Two-Time Sports & Exercise Sciences Grad Peter Beitia Shoots for the Stars

Peter Beitia had an early introduction to fitness and wellness. His mother, a trained massage therapist, taught aerobic and spinning classes and instilled in her son a love of exercise and sports of all kinds.

Nursing & Health Sciences

Jun 14, 2021

Nursing & Health Sciences Two-Time Sports & Exercise Sciences Grad Peter Beitia Shoots for the Stars

Peter Beitia had an early introduction to fitness and wellness. His mother, a trained massage therapist, taught aerobic and spinning classes and instilled in her son a love of exercise and sports of all kinds. Luckily, he was a natural athlete, competing on the varsity football, wrestling, track-and-field, and cross-country teams during his years at Coral Gables Senior High. But when a knee injury dashed his hopes of playing collegiate sports, he quickly discovered other ways to enjoy staying fit. “I found my new passion in cycling and endurance sporting, including triathlons.” says Peter. By 19, he had participated in his first Half-Ironman competition, and by 20, he had immersed himself in the world of CrossFit, eventually earning his Trainer Certification.

Now the Director of Personal Training and an Exercise Physiologist at ADAPT, in North Miami, as well as a Muscular Therapist for Chainwork Physio, Peter is forging the kind of career his younger self might only have dreamed of. “I’ve worked with hundreds of individuals from a wide range of fitness and health backgrounds and age groups,” he says, “including the privilege to work with Ironman, USA Track and Field Association, and other renowned sporting events.”

But what seems like destiny wasn’t always so clear cut for Peter. “Like many other young adults, I didn’t truly know what I wanted to do as a career,” he says. After high school he worked as a bank teller for Bank of America, a role that inspired him to earn his associate degree in Business Administration. Soon afterward, in 2014, he sought more training at Barry University, as an undergraduate Finance major. As a South Florida native, he knew that Barry’s School of Business had an exceptional reputation, and he was drawn to the university’s small student-to-faculty ratio. “I never wanted to end up in a massive auditorium with 100+ students and not being able to get that one-on-one interaction,” he says.

Though he performed well in his business courses and continued to shine in his job with Bank of America, Peter soon realized that a career in finance was ultimately not what he wanted. “I decided to completely change gears,” he says. “I started teaching group fitness classes and doing personal training sessions. I’ve always been a seeker of knowledge and did not want to stop at just obtaining any training/coaching certificate.” Recognizing that he wanted to become a more holistic—and highly trained—healthcare provider, Peter took a year-long break from his Finance major and earned his license in Massage Therapy (LMT) with specialties in sport massage, functional stretching, and recovery. He later returned to Barry, this time declaring his major in Exercise Physiology within the Sport & Exercise Sciences program.

“My time away from Barry validated my commitment not just to myself but to others as a professional,” he says. “Barry University demonstrated an incredible ability to empower and produce great practitioners, from exercise physiologist and biomechanists to strength and conditioning specialists. Barry also had affiliations with prominent internship sites and health and wellness spaces in the area, which was an invaluable asset in preparing myself to succeed as a professional in the movement science world.” 

Peter earned his BS in Exercise Physiology in 2018 and his MS in Human Performance and Wellness this spring (2021). Throughout his academic pursuits at Barry, he has continued to work full time as a trainer, health and wellness coach, and massage therapist. He has also earned multiple certifications, making him a versatile and sought-after practitioner, particularly among those for whom physical fitness is a core component of their careers. Such tactical athletes, as they’re called, formed the foundation for Peter’s master’s thesis, which focused on determining correlations between anaerobic (high-intensity) exercise and performance among Miami-area firefighters. Using the specific metric of the Physical Ability Test (PAT), Peter determined that anaerobic fitness training significantly improved PAT results among firefighters, which is a critical indicator of performance on the job. 

With the support of his mentor, Dr. Zacharias Papadakis, he is preparing his research for publication. He also intends to expand his work through a doctoral dissertation that will focus on tactical athletes within the aerospace field, the sector Peter ultimately hopes to enter himself by lending his skills to such companies as Boeing, SpaceX, and NASA. It’s a sky-high ambition, but Peter Beitia was born for it.

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