MEET THE ELITE – CLARENCE PEREZ DIAZ
NAME: Clarence Perez Diaz
NATIONALITY: Swiss, Spanish
AISTS CLASS: 2009
CURRENT: Manager at FIMS and Small Business Owner
Clarence Perez Diaz, sports scientist and sports manager graduated from the AISTS Class of 2009 and will be celebrating with her fellow classmates this year for their 10-year reunion. We recently interviewed Clarence to find out where her 10-year journey has taken her so far.
After graduating, Clarence got a position at FINA and worked for 4 years in the development and event department. She then decided to do her PhD on the topic of the protection of athletes’ health and the promotion of health in the general population. Around the same time, she accepted a position with FIMS (the International Sports Medicine Federation), which aligned nicely with the topic of her research. Clarence did her PhD with the University of Granada, Spain and FIMS in Switzerland and was therefore awarded an International PhD.
AISTS – Since completing your PhD studies what have you been focusing on?
Once I completed my PhD I then decided to continue with FIMS in a part-time position and continue working with my research group in Spain, but I was also interested in getting more contact with people and therefore I came back to my sport science experience and started coaching and training again. I have recently launched my own project called RowFit, which is interval training with rowing machines – a first for Lausanne – with the cooperation of Rowing-Club Lausanne. I am currently managing the physical training of the figure skating team “Team Volcano” here in Lausanne and have been also teaching spinning and HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) classes at Beat Fitness.
AISTS – Your passion is sports and health combined. How have you been able to combine these professionally?
Having been a former professional athlete and having had 5 knees operations during my sport career, I knew that sport was good but at the same time it is easy to lose focus on the health aspects when you want results. And also having a Sport Science degree with a focus on High-Performance Training and a PhD in the protection of health, I am really aware of the health aspects. I am working closely with a doctor, a physio, and a nutritionist because I strongly believe we should all work together.
FIMS has been and is supportive of all my research, the combination of my part-time position as Office Manager at FIMS and then also researcher with my team at the University of Granada is just ideal since everything I work on and read about is the same – sport and health. I do have other interests, but this combination is just fantastic.
With my job at FIMS, apart from being able to continue working on research and publishing, I was also appointed to work with the Local Organising Committee in Rio at the Olympic Games in the area of anti-doping, so I am also dealing with other aspects of health and sport in addition to the prevention of injuries and promotion of health among others.
AISTS – Tell us about what you are doing now with Rowfit?
RowFit is a workout that combines functional training, weights, bodyweights and abs exercises with a series of rowing intervals. It is a low impact workout that saves the joints while providing a very complete physical training of your full body.
After five knee operations and having had experience in multiple sports across varying levels, I analyzed the fitness industry and decided to launch RowFit. I am very conscious about the fact that in the fitness industry we are forgetting the main point, which is actually the correct technique, low impact on the joints and the correct repetitions. We need to work in cycles not with the same intensity and duration (microcycle, mesocycle and macrocycle) and it is necessary to balance our workouts, which is very important in order avoid injury and get the muscles involved properly. I also like the “ludique” part of rowing. We are actually doing physical exercise and a sport at the same time. This is why the collaboration with the Rowing-Club Lausanne is fantastic, we get a good technique and we are close to the sport. It is the same for the rowers, not everything is about rowing, you need to do complementary workouts in order to get good performance and prevent injuries.
AISTS – What one thing did you learn at the AISTS that you still keep in mind for your work today?
Thanks to the AISTS I discovered the international sport business world. Previously I had competed with a lot of athletes from a lot of countries and travelled, therefore I knew a lot about the international world. However, during the AISTS program I really learned about this other aspect of sport, which was a bit difficult to understand at the beginning because, being an athlete, I was thinking differently.
So, I would say what I learned the most was the business part of sport. Before I was involved in the performance in sport and as I was studying I suddenly realised that as athletes we were all under a big umbrella. Also, when you train you are very focused on yourself, I really enjoyed actually focusing on the other sides of sport and not just my performance. Therefore, the AISTS master’s program really gave me a holistic understanding of the world of sports.
AISTS – Do you have any advice for those looking at the next step in their sports administration career and wanting to get into health promotion through sport?
It is a very interesting world and, as you can see, it can be linked with the Olympic movement but also with the general population and fitness industry. It could be event-oriented or academic/research oriented. The “hot topic” nowadays is anti-doping but other topics such as injury prevention, recovery from an injury or health promotion and education are also very important.
My advice is to read everything that you can before proposing or starting projects and also, if you can be in Switzerland. I had moments that I wanted to return to Spain, but the international sport federations and the IOC are based here, and Lausanne is a unique place for sport, so it is a great opportunity to live in this community. It is the same for if you want to be an actress, you should move to Los Angeles! If you wish to work in sport and health, FIMS, WADA, ITU, the IOC, among other bodies, then the network is here in Lausanne. I do also think that, after some years of experience, it can also be nice to return home and take your experience with you so that you can act locally.