While University of Maine at Presque Isle employees are familiar with the System’s Wellness Program, perhaps not everyone realizes that close to home, in The County, they have an incredible resource to help support their efforts to achieve healthier and happier lifestyles.
Keli Marston is the Fitness and Wellness Coordinator at UMPI and Healthy and Maine recently had a chance to catch up with her and find out more about her unique ability to encourage her colleagues to explore changes in their lives and her skill in creating an environment of wellness on campus.
Q: Keli, tell us a little bit about the background that makes you such a super fit for the UMPI campus.
A: I received my undergraduate degree at the University of Maine at Presque Isle in Physical Education with a concentration in Fitness and Wellness. Then I got certified through the National Strength and Conditioning Association to become a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.
After working as a trainer and fitness instructor for three years my husband and I decided to go to Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia to pursue our Master's degree. There I got my Master's in Health and Physical Education while working as a graduate assistant in the strength and conditioning department. For two years I designed weight training programs for the women's softball, volleyball, tennis, and soccer teams.
Once we graduated we moved to Jacksonville, Florida for ten years. There my husband and I worked at a performance training center called the High Intensity Training Center. He managed this facility and I was a trainer who worked mostly with weight loss clients and some athletes.
Q: How long have you been at UMPI and what does your role as Fitness and Wellness Coordinator include?
A: I have been at UMPI for four years as the Fitness and Wellness Coordinator. This involves everything from teaching group fitness classes, to personal training, to implementing programs to help faculty and staff become healthier and more physically active, to managing my own group of student workers who clean and take care of the fitness center, and teaching some college level classes.
Q: What sorts of group activities have you programmed at UMPI in your time on campus?
A: Some of the types of group fitness classes that I have implemented are fit camp, which is a boot camp-style class, circuit training, which is 30 minutes of different types of strength training exercises, and a stability ball core training class, which is 30 minutes of core and flexibility.
Q: What is the most challenging part of your job?
A: Programming for faculty and staff has been the most challenging part of my job. I change things year-to-year depending on what works and what does not. I try to implement something new once a month for them. The first two years, I scheduled physical activities for them monthly. Now I realize not everyone wants to do something physical. Wellness is more than just being physically fit. So now I try to incorporate social events, art events, and different distinguished lectures for intellectual as well as mental.
Q: Give us an idea of the sorts of activities that you put in place on a consistent basis?
A: For the month of September I always do a Week of Wellness to kick off the new semester. This year involved fitness assessments, introductions to the strength machines, and a stress management seminar. In October I always plan a Ladies Fit Night for Breast Cancer awareness, and a distinguished lecturer David Sylvester who is a cyclist and filmmaker. For November I will start a new program called the No Gain Challenge. This will start the week before Thanksgiving and run until after New Year's. The goal of this challenge is avoid gaining weight through the holidays. So far I have 11 faculty and staff members signed up for this. December there is another distinguished lecturer, Bob Tarpey, and he will talk about preventing injuries as an athletic trainer. In January I will start my Beach Body Challenge from the end of January until March. I test people on body fat, flexibility, strength, and endurance. For the month of February I like to do blood pressure screenings for heart health, and I coordinate with the cafeteria on campus to provide heart healthy meals for the month. In March I like to do Eat Your Greens in the cafeteria on St. Patty's Day. Then in April I'm planning a weight lifting form clinic, to go over certain lifts and show proper form to prevent injuries.
Q: Where would someone find out the name of their own campus Wellness Champion and how to contact them?
Please see the list of campus Wellness Champions below for the appropriate contact information for your campus:
University of Maine University of Maine at Augusta
Colleen Gagnon Jeanne Mathews
Bridget Gaug email@example.com
Brian Drisko Brendan Gilpatrick
Kelley Strout firstname.lastname@example.org
UMA Bangor University of Maine at Farmington
Lori Googins Michael Collela
University of Maine at Fort Kent University of Maine at Machias
Joyce Plourde Michelle Hale
University of Maine at Presque Isle University of Southern Maine
Keli Marston Amy Blaisdell
email@example.com Katie Mahoney
Alyssa Anaya firstname.lastname@example.org