Alexis Batrakoulis, our 2021 PFP Trainer of the Year, is a distinguished educator, speaker, author, technical expert and exercise physiologist in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the United States.
“For as long as I can remember, active lifestyle has been a big part of my life, inspiring me to get involved in the health and fitness industry,” says Batrakoulis. Our industry is undeniably better off for his continued involvement. In the last 25 years, he has made a profound difference in numerous lives and amassed an impressive list of achievements.
Batrakoulis was the Personal Training Education Director at the Greek Athletic & Fitness Training School, which is an accredited vocational training provider and the national leader in fitness certifications in Greece. Working there for over 14 years, he focused on individuals with metabolic disorders (e.g., obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome). “As an experienced personal trainer, my mission is to optimally help every client achieve personal goals, but also give all necessary efforts for a better fitness culture and behavioral regulation in exercise through active living and health promotion,” he says. “Honestly, I feel blessed to have the opportunity to systematically work with clients struggling with various chronic lifestyle diseases by helping them through fully supervised, structured adapted, and science-based exercise training programs.
He holds a BSc in Sports Science with an emphasis on Fitness, he has an MSc in Exercise and Health with an emphasis on Exercise and Obesity, and he is currently preparing to earn a PhD in Exercise and Health. For his doctoral dissertation, his focus is on the effects of a 12-month non-traditional, high-intensity, interval-type neuromuscular training program on body composition, health and performance in previously inactive women with obesity. He explains, “It is proof that when science meets application, the fitness industry can make serious steps of progress implementing feasible and evidence-based practices.”
Batrakoulis has also earned numerous professional credentials through ACE, ACSM, NASM and NSCA. He is a subject matter expert and an International Master Trainer at the American Council on Exercise and is also a member of the Professional Standards Committee of EuropeActive, which leads the development of educational standards, oversees the accreditation process for all courses and registers qualified exercise professionals for all occupational roles in the European fitness sector. “I have been always trying to combine academic and professional qualifications aiming to develop a competitive portfolio of knowledge and skills supporting me to be adapted to any changing landscape and to overcome potential barriers or insecurities,” he explains.
In what he considers his greatest achievement to date, Batrakoulis founded the International Obesity Exercise Training Institute (IOETI) where has been teaching a comprehensive, science-based, interactive curriculum in almost 40 countries across five continents, aiming to create a global community of qualified fitness professionals who seek to work at the forefront of the battle against obesity.
Through this broad spectrum of activities and occupational roles within the industry, he has established himself as a respected leader, shaping the industry of tomorrow.
Learning Is a Lifelong Endeavor
Alexis’ career is characterized by the attitude that learning never stops, proving that there are no limits in professional development and excellence. “I’ve been continuously educating myself for over 25 years and always staying hungry for learning by getting the most respected academic and professional credentials within the health, fitness and wellness industry at global level,” he says. “The critical difference between top- and mid-level fitness professionals is just one thing — lifelong learners stay hungry and humble. Lifelong learning is the pathway to evolution and success.”
It is through his education, especially while studying exercise science at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, when he realized how critical it is to stay active for ensuring better health, optimal performance and high quality of life. “I believe that exercise is the magic pill for everyone. From that point [at Aristotle University], the dissemination of that message became a lifetime mission for me.”
Since then, he has inspired and motivated clients, students and colleagues promoting that movement is life. “From my point view, physical performance focusing on aesthetics is nothing. On the other side, health is everything. Thus, my mission is one and only. I want to become a real ambassador of the global initiative focus: “Exercise is medicine.”
Creating a Global Reach
As an educator, he aims to spread the message worldwide that personal trainers change lives and create mindsets aiming to fight against the greatest global public health challenges of inactivity and obesity. “I teach and prepare qualified fitness professionals who will be able to blend science and application in order to make a real difference in the fitness industry,” he says.
“Working as a global fitness educator, it is something really special that has helped me to realize how the health and fitness industry runs in different regions. Teaching courses on exercise and obesity for over 1,500 exercise professionals across five continents in the past three years… it has been a productive pathway to understand the gap between theory and practice among peers who work around the world as well as to get familiar with the current status of the industry worldwide.”