Say hi to Joel Hardwick. Joel is an Exercise Physiologist at the Piedmont Atlanta Fitness Center in GA. He will be celebrating 3 years at the center on October 31st this year. Joel has a B.S. in Exercise Science and is currently pursuing a M.S. in Exercise Science.
Joel is also a Brain Health Ambassador for the Academy for Brain Health and Performance. Brain Health Ambassadors are fitness, health and wellness professionals at the top of their field who are passionate about promoting and representing brain health within their community. Brain Health Ambassadors are #1 advocates for brain healthy lifestyles and are leading the brain health movement.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
This question reminds me of what Paige Jones and Jennifer Lavoie asked me in my interview for this position, “What did you enjoy most about working in cardiac rehab”? My answer then is the same now, the people. The people you meet everyday make going to work worth it. The great thing about the Piedmont Fitness center culture is that we don’t see you as a member or patient, we see you as family and we treat you that way too. It is easy to enjoy going to work when everyone is family.
What has been your favorite/most successful initiative at your fitness/wellness center?
My favorite initiative is one that has not quite yet seen fruition. This initiative is centered around providing pre-surgical exercise to cancer patients, affectionately called “prehab”. The concept of prehab is certainly not new, and yet it has barely reached its full potential inside of a clinical oncology practice. My aim is to connect the dots between exercise physiology and practices within Piedmont Healthcare to deliver the best possible patient care.
As far as successful goes, I coordinate a pickleball program at Piedmont Atlanta that has connected dozens of players not only from the local community, but also from the region and the country. Some players have even found their way into Piedmont all the way from Arizona.
What led you to choose this field?
I took a couple of detours, but I found my way to exercise physiology because I knew it was the one place where I could make the biggest difference. Upon graduating school, I saw the way the healthcare system was, where it needed to be and where I was; right in the middle. Exercise is such a broad and potent drug that it can be used to not only manage disease, but also prevent them from occurring in the first place. I knew that I could take my knowledge and experience with exercise and translate it where it would have the greatest impact. What better place than a Medical Fitness Facility, right?
What do you like to do outside of work?
I enjoy exploring new places to eat in Atlanta, there is just so much different cuisine to try. Making things is certainly a passion of mine, in the past I have made my own ice cream, donuts, and ramen broth; lately have focused on making my own brands of lotion and lip balm. So long story short, if I am not eating around town, I am crafting in my kitchen. . . or playing pickleball.
Thank you, Joel and we’ll see you on the pickleball court!