Meet The Author: Adam Hughes; B.S., M.S.Ed, CSCS, BMC, CPT
- Health and Wellness Teacher
- Head Strength and Conditioning Coach
- PLT4M Coaches Club Ambassador
Check out Adam’s Bio to read more about his background in strength and conditioning and education.
Fitness That Fits All – Fitness Education in Wellness Class
At Canton High School in Massachusetts, each sophomore student is required to complete a ‘Personal Wellness’ course. The Personal Wellness course has evolved to help our students grow not only in their knowledge of fitness but in their own personal level of confidence, autonomy, and awareness of fitness education.
Our sophomore personal wellness classes are comprised of a well-rounded mixture of students from every personal fitness level and interest. As expected for any grade when it comes to fitness, we have students that range from the most beginner levels to students already at an advanced level of training. Finding a way to accommodate and fit each student at their own unique personal level proved to be an intriguing challenge from one class to the next.
Establishing A Foundation
To help with programming and scheduling, we decided to utilize a range of PLT4M’s Introductory Programs to structure our classes curriculum options. The progressional programs allow all of our students in class to work independently at their own pace. The intention is that each student can achieve and succeed in reaching their own personal wellness goals.
We begin each semester with the PLT4M Fit101 program to help establish a strong foundation through well taught form and movement mechanics. Fit101 introduces and develops a variety of body weight and foundational movements like air squat, hinge, lunge, press and pull. (Check out a further description of PLT4M Fit101 here)
Once we have conducted our first battery of fitness testing, students can then grow through their day to day workout choices. Doing so, they can begin to explore their fitness on an even more personal level.
Students are asked to be self-driven and motivated to select the workout lesson of their choice. Each session, students must execute and complete their workout in the allotted class time.
With each student being unique and different in their personal fitness level, some can move on from Fit101, while others stay and continue to develop baseline skills. In as little as 3 weeks, students who are ready can move to the Fit201 program.
With Fit201 we move from body weight movements to the incorporation of important resistance elements such as a weighted barbell or dumbbells movements. Or in other words Fit 201 is an introduction to weight training. (Check out a further description of PLT4M Fit 201 Here)
This opportunity for transition to 201 allows students to structure themselves around reinforcing proper technique, form, and safety with the added element of resistance.
Student Growth At Appropriate Pace
Students do not move on until they are comfortable, but the opportunity to advance for students that are ready is there. This is where students in every class begin to truly enhance their level of fitness and grow their understanding of fitness education.
Students are not only tasked with finding the right fit of workout, but they are also given recommendations on how much resistance to add for each exercise. This leads to physical changes that they can see!
With this choice students can challenge themselves during their class regardless of being on the 101 or 201 program.
In the same class, students who are more experienced and advanced in their training age and knowledge can continue their work towards attaining a high level of training through added and increased resistance.
While all the students are in the same class, each and every student is receiving a fulfilling and challenging workout.
Checking In – Fitness Assessments & Progress
At the end of the semester we will conduct a post-fitness testing battery to measure and mark growth in our students. These tests include push-ups, situps, the PLT4M metcon, the mile, and for students in 201, a back squat test, and a bench press test.
This battery of tests allows us to measure the direct impact of student driven choice around their workouts throughout the semester.
Ultimately, it is these common assessments within PLT4M that have allowed us to provide the highest quality level of fitness based education for all of our students, regardless of the personal fitness levels or interest students may start with.
With every element and level of fitness education provided throughout the personal wellness class, students gain a true sense of who they are and where they are physically. Students appreciate and understand what it will take for them to attain their own personal wellness.
As students explore and grow throughout this course, student voice and choice are key and critical elements that drive the student experience. Students have the chance to develop their own work ethic, self-motivation, and self-confidence throughout a semester.
As wellness teachers, we know not every student is going to be equally eager and ready right from the start of a semester. However, through meeting students where they are, we can hopefully guide them to lead a physically driven and healthy life beyond class.
Holistic Personal Wellness – More Than Just Fitness
Because personal wellness class goes past just physical activity, we have incorporated other health elements within the class as well.
We break down nutrition in detail. The goal is to help students take their activity and pair it with healthy eating habits.
We include learning and evaluating target heart rate zones during fitness classes. This is done to build students awareness around not only being physically fit, but to work at heart rate levels that will actually impact notable change in their overall fitness and health.
The culminating piece to this comprehensive fitness based course is an individual student driven project. The project prompts students to create and generate a 2 week workout program based off of their experiences throughout the semester. Students also design a heart healthy meal plan inclusive of breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snack options. Finally, students write a reflective essay piece that explains how they believe they can achieve overall wellness through a fitness and nutrition lense.
Personal Wellness – Reflections
Our personal wellness course at Canton is one that truly embraces student growth and student voice in an incredibly unique way. The elements of fitness based wellness and physical education continues to grow. The integration of PLT4M for programming and scheduling through the app has allowed our sophomore personal wellness students to grow and expand infinitely over the past three years. We have grown not only in student knowledge, but in the personal aspirations of students to lead a physically healthy lifestyle.
Incorporating PLT4M through the multitude of programs to welcome and invite personal fitness based growth for all students from a beginner training age to an advanced training age has helped each student within our building find the fitness fit for them. As a direct result of the unique element this class provides, students are inspired and motivated to continue their active personal development and fitness journey beyond the dynamic of their sophomore personal wellness class.
Day 1 Lesson 1 for personal wellness! Squat, Hinge, and Core work! Finisher: 5 sets of: 2 minutes cardio and 10 Air squats! Focusing on fundamental high quality movements and establishing great foundation! @PLT4M @CoachGordy @CantonHSnews pic.twitter.com/leOg8cWZ4m— Canton Strength & Conditioning, CSCS (@CantonSC1) September 9, 2019
Nothin like a Friday Finisher in personal wellness class! Great work by this group today! Coolest part was a group applause and cheer when all the timers went off to end the AMRAP! 8 minutes of 60 jumping jacks, 10 pushups, and 10 sit-ups! @PLT4M @CoachGordy @CantonHSnews pic.twitter.com/MXEfyS3hdW— Canton Strength & Conditioning, CSCS (@CantonSC1) September 13, 2019
First period personal wellness class diving in on Fit201 and learning proper technique with a barbell and dumbbells for back squat and lunges! Great group working hard and growing in their personal fitness! #InPursuitOfBetter @CoachGordy @CantonHSnews @PLT4M pic.twitter.com/UTgERAwowu— Canton Strength & Conditioning, CSCS (@CantonSC1) October 10, 2019
Third period personal wellness class working on bench press, push press, and a great finisher during another great Fit201 program lesson on @PLT4M with heart rate checks on our fitness watches courtesy @CantonCAPE! @CoachGordy @CantonHSnews pic.twitter.com/bsz2RNEahu— Canton Strength & Conditioning, CSCS (@CantonSC1) October 10, 2019