UW–Madison’s John Baron, a doctoral student in School of Education’s Department of Kinesiology, is studying the long- and short-term effects of exercise on the human body.
Recently, he discussed his study of exercise physiology as well as his experience as a strongman, personal trainer, and mental health advocate in a Q&A with the Wisconsin Alumni Association.
When asked how he got into strength training, Baron says, “[Getting involved in] strength sports specifically was inspired a lot by fictional characters, honestly. I was stereotypically bullied a little bit growing up as a kid, and I was like, ‘Man, that’d be great if I wasn’t.’ I think that’s the core of things — I just wanted to feel normal in some respect.”
Baron then states: “After I got my master’s in 2020, I worked in the private sector for a few years. I realized after working in the practical strength coaching setting that I also was interested in strength-and-conditioning research and exercise research in general. And so that’s what led me to pursue the PhD.”
Baron also offers recommendations to people who are thinking about starting an exercise plan.
“I think the first steps into health and fitness for most people ideally should be very exploratory so they can find what works for them, what feels good, what doesn’t feel good, and what motivates them,” he says. “From there, you can fine-tune what your goals are long-term, maybe with the help of a coach or a trainer or a friend.”
Read the full Q&A with Baron here.