Pros Team Up to Bring Fitness to Divers

PADI approves brand new ScubaFit® Diver Distinctive Specialty Course

Dive and fitness instructors alike can now become certified to teach fitness to divers.  The Padi ScubaFit® course was developed by Gretchen M. Ashton, a certified fitness trainer and Stephen Mendel, a multi agency scuba instructor.

The PADI ScubaFit® Diver Distinctive Specialty Course offers new opportunities for instructors and dive shop owners to improve the health, performance and safety of their diving clients and increase diving participation.  Divers who are fit are much more likely to enjoy their diving experience and to dive more often. Classes are forming now.  For more information, interested instructors may contact: or

Ashton is a diver and the owner of ScubaFit®. She is an International Sports Sciences Association Personal Trainer and Fitness Therapist, National Board of Fitness Examiners Personal Trainer, World Champion Hall-of-Fame Athlete, and scuba fitness writer. Her training success, unique coaching style and innovative work establishing a health profile of the scuba diving community also resulted in the FitDiver® program.

Mendel, owner of Premier Scuba Diving, is a NAUI and Los Angeles County Instructor Trainer, PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, CMAS and Handicapped Scuba Association and a First Aid/CPR/AED instructor. He has extensive diving, teaching and leadership experience along with a longtime and ongoing participation and interest in fitness. He is also a voice over artist with many projects to his credit.

Ashton and Mendel acknowledge both the inspiration and practical importance of Dr. Glen Egstrom’s groundbreaking research and the meaningfulness it brought to this first of its kind course. Egstrom, Professor Emeritus of Kinesiology at UCLA, is renowned for his extensive contributions including the UCLA Diving Safety Research Project and over 100 publications on the topics of dive training and safety.

“We believe that our collaboration provides the best knowledge, resources and experience to bridge the worlds of diving and fitness. We encourage dive instructors and fitness professionals who select this specialty course to enhance the teaching and learning experience by working together whenever possible, for the common good of all divers.”

The purpose of the PADI ScubaFit® Diver Distinctive Specialty Course is to teach divers who are new to fitness an effective approach toward the establishment of a foundation of general fitness and fitness specific to diving, as well as an understanding of the physical demands of diving.

The course serves as a safe and supervised fitness program for diving. This specialty familiarizes divers with the skills, knowledge, planning, organization, procedures, techniques, problems, hazards and enjoyment of being physically fit for diving.  Divers will learn how fitness greatly improves diving performance and reduces the risk of injury and illness.

For those divers with experience and knowledge of general fitness, in addition to the above mentioned topics, they will learn activity specific exercises and training concepts that will enhance all their diving activities. All divers will also be given an introduction to the basics of nutrition and the necessity of maintaining hydration during diving.