During the last 25 years, we’ve certified over 110,000 professionals. To celebrate our 25th year in business, we’re selecting 25 grads to showcase this year. Meet our next featured grad, Tyler Kalisiak, an AFPA Certified Sports Nutritionist and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, who's built a successful business working with athletes.
How did you originally become interested in health, nutrition, and wellness?
I grew up racing motocross. So, I was an athlete my whole life in the hopes of becoming a professional athlete. For a few years, I did achieve that milestone and did get to the professional ranks, but that dream only lasted so long. Afterward, I needed to decide what I wanted to do next. It finally clicked one day that even in my spare time, I was still living that lifestyle of constantly being active and eating healthy, and I realized that this is what I needed to start pursuing.
Why did you choose the Sports Nutritionist certification and the Strength & Conditioning Specialist certification?
Because of the athletic world that I grew up in, I was specifically interested in the Sports Nutritionist certification and the Strength & Conditioning Specialist certification. It was not just that I love the athletic world. I liked how you need to train as an athlete and how you need to eat to refuel and recover as an athlete. When you’re coming out of that world like I was, and going from one side to the other, where you were an athlete and now you’re serving athletes, it's cool because you could take everything that you've learned and then better apply it to the athletes. It makes it easier to better understand what their viewpoints on things are, what their perspectives are, and what they're actually going through.
Why did you choose AFPA as your certifying organization?
My mom actually got certified as a personal trainer through AFPA first. So, when my interest came about in wanting to work with athletes from a physical and nutritional standpoint, I started doing my research, and she directed me to AFPA. After I looked at all the different courses and ways to go about the certification process, AFPA did really make the most sense out of them all.
When I decided to change my career path, I was working in retail. The great thing about AFPA was I was able to complete these courses on my own time. I managed it on my own time, in my own terms to finish it, in the required amount of time that I was given.
What was your experience like with AFPA?
Once I got certified with AFPA, it really opened up the opportunities for my long-term career, and it gave me direction because I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I knew what I was passionate about, but once I actually got certified, there's been so many opportunities that have opened up for me.
The certification process was great because it wasn't like I got my materials and my exam, and then I was on my own. Any time I needed help, I could email AFPA directly or call, and I would get a response almost immediately, no joke. I’d open up my inbox later that day or the next day, and there'd be a reply helping me out with the questions I had. It's just so easy from a customer service standpoint to work with AFPA.
I got certified initially in about 2008. So, it's been over ten years now that I've been certified. I keep continuing to get recertified with AFPA because it’s flexible with my schedule, and there are so many different courses of study to get my continuing education credits through.
What was your favorite part about the certification programs?
My favorite part about both programs was that they're not just giving you the basics. You're really learning the human body, how we're wired, how we're designed, and how to go about applying that information when you work with clients. I got to really learn how the body works as an athlete, how to apply proper workouts, exercises, and periodization to their training abilities throughout the course of their seasons. But then also what do they need to be fed, what is it that they need to properly recover to perform again great the next day. So, what I loved about these courses is that they really get deep.
What is your career now?
I manage a sports training facility. I’ve been able to work with some of the top athletes to better their careers. I really didn't know where my abilities were going to take me after I got certified. But my career has taken me on a lot of avenues. I’ve worked with some of the top athletes, from doing mini-training series online, to even being a host for a TV show that was a pilot for a fitness network. It's been really mind-blowing where my career has led me. Recently, my career has pushed me even more into the nutrition world, where I’m now doing nutrition for Factory Yamaha racers and have also recently become a partner in a meal-prepping service.
How has getting certified impacted your income?
When I first started my certifications with AFPA, I really had the passion to better the lives of athletes from the health and fitness perspective. I never took into account how that'd be applicable to my income on a monthly basis. I went from working behind a desk and getting paid the same amount every week. Now, it's really up to me, my hard work, and how much I want to put into my own business to really open up the possibilities to what my monthly income could look like. I now have the ability to really just expand my business and generate much more income than I ever thought would be coming with bettering people's lives. Now that I’m certified with AFPA, it is all about following my heart to serve athletes and bettering their careers from the fitness and health world. I in no way thought about how it would apply to my finances and what I was getting paid week in and week out. And once I started that and bettering the lives of all these athletes, I really was able to look back and realize that there was no cap or no ceiling that was held over what my finances could look like in my new career choice that I took. So since then, it's just crazy because I'm following my heart, like I said, and bettering these lives, but it's just building and expanding what my finances are, what my income is looking like each month. It's crazy.
What advice would you give to anyone who is thinking about getting certified?
Follow your heart. Whatever it is that you love, you can't put a price on that. I wake up every day and go to my hobby. The thing that I love doing is what I get to do for a living, and I'm so thankful for that.