Assistant Professor, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, USA
Doctor of Philosophy
He has long been fascinated by the human body, physiology and performance, says Dr Ryan Weatherwax who enrolled at AUT as an international student from the USA.
“For my PhD research I investigated the common methodology for prescribing exercise intensity based on maximal and resting heart rate compared to a more novel and individualised approach using periods of change in breathing patterns during a 12-week exercise intervention.
“It was found that 100% and 60% of the participants in the individualised and standardised groups, respectively, experienced desirable changes in their overall VO2max (ie maximal oxygen uptake) by the completion of the training,” Ryan says.
“Based on changes every fourth week during the intervention, participants following the individualised approach had a more rapid and greater total improvement in aerobic capacity. Trends also suggest better cardiometabolic changes in the individualised group, but further research is warranted. The findings suggest an individualised approach to steady-state exercise training takes into consideration individual metabolic characteristics and elicits more potent improvements in training responsiveness.”
Ryan’s research was supervised by Associate Professor Nigel Harris and Professor Andrew Kilding from AUT, as well as Dr Lance Dalleck from Western Colorado University.
A great fit
Ryan was first introduced to AUT by a colleague who put him in contact with Associate Professor Nigel Harris from AUT’s School of Sport and Recreation.
“After having discussions with Nigel about my research interests and gaining a better understanding about AUT, I knew that AUT was a great fit for me.”
He appreciates that AUT enabled him to complete all his data collection while continuing to teach in the USA, Ryan says.
“I’ve enjoyed the flexibility of being able to complete my PhD research from a distance. I collected data off campus in the USA and was able to continue to teach undergraduate students at Western Colorado University. This allowed me to combine two important factors: novel research and teaching.”
He would highly recommend doctoral study in sport and recreation, says Ryan who completed his Doctor of Philosophy in 2019.
“I would absolutely recommend studying a PhD in sport and recreation. This field is full of fascinating areas of research that can help excel health and wellbeing in the general population, enhance performance in elite athletes, and all the areas between.”
Being able to share ideas with others is what he loves most about working in academia.
“For me, the main enjoyment is being able to share my thoughts, philosophies, and research findings with the general scientific community through publications, and through teaching and mentoring students. Whether others agree or disagree with my research or findings, I enjoy stimulating new or further thought to help enhance the field of exercise science, exercise physiology or kinesiology.”