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Extreme fitness class at DHS pumps students


February 20. 2013 2:51AM
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Enthused by their new high school building with its state-of-the-art weight room, Dallas Senior High School physical wellness teachers Ruth Skammer and Tom Connors decided the new facility deserved a new elective exercise class.


The extreme fitness class they have designed is a very different physical educational class experience that is having tremendous and impressive results.


The course, first offered in the fall, involves 32 minutes of non-stop activity during the first period of the day. The activities vary every day, but include strength, agility, endurance exercises and a lot of testing.


Skammer says students are tested before, during and after the nine-week 33-day program for weight, agility, body mass index, blood pressure, heart rate, endurance and flexibility. So what do they do that is so extreme?


Day one: Testing, 12 minute run, shuttle run, sit-ups, push-ups.


Day three: Exercise to a P90X video concentrating on the biceps and triceps.


Day five: Weight room stations, wrestling room and gym.


By day seven, Skammer says, We take them to the pool where they aqua jog for 30 minutes without touching the bottom of the pool.


And then….. National Guard Sgt. Patrick Scarfo, who teaches personal training for boot camp, comes in for calisthenics and more endurance training.


I never expected it to be as hard as it was, said Amy Avillion. There's no fooling around like in a regular gym class. By the end, I just wanted it to be over.


But older, more physically-seasoned students like Nathan Vario, who trains on the Dallas High School football team, said, This kept me in shape in the off-season. I lost 2 or 3 percent in weight and my endurance is better. I know my eating habits should be better, though.


Along with the physical part of the program, Mary Ehret, a nutrition educator, provides three classes for cooking healthy vegetables to the participants.


Though the students ran around the halls of the school with parachutes on their backs for a drag component and were allowed a dress code pass and a morning shower, the program is for the more serious and dedicated exercise student.


But Merissa Konnick found the class gave her energy and motivation all day long.


We did something different every day and it was never completely exhausting. So the muscles would be aching one day, but then OK the next day, she said.


Konnick would definitely do the class again if she can fit it into her schedule. The program will be offered again in the coming fourth quarter starting in April.


Mark Romanowski is one class success story. His results are very impressive and most of the students showed improvement in some areas, said Skammer.


I gained pounds in muscle mass, I bench press to 245 lbs. now and my endurance went up a lot, Romanowski said. My muscles were swollen. I was tired at first but somehow I was able to keep up.


Tom Connors says the program also tries to explain and explore which exercise programs work, which do not and why.




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