Posted: May 15, 2012 11:07 AM by Carina Corral
Updated: May 16, 2012 8:12 AM
Arroyo Grande High School is taking Physical Education to a whole new level through an after-school program that teaches students how to be personal trainers.
"I like helping people be fit and I got to learn more about being fit myself," said Freshman Vidhi Patel, one of the several youth trainers helping to lead an after-school boot camp four days a week made up of her fellow classmates.
"They make it fun so that you want to come back and that's what keeps me coming back," said Junior Griselda Cardenas. She is not a youth trainer, but has lost weight by attending the boot camps on a regular basis.
While the boot camp has been around for a couple years, the youth trainer aspect was started this year by Julian Verala of Equilibrium Fitness in San Luis Obispo.
He has them jump through a lot of hoops before they earn that title by completing C.P.R. training, a 30-hour internship with personal trainers in the community and a three-day workshop where they learn about anatomy, physiology and nutrition.
"I'm eating way more healthier and I don't think of exercise as an obstacle, I think of it now as an opportunity," said Patel.
Not only building their muscles, but also their self-esteem.
"I used to be very shy and timid. I'm a lot more positive now and I'm more myself," said Cardenas.
Organizers said childhood obesity prevention generally focuses on elementary students, but that it is critical to reach high schoolers, as well, before they go out on their own.
"This is a really crucial time. They're about to go in to college, move out of their homes and this is a good time for them to learn about healthy eating," said Jenna Miller with Community Action Partnership.
The after-school boot camp fitness program is called "Project Teen Health" and is funded by Community Health Centers of the Central Coast.
The youth personal trainer program is part of the HEALSLO campaign aimed at preventing childhood obesity.