Fitness Career Spotlight on JJ Mayo, Exercise Specialist and Dietitian, University of Central Arkansas
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA, RD on SEPTEMBER 2, 2016
Meet JJ Mayo, PhD, RDN, CSCS, exercise specialist and dietitian. He’s combined both his passion for sports and nutrition to land him his dream job. In addition, he’s utilized his entrepreneurial skills and created a sports nutrition course. Check out his career path. – Sarah
What attracted you to the field of health and wellness?
I’ve always loved sports. In college I needed a way to stay competitive and control my waistline so I started running. This sparked an interest in the science of fitness and later sports nutrition. Fitness and proper nutrition dramatically changed my life. I find joy in being a role model and teaching others how making small lifestyle changes can lead to big results.
Your Job Title:
Associate Professor of Nutrition
Company you are with now:
University of Central Arkansas
A typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you:
As a university professor every day is different but usually includes teaching classes, meeting with students, and serving on campus committees.
How did you get your current job in health and wellness?
It has been a winding journey to get where I am today. I have been fortunate to study under some of the best in the area of Exercise Science. My mentor, Dr. Len Kravitz, encouraged me to pursue a university teaching position. I taught in the area of Kinesiology for about 15 years. Interestingly, I began to get more and more questions about nutrition. I then completed a Masters in Dietetics, was accepted into an internship program, and became a registered dietitian nutritionist. This past year, I accepted a position in a Nutrition Department. Now I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in sports nutrition. How awesome is that!
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
Some qualities that make me successful are that I’m hard working, persistent, and have empathy for others. With time I’ve improved my communication skills and become more tech savvy.
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
Be a lifelong learner and do your very best in everything you do. It doesn’t matter what job you’re in now, it’s preparing you for the next step.
Also, learn how to work a room. Ultimately success is about relationship building. Practice the art of conversation. If you take a genuine interest in others this helps build honest rapport that will go a long way to making you more successful and fulfilled.
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what would it be?
Def Leppard tickets or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches would definitely top the list!