Mark R. Isfeld Secondary school is being proactive to combat youth obesity by training and certifying fitness leaders for the future.
Isfeld already offers a variety of senior electives such as Sports Conditioning, Active Lifestyles for Girls, Weight Training and Team Games. Starting in February, students will also have the opportunity to become fully qualified personal fitness trainers before they graduate from high school.
Successful students are immediately employable, and are ready to positively impact their families, peers and community. Isfeld becomes one of only two schools in the province able to offer this opportunity to its students.
Traditional Phys Ed programs have been criticized for not meeting the changing needs of today’s students.
At a district professional development function in 2010, Dr. Guy Lemausier (VIU School of Physical Education) shared his research: strictly a “team games” focus, although an ideal recreational opportunity for many sports-minded students, doesn’t always equip students with two essential skills for the future.
One is the ability to accurately assess personal fitness levels, and the second is the knowledge and tools to improve these levels.
For the past seven years, students in Isfeld’s Fitness Knowledge program have been instructed on the curriculum provided by CFES: Canadian Fitness Education Services (www.canadianfitness.net).
Some topics covered in this program are Anatomy and Physiology, Biomechanics, Training Principals and Program Design, Flexibility, Muscular Strength and Endurance, Cardiovascular Fitness, Nutritional, Fitness Safety and Leadership.
At the end of the course, students write a three-hour exam en route to their Introduction to Fitness Knowledge Certification. This is recognized by the BCRPA and NFLA (provincial and national governing bodies for fitness education) as step one of three to becoming a personal trainer.
Since the program’s inception, over 150 students have successfully been certified.
The curriculum serves as an excellent basis for careers in not only fitness, but recreation, health sciences (particularly sports medicine), physical, occupational and athletic therapy.
Many of these students have gained employment in the fitness industry, gone on to college programs such as Athletic Therapy at the Pacific Sports Institute in Victoria, and Physical Education degrees at VIU or UVic. Locally, the fitness knowledge program is an ideal introduction to the newly established Health and Wellness program at North Island College.
Fitness Knowledge students will now be able to pursue the next two steps (Weight Training Instructor Certification and Personal Trainer Certification). Course work includes a thorough investigation of fitness safety and leadership as well as education on how to train special populations such as youth and the elderly.
Perhaps most importantly, these students will be equipped with the knowledge and tools to personally lead a healthy lifestyle and share their passion with others.
The teacher responsible for developing the fitness knowledge program at Isfeld is Colin Cunningham, BEd, MEd. Cunningham is a BCRPA and CFES recognized personal fitness trainer.
— Mark R. Isfeld Secondary School