selection, and eventually help in formulating and coaching workout classes allowed me to accomplish this goal.

In what ways can you use what you’ve learned in your internship to enhance your experience in the classroom as you finish school?

Justin: My time at ACCEL boosted my confidence a lot, and ways to utilize the knowledge I gained.  My ability to build relationships with clients greatly improved.  These skills will help me with presenting information to my peers as I finish classes and move on to new opportunities.

Nic: Every program at ACCEL Performance and Wellness Center, from a workout and recovery,  is all done from an extremely educated and athletic mindset. I am much more capable of adapting classes to clients and am able to progress and regress exercises as needed. Now, I understand the crossover of core classes in school and how to apply this to a job. The biomechanics, exercise physiology, and motor learning concepts are applied to the programs at ACCEL. All of these skills can be brought back to the classroom and applied to real-world situations.

What advice would you give to yourself going into this internship again, or to others considering an internship opportunity with Accel?

Justin: Be okay with not having all the answers and knowing that it is not expected. Learning and growing are why you are there.  Being confident and open up to the clients early on, and establishing relationships with the members made the classes very enjoyable. Utilize the coaches. They are a wealth of knowledge and there to help. You will learn so much by asking questions and having conversations.

Kirbie: I would tell myself to be super flexible and not worry so much about the little things. Everyone at ACCEL is very open and welcoming, and any mistakes or missteps made are not criticized or focused upon. I would also tell myself to take every opportunity to be physically and mentally present in each moment of the internship, and to start having fun right from the beginning.

If you or someone you know is looking for hands-on training in sports nutrition or sports performance training for college credit, email Drew Graham. We’re always willing to help train the next generation of dietitians, coaches, and performance experts.