Brandon Sawyer, Ph.D.

Chair, Department of Kinesiology
Professor of Kinesiology and Biology

Dr. Brandon Sawyer graduated from PLNU with a B.A. in Athletic Training and became an ATC shortly after graduation. Over the years he spent time practicing as an athletic trainer for the San Diego Chargers, high schools, PLNU, and an arena football team in Fresno, CA. While Dr. Sawyer loved working as an athletic trainer his true passions are studying, teaching, and researching the physiology exercise and disease. Both his masters and doctoral degrees were in exercise physiology. Dr. Sawyer loves teaching a wide variety of anatomy physiology courses across all levels of health science curriculum including lower division A&P, upper division physiology of exercise, advanced exercise physiology for the MS in Kinesiology program and medical physiology for the PA program.

Dr. Sawyer’s spouse Monique Sawyer is also a faculty member and associate dean at PLNU in the school of nursing. They stay busy with their 3 children Soren, Christian, and Eve!



  • Ph.D., Physical Activity Nutrition and Wellness, Arizona State University
  • M.Ed., Exercise Physiology, University of Virginia
  • B.A., Athletic Training, Point Loma Nazarene University

Courses Taught

  • Human Physiology I – BIO 1030
  • Human Physiology II – BIO 1040
  • The Physiology of Exercise – KIN 3040 
  • Physiology – MSM 6002 (Grad Course)
  • Clinical Exercise Physiology and Metabolism – KIN 6046 (Grad Course)

Experience in Field

Dr. Brandon Sawyer’s main areas of research interest are:

  • Maximal exercise performance (VO2max, critical power, exercise economy, etc.)
  • Vascular (endothelial) function and exercise
  • Obesity and exercise

Current research at PLNU involves:

  • Understanding the physiology of high-intensity interval exercise
  • Combatting weight stigma and weight bias at PLNU

