Quinn McDonald has always considered himself a fitness fanatic and two opportunities sold him on coming to the University of Missouri to further his education. McDonald wanted to study nutrition and exercise physiology (NEP), and he wanted to take advantage of the MU Student Rec Complex, an award-winning facility.
He felt both opportunities would allow him to grow in his pursuit of living a more health-conscious lifestyle plus prepare him for a future career related to health and nutrition.
“The concept of nutrition and exercise physiology being almost a dual major, where you get the nutrition side plus an in-depth look at exercise physiology, was just too good to pass up,” McDonald said. “The fact that I could take my passion outside of academics and integrate it into my study focus was really exciting. The rec also played a big role in me coming to MU. I knew I would be utilizing it quite a bit, and as a state-of-the-art facility, it was perfect for what I wanted to accomplish.”
McDonald grew up in Chicago and became familiar with MU through his two older brothers, who are both alumni. He said their great experiences, plus being able to secure in-state tuition, also made the decision to come to Mizzou an easy one.
“My brothers really enjoyed Mizzou, so I knew it was going to be a good fit for me, too,” McDonald said.
Once McDonald got to Mizzou, he said he quickly realized how great the faculty and staff in the nutrition and exercise physiology degree program are.
“The best part about being in NEP is working with the faculty and staff,” McDonald said. “They’re all so easy to communicate with. If there is ever any confusion, they are available to walk us through it. They are a great group that really knows their stuff.
“I’ve always been incentivized to do well in the program, too, because the degree enhances my growth and knowledge related to exercise and fitness. I knew this program would benefit that personal growth and give me the resources to help others on their health journey in the future.”
McDonald got involved with the rec during his freshman year. In addition to working out there at least six times a week, McDonald served as a facility frontline worker, where he helped monitor activity, clean machines and answer any questions. It’s a role he had for his first three years at MU.
This year, McDonald has taken on a new role at the rec – as a personal trainer.
“I got certified for personal training before the semester began and I’ve been putting that certification to work around the rec,” McDonald said. “It’s been great to gain experience and knowledge, and I really enjoy the coaching experience. It’s a good feeling to know that people are putting their trust in me. Coming to the rec can be an intimidating experience, as sometimes my clients don’t know what machines to use or the correct form to use. It’s been exciting to talk through their goals and help them along that journey.”
Along with his involvement at the rec, McDonald is also part of Mizzou StuMo (Student Mobilization), which helps students develop in leadership and faith. He is part of Alpha Tau Omega and the Exercise is Medicine club as well.
“There are some great clubs and organizations at MU,” McDonald said. “I’ve enjoyed getting involved and creating those lasting friendships.”
McDonald was involved in an internship on campus, too, putting what he learned in the classroom to use with the Mizzou football team. His internship was with the athletic performance department, where he worked with the strength and conditioning coaches, as well as the sports nutrition program.
“That was the internship of a lifetime,” McDonald said. “Having the opportunity to interact with the team was incredible. It was an amazing learning experience, as I gained a ton of knowledge related to working with elite athletes. Everyone was so inviting, too. It was a great atmosphere.”
McDonald said working with elite athletes is something he is looking at doing in the future. As he finishes his degree at MU, he added that he is thankful for how well prepared he is for a future career. McDonald said he has been in conversations with multiple companies and received a couple of job offers. He is currently weighing his options.
“I’m very interested in the performance side of exercise physiology,” McDonald said. “My experience with the Mizzou football team definitely made me interested in working with highly-trained, elite athletes. It was very rewarding. But I’m also interested in exercise physiology in more of a clinic setting, such as cardiac rehabilitation.
“I’m figuring it all out, which is exciting. Mizzou has prepared me for this moment, too. These past four years have been the best of my life, and I’m glad I took the chance on coming here.”