8 Habits of Successful Medical Exercise Specialists


Over the last 29 years teaching Medical Exercise Specialist workshops, I have noticed highly successful Medical Exercise Specialists demonstrate eight habits that guarantee their success. We will discuss each of these 8 habits and explain the impact each has on a medical exercise practice. Successful MESs are able to develop safe and effective medical exercise programs for a wide range of medical conditions, establish long-term referral relationships with medical professionals, and build strong practices. If you embrace these habits, I guarantee you too will grow a profitable and successful practice. 



Medical Exercise Specialists DEFINE their scope of practice and role in a clear and concise manner in their brochures, marketing materials, and presentations. Defining your scope of practice and clearly outlining your menu of services allows you to position yourself as the medical exercise expert, rather than relying on someone, who may lack a true understanding of your background and education, to accurately explain your function. The inaccurate definition might negatively impact the growth and standing of your practice. Providing a definition of medical exercise training will reinforce your scope of practice and prevent any misunderstanding or misconceptions regarding your role.


MESs PRESENT to local medical clinics, professional organizations or condition support groups to inform these groups of the services he or she offers. These presentations include information on the MES’ scope of practice, the role of the MES in the medical management team, the types of clients an MES works with, and the benefits of medical exercise training. A brief demonstration of a simple and easy-to-perform exercise may be included in the presentation. The exercise demonstration allows the MES to demonstrate the ease and simplicity of the exercise. Experiencing and feeling the exercise may convert members of the audience to clients. The successful MES goal is to make at least one presentation per month to a group or medical practice. 


MESs REPORT their assessment findings and client progress to the referring medical professional or insurance carrier. This ability to clearly report findings and progress is an essential skill every MES must develop. The inability to report outcomes and progress in a clear concise manner may result in the loss of future referrals and relationships with medical professionals.  Medical exercise training forms and reporting guidelines are outlined in the METI – Medical Exercise Specialist workshop.  


Successful Medical Exercise Specialists FOLLOW UP verbally or in writing to all inquiries from medical professionals and clients within 72 hours – but the sooner the better. This ensures the medical professional or client receives your input and determines the next step in the management of the condition. A text may sometimes lack the subtle details a medical professional or client may need to make a decision on the direction of the exercise program and/or management.


Successful MESs ASSESS and re-assess the medical exercise client to establish a baseline for the program and to determine the client’s needs. The MES must determine the appropriate assessment procedures to use to gain a clear understanding of the client’s ROM/flexibility, strength, endurance, balance, functional capacity, etc. The assessment process should give the MES a clear understanding of the client’s ability without exacerbation of the client’s symptoms. 


The MES must PROGRESS the client to reach the goals established at the outset of the program. The MES must progress the client without triggering an exacerbation. The ability to progress the client requires a combination of understanding the client’s condition, knowledge of the progression guidelines, and the ability to apply medical exercise techniques.


The MES must MOTIVATE, encourage and support the medical exercise client to achieve the program goals. Knowing when and how to motivate the client without being harsh is a trait every MES must develop. Pain and discomfort may cause the medical exercise client to become discouraged and depressed. Expertise in exercise prescription alone is not the key to medical exercise success. The medical exercise client, in most situations, needs more encouragement and support than the traditional fitness client. 


MESs EDUCATE their clients so they can better manage their own conditions. An educated client has a much greater chance of success than a client with no understanding of their condition. MESs also constantly educates themselves and their staff members. Successful MESs attend workshops and seminars, as well as conduct their own research on the conditions and topics encountered daily. MESs incorporate this new knowledge into their practices. Successful MESs believe in professional learning.


Medical exercise training is the new frontier in fitness. Medical Exercise Specialists with these eight habits will see increased referrals, gain credibility with medical professionals, and see increased practice revenue. These 8 habits are key to success. 


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