“Goals in Stay Fit are to raise the overall fitness levels of all students in the class, provide all students with the fundamentals of weight lifting, and provide an atmosphere for healthy competition,” stated Sarah Barton, BYMS physical education and Stay Fit elective instructor in an interview with the Matador Messenger.
The elective physical education course is held during second period and, according to Barton, is comprised of activities focusing on “flexibility, muscular strength, and cardiovascular endurance.” The course curriculum is organized by different goals and activities for each day of the school week, including cardiovascular endurance day, competition day, muscular strength, and individualized fitness day.
According to Barton, during “Cardiovascular Endurance Day” students use stationary bikes, run, participate in “fitness circuits”, and use jump ropes to raise their heart rates and improve their overall cardiovascular health. Additionally, Stay Fit includes a “Competition Day” during which, “Students compete in any activity under the sun,” Barton adds.
On “Muscular Fitness Day” students participate in a variety of muscle-building activities, which include activities with medicine balls, resistance bands, TRX bands, weighted bars, battle ropes, etc.. During “Individualized Fitness Day,” “Students focus on the component of fitness that they need to work on most as an individual (flexibility, muscular strength, cardiovascular endurance),” she explained.
Dylan Jones and Bella Gavrilovic, eighth-graders who participated for two years in the elective, both had many positive comments to make about the class.
Dylan Jones stated, “I joined Stay Fit because I think it is a really cool environment.” “Stay Fit lets kids step outside of their comfort zone, and try something new,” explained Ms. Barton. Jones also said that his favorite element about Stay Fit is how it is very positive. In Stay Fit everyone helps each other out when they need it because they all have special skills in different areas, according to Dylan.
Stay Fit can be a challenging class because of all the different, and intense activities. Jones believes that it is awesome for students to be able to push themselves. He feels that all the activities in Stay Fit are challenging. Jones stated, “Stay Fit is great because it helps me with my baseball, it helps me run faster, and it makes my arms and legs a lot stronger for my batting.”
Gavrilovic stated, “I joined Stay Fit because it allows me to do certain workouts that I don’t get to do at home. Also, I would like to get stronger and improve my cardiovascular health.” Stay Fit is a great place to improve on what you aren’t the best at by building muscles and becoming stronger. She also said that her favorite part about Stay Fit is that she gets a good workout in and she gets to push herself to always do better, and to build up more muscles and stamina.
“Sometimes the elective Stay Fit has students do some very hard activities that cause students to really feel the burn,” Gavrilovic stated, “What I think is most challenging about staying fit is the bands and when we do the bikes, I feel like falling down.”
Many eighth-graders re-enrolled in Stay Fit because of their positive experience in the class in seventh grade as they enjoyed the activities and change of pace from regular PE classes. For some Stay Fit students, the class offers an opportunity to improve their physical health. Seventh grader, Marcus Avila, stated in an interview with the Matador Messenger that,“The reason I joined Stay Fit was because I wanted to be a better athlete and be more active. I also thought it would help with my knees because I have a knee disease and it has helped them so I have less pain now.” Marcus likes the challenge that Stay Fit has to offer, and it also helps him out, by building strength in his knees.
Avila also enjoys the competitive challenges that the class offers. “The most challenging thing for me is the running because even though I like running it becomes challenging sometimes so then I have to push myself,” stated Avila.
Barton believes that Stay Fit benefits students beyond simply creating strong bodies. She believes that “A healthy body is key to having a healthy mindset. \
“Physical education is the foundation of living an active and healthy lifestyle. If you can’t keep your physical body healthy, then you can’t use your mind in the way you are meant to,” she added.
Barton as a lifelong athlete understands the importance of living an active and healthy lifestyle having participated in high school track and having played competitive soccer in high school and for four years at Chapman University. Additionally, outside of her teaching physical education, Stay Fit, and Gear Up at BYMS, she also coaches soccer for Legends F.C soccer. She truly believes that in her Stay Fit elective class, “Students focus on the component of fitness that they need to work on most as an individual (flexibility, muscular strength, cardiovascular endurance).”