Alumni Voices

Raising the Bar

Education’s role in achieving next-level fitness

School of Health Sciences

icon of a calendarMarch 6, 2023

icon of a pencilBy Amy Ritt

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Oakland University holds special meaning for Dane Bartz, Ph.D., SHS ’14, and Alexandra “Alex” Bartz, SHS ’14. It is where they met as undergraduates and then, years later, became engaged in front of Elliott Hall. It is where they earned their bachelor’s degrees from the School of Health Sciences. And it is also where they laid the groundwork for their future in the fitness industry.

From an early age, the Michigan natives led active lives. A self-described “farm boy,” Dane grew up on 10 acres in Romeo and picked up his first set of weights in seventh grade. Alex started dancing at age three in Grosse Pointe Woods. By the time they arrived at OU, it was a lifetime love of movement that steered them toward careers in exercise science.

Dane flourished under the guidance of Brian Goslin, Ph.D., the founding director of OU’s exercise science program. Although Dane knew he eventually wanted to open a business, he credits his mentor with refining his program concentration. “At the time, most academic institutions were focusing on clinically based work,” says Dane. “Dr. Goslin saw that my interests were more performance-based, and he directed me toward strength and conditioning.”

A positive experience working as a strength and conditioning intern in OU’s Athletics Department reinforced Dane’s career path.

Alex was initially interested in clinical, or patient-facing, work. However, taking advantage of OU’s experiential learning opportunities pushed her to broaden her focus in the field. “After participating in some internships and shadowing, I fell more in love with the aspects of movement and exercise physiology,” she says. “Those experiences and the great professors that we had at OU shaped the idea that when it comes to the fitness industry, there is more.”

For Dane and Alex, exploring the idea of “more” involved moving to Ohio to earn their master’s degrees in exercise physiology and adult fitness. Dane also went on to get a Ph.D. in health sciences: human and sport performance. The pair continued to work around the country in various fitness settings, from strength and conditioning to the private sector, rehabilitation, corporate wellness and more. As their knowledge grew, so did the plans for their new fitness center.

“Our company’s name, Linked Fit, embraces the philosophy of how exercise should be treated with the process links of fitness, wellness and education,” says Dane. “Much of the educational content, including the philosophy, coach procedures and programming, I’ve built from the ground up. It’s important to us to educate people and provide our clients with the highest level of evidence-based practice.”

Dane and Alex also share their expertise with student interns as part of OU’s internship program. “That’s part of the passion, being in the forefront while also shaping the way for the people behind us,” says Dane.

When deciding where to open their fitness center in 2019, the decision was an easy one: Linked Fit is just six miles away from OU’s campus. “We found our ‘home’ here,” says Alex. “We wanted to bring it back to the community where it all started.”

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