Dissertations, Presentations, and Publications

  • Mahoney JM, Baughman BR, Sheard AC, Sawyer, BJ. Determining the Optimal Workrate for Cycle Ergometer Verification Phase Testing in Males with Obesity. Sports 2021, 9, 30.
  • Sawyer BJ, McMahon N, Thornhill KL, Baughman BR, Mahoney JM, Pattison KL, Freeberg KA, Botts RT. Supra-Versus Submaximal Cycle Ergometer Verification of VO2max in Males and Females. Sports 2020, 8, 163; doi:10.3390/sports8120163
  • Dexheimer JD, Brinson SJ, Pettitt RW, Schroeder ET, Sawyer BJ, Jo E. Predicting Maximal Oxygen Uptake Using the 3-Minute All-Out Test in High-Intensity Functional Training Athletes. Sports 2020, 8, 155; doi:10.3390/sports8120155.
  • Beezhold EJ, Sawyer BJ, Lynch HM. Energy Expenditure in a Syme’s Amputee Triathlete. Journal of Kinesiology and Wellness - Student Edition 2020; 9(2): 47-55.
  • Freeberg KA, Baughman BR, Vickey T, Sullivan JA, Sawyer BJ. Assessing the ability of the Fitbit Charge 2 to accurately predict VO2max. mHealth 2019;5:39.
  • Dexheimer JD, Schroeder ET, Sawyer BJ, Pettitt RW, Aguindaldo AL, Torrence WA. Physiological Performance Measures as Indicators of CrossFit® Performance. Sports 2019, 7(4), 93;
  • Gaesser GA, Tucker WJ, Sawyer BJ, Bhammar DM, Angadi SS. Cycling Efficiency and Energy Cost of Walking in Young and Older Adults. Journal of Applied Physiology 124(2): 414-420.
  • Tucker WJ, Sawyer BJ, Jarret CL, Bhammar DM, Ryder JR, Angadi SS, Gaesser GA. High-Intensity Interval Exercise Attenuates, but does not Eliminate, Endothelial Dysfunction after a Fast-Food Meal. American Journal of Physiology: Heart and Circulatory Physiology 314(2): H188-H194.
  • Bhammar DB, Sawyer BJ, Tucker WJ, Gaesser GA. Breaks in sitting time: effects on continuously monitored glucose and blood pressure. Med Sci Sports Exer. 2017; 49(10): 2119-2130. 
  • ​​​Sawyer BJ, Tucker WJ, Bhammar DM, Ryder JR, Sweazea KL, Gaesser GA. (2016). Effects of High-intensity Interval Training and Moderate-Intensity Continuous Training on Endothelial Function and Cardiometabolic Risk Markers in Obese Adults. J Appl Physiol. 121: 279–288.
  • Bhammar DM, Sawyer BJ, Tucker WJ, Lee JM, Gaesser GA. (2016). Validity of SenseWear® Armband v5.2 and v2.2 for Estimating Energy Expenditure. Journal of Sports Sciences. 8:1-9. 10.1080/02640414.2016.1140220.
  • Sawyer BJ, Bhammar DM, Tucker WJ, Gaesser GA. (2015). Using a Verification Test for Determination of VO₂max in Sedentary Adults with Obesity. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 29(12): 3432–3438.
  • Tucker WJ, Sawyer BJ, Bhammar DM, Jarrett CL , Gaesser GA. (2015). Physiological Responses to High-Intensity Interval Exercise Differing in Interval Duration. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 29(12): 3326–3335.
  • Tucker WJ, Bhammar DM, Sawyer BJ, Buman MP, Gaesser GA. Validity and Reliability of Nike+ FuelBand for Estimating Physical Activity Energy Expenditure. Sports Science, Medicine, and Rehabilitation. 7:14. DOI 10.1186/s13102-015-0008-7.
  • Sawyer BJ, Bhammar DM, Angadi SS, Ryder JR, Ryan DM, Sussman EJ, Bertman FMW, Gaesser GA. (2014). Heterogeneity of Fat Loss in Response to 12 weeks of Treadmill Walking in Women. Predictors of Fat Mass Changes in Response to Aerobic Exercise Training in Women. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 29(2): 297-304.
  • Sawyer BJ, Stokes, DG, Womack, CJ, Morton, RH, Weltman A, Gaesser GA. (2014). Strength Training Increases Endurance Time to Exhaustion During High-Intensity Exercise Despite No Change in Critical Power. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 28(3): 601-609.
  • Sawyer BJ, Morton RH, Womack CJ, Gaesser GA. (2012). VO2max May Not Be Reached During Exercise to Exhaustion Above Critical Power. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 44(8):1533-1538.
  • Gaesser, GA, Angadi, SS, Sawyer, BJ. (2011). Exercise and Diet, Independent of Weight Loss, Improve Cardiometabolic Risk Profile in Overweight and Obese Individuals. Physician and Sports Medicine. 39(2):87-97.
  • Sawyer, BJ, Blessinger, JR, Irving, BA, Weltman, A, Patrie, JT, Gaesser, GA. (2010). Walking and Running Economy: Inverse Association with Peak Oxygen Uptake. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 42(11): 2122-2127.
  • Blessinger, J, Sawyer, B, Davis, C, Irving, BA, Weltman, A, Gaesser, GA. (2009). Reliability of the VmaxST Portable Metabolic Measurement System. International Journal of Sports Medicine. 30(1): 22-26.
  • Gaesser GA, Angadi SS, Sawyer BJ, Tucker WJ, Jarrett CL. (2014). Exercise and Diet Improve Cardiometabolic Risk in Overweight and Obese Individuals Without Weight Loss. In Glucose Intake and Utilization in Pre-Diabetes and Diabetes: Induction of Cardiovascular Disease, Watson & Dokken (eds.), Elsevier. Chapter 29.
  • Sawyer BJ, Angadi SS, Gaesser GA. (2013). Book Title: Wellness Not Weight: Motivational Interviewing and Health At Every Size. Chapter Title: The Health Benefits of Physical Activity and Diet Independent of Weight Loss. Cognella Academic Publishing. Paperback ISBN: 978-1-62131-092-1.