P.E. teachers’ six-week fitness program for adults proves successful and enjoyable

November 30, 2010 — by Samika Kumar

Four Indian mothers lifting weights to the rhythm of Indian music under the supervision of athletic director Peter Jordan is the last sight a student would expect to see while passing by the weight room on a Monday evening. Yet this six-week adult fitness program has found its niche on Mondays and Wednesdays, mornings and evenings, for almost a dozen grown-ups.

The idea started out on Back-to-School night, when P.E. teachers explained the Falcon Fit program that students were taking to parents. Many parents showed interest in adult classes, so Jordan and world geography and P.E. teacher Richard Ellis conducted a two-week trial to gauge participants’ attendance and interest.

“Offering the class to adults in the community seemed like a natural extension of what we were doing during the day,” Jordan said. “We like teaching this stuff, and we enjoy seeing others make progress and feel good about themselves.”

Several adults showed an interest in continuing the classes, so Jordan and Ellis agreed upon a six-week course.

The classes started Nov. 8, and participants paid $150 for the entire session.

Jordan teaches the evening classes, 5:30-6:30 p.m., while Ellis maintains morning classes, 6:15-7:15 a.m.

“We have three to five [participants] in the morning, and about the same in the evening,” Jordan said. “We were hoping for more, but it is a fun, hard-working group. The numbers allow us to give lots of individual attention.”

Workout of the Day:

The adult fitness program follows an outlined schedule similar to that of students’ P.E. The beginning warm-up is followed by a skill and strength, both of which relate to maintaining form and learning new concepts. The workout of the day spans the remainder of the hour.

One such workout includes three repetitions of five clean-and-presses, 25 singles under jump ropes and 15 sit-ups.

This activity takes under 15 minutes. The participating mothers lift 15- to 30-pound weights from a squat position to an overhead stance. Their sit-ups are on Styrofoam AbMats.

Music from the ‘70s plays in the background, and Jordan’s stop clock hangs on the wall above, flashing the progressing time in blaring red numerals.

As the mothers finish the workout, they stop to stretch and chat. A couple of them already knew each other, but all have bonded over the several weeks.

“It’s nice to work out in a group with people you know,” participant and mother Sushama Thakker said.

The adults agreed that it would be nice for more parents to join the class.

“It would be a little more fun [in] a bigger group,” Thakker said. “It’s a great way to interact with the parents.”

Creating the ‘Hub of Fitness’:

Saratoga High’s official physical fitness program is called CrossFit Sawmill, derived from the program’s affiliation with the conditioning program, CrossFit.

“CrossFit essentially licenses the use of [its] name to gyms who meet certain criteria,” Jordan said. “All of the [SHS] P.E. teachers have one or more certifications in CrossFit methodology.”

Often times, regular P.E. classes, after school conditioning and the adult classes coincide with their daily activities.

“We adjust our instruction to meet the goals and ability levels of our participants,” Jordan said, “but all of our students are learning functional movements that we use in everyday life.”

The mothers in the evening class squat and lift medicine balls from the ground. Jordan paralleled this activity to lifting heavy everyday objects.

As the adult classes develop alongside P.E. courses and conditioning, Jordan hopes to mold Saratoga High into a more athletic environment.

According to Jordan, the ultimate goal is to build Saratoga High into the community’s ideal sports environment, or as Ellis put it, the “hub of fitness.”

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