The Functional Aging Institute was founded in 2013 by leading experts Dr. Dan Ritchie and Dr. Cody Sipe. For over twenty years, Dan and Cody have been at the forefront of developing innovative, effective, evidence-based training programs for older clients. They have shared their unique philosophies, techniques, and insights with tens of thousands of trainers around the world for fifteen years.

Before Dan and Cody established FAI, they reviewed almost every senior fitness certification, education, and training program on the market. They did not find one that met their high standards, so they created three high quality certifications that would help fitness professionals be more successful with the fastest-growing client base in the world – adults 55 and over.

Statistics show that one personal trainer affects 1000 lives over the course of her career. FAI’s goal of certifying and educating 10,000 fitness professionals can ultimately impact 10 million lives. Dan and Cody have surrounded themselves with leading experts and educational partners to ensure that fitness professionals around the globe can have access to the latest knowledge and cutting-edge research in one place, the Functional Aging Institute.

Dan Ritchie
PhD, Co-Founder, President

Dr. Dan Ritchie started his fitness career at Southeast Missouri State University with a bachelor’s degree in Fitness and Sports Medicine and then spent a year as a graduate assistant coaching Division 1 athletes. He completed his master’s degree in Health & Physical Education at the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater, where he won the 2002 Thesis of the Year. Then Dan continued as a Lynn Fellow at Purdue University, completing his PhD in Kinesiology with a minor in Gerontology.

Since 2007 Dan has owned and operated Miracles Fitness in West Lafayette, Indiana, where he and his staff have trained over 2000 clients. With over 20 years of experience, he has extensive knowledge on training the mature adult market and has equipped people in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and beyond to achieve their goals and enhance their functional longevity. Dan was the 2014 PFP Trainer of the Year, and then shortly after he and Dr. Cody Sipe co-founded the Functional Aging Institute.

Dan is a sought-after expert and speaker at national and international events on topics like balance for older adults, personal training business development, the global aging phenomenon, and functional aging training models. He’s routinely interviewed for podcasts, webinars, and on-online education summits. Dan lives in West Lafayette with his wife and five kids.

Cody Sipe
PhD, Co-Founder, Vice President

Cody Sipe has an extensive background in the fitness industry with 20 years of experience as a personal trainer, fitness instructor, program director, exercise physiologist and club owner. He is currently an Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Research in the physical therapy program at Harding University.

He has spent his career researching, developing and practicing the most effective training strategies to improve function in older adults. He has completed certifications as an ACSM Exercise Specialist, ACSM Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist, FallProof Balance and Mobility Enhancement Specialist and more. His secondary area of expertise is in the prevention and management of chronic disease conditions, especially those that accompany the aging process such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. In 2005 he was honored with the IDEA Program Director of the Year award.

He has presented internationally, served on boards and committees and/or published articles for most of the top fitness organizations in the world.

Danilo Contiero
Head, FAI Europe

Danilo is the Head of the Functional Aging Institute Europe and certified Functional Aging Specialist. Danilo holds a MSc in Physical Activity for Health prevention and rehabilitation. He has several years of experience in research of healthy ageing. Danilo is a PhD candidate in Clinical Exercise at the University of West of Scotland, where he is studying how to adapt martial arts to the needs of older adults. His researches involve mixed methods studies and focus on both health issues and social development in later life. Danilo is an active karate athlete and is lecturing in different universities in Europe about how to involve elderly populations in physical activity with a focus on martial arts. He is author of different publications and he has been invited as speaker in many scientific events and cooperates with different research teams such as the LASA in Amsterdam and the PROMIS in Italy.

Scientific Advisory Board

We have assembled an incredible team of experts to help us develop and deliver the highest-quality programs in the industry. They represent some of the best professionals in the industry and bring with them an impressive blend of scientific and technical knowledge and practical application. We appreciate the unique contributions of each one.

Maria Luisa Iavarone

Maria Luisa Iavarone PhD, is Full Professor of General and Social Education in the Department of Sport Sciences and Wellness at the University of Naples “Parthenope”, where teaches General Didactics. She is Coordinator of the Doctoral Degree Course in “Quality of education and training”; she is also Member of Committee for Equal opportunities. Since 2016 she is Principal Investigator at Ceinge of Naples and since 2017 is Adjunct Professor of Trans-disciplinary UNESCO Chair on Human Development and Peace Culture at UNESCO.

Her fields of study are identified in the thematic of theoretical and methodological educational models in learning and teaching with special reference to embodied cognition approach. The last interests are focussed on investigation field of “body educational caring” as self-development process in terms of building an overall wellbeing and wellness of the individual in different times and places of life. She obtained in 2005 XVI Award on Pedagogy and Didactics “Raffaele Laporta”. She has been fellow at University of Wales, Swansea (GB) – Center for Applied Language Studies in 2006 and “Visitante Distinguido” at Departamento de Sacatepequez de La Antigua (Guatemala). She has been international coordinator of “Interlink plus” for MIUR, Italy. She is component of several international comitee as: Editorial Board for “Internacional Journal of Educational Excellence”, ISSN 2373-5929; Colectivo Docente Internacional di “Innovagogia” Universidad de Sevilla (ES); International Editorial Board of “Educational Process: International Journal” (EDUPIJ) ISSN 2147– 0901; Editorial Board delI’Italian Journal of Educational Research, ISSN 2038-9736;International Editorial Advisory Board e del Comité Cientìfico della Rivista “Fronteras de la Ciencia” Universidad Metropolitana(SUAGM). She also is envolved in Foundation Program iOS-Apple in order to develop programming skills in an iOS environment aimed to create prototypes of applications (“Apps”) iOS, tvOS and / or watchOS, potentially valid for the distribution on Apple’s App Store.

Guido Iaccarino

Guido Iaccarino is full Professor of internal medicine at the department of advanced biomedical sciences at the Federico II University of Naples. He is a cardiologist, expert in the management of chronic diseases such as heart failure and arterial hypertension. For about two years he has been directing the prescription program of adapted physical activity for chronic diseases at the Federico II hospital in Naples. He is the head of the sports medicine course at the Federico II university medical school and director of the postgraduate course in the design, prescription and execution of Adapyed Physical Activity at the Department of Advanced Biomedical Sciences. He is the author of over 200 publications, with high bibliometric indexes.

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