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Transitioning to a Healthier Lifestyle Extends to All Students

May 22, 2019

DUBLIN, CA–So many wonderful things are happening all around us. Sometimes one just needs to know where to look: case in point, a fitness center located on Village Parkway. If your child attends Dublin High School, you’ve probably driven past this business hundreds of times. However, something extra-special occurs there every Thursday afternoon. In what can be defined as a perfect collaboration, local business and the school district have united to create an opportunity for a wonderful collection of students.

Dublin Fitness Group Shot

The Transition Program operates out of the Valley High School campus. It serves students from ages 18-22 that possess some form of developmental disability. Transition strives to prepare young people for the vital tasks that they will need in order to thrive as adults. Skills are taught in fiscal responsibility, vocational training and meal planning, among others. One of the foundation blocks of the program is to promote lifelong physical activity. Transition teacher Bree LeMoine reached out years ago to the owners of Platinum Fitness in Dublin and a relationship was hatched.

Though the business currently operates under the name Dublin Fitness, the one thing that hasn’t changed is personal training and supervision. The Transition students arrive at noon and conduct specific cleaning tasks on the equipment. In exchange, they receive a free one day a week membership. Guiding this training is National Personal Training Institute instructor Mark Bransky and some of his own students. reached out to both Bree and Mark to collect their feedback on this unique collaboration.

DSC_0349 Since you are teaching your students life skills, how do you entrench the thought that physical fitness is a life-long endeavor?

Bree LeMoine: “For many of my students, they have never experienced working out in a gym setting. The thought of working out in a gym, where “adults” workout is intriguing to them. I capitalize on their intrigue by providing them the arena to discover the world of fitness and by allowing them to have freedom and choice during their workouts. The whole idea is to make it fun, allow them to discover what motivates them, and empower them with the knowledge and ability to work out safely and effectively. By making it a positive experience, it is my hope they will choose to pursue it throughout their lifetime.” All the Transition students possess different skills. How is the fitness program modified to cater to each student? Or is every effort a “group” effort?

LeMoine: “Just like in the classroom, each student has an individualized plan. While the students are all doing the same circuit training, each trainer knows what the limitations are of the students and will modify the activity to their individual needs. Students are taught to advocate for themselves by alerting the trainers to their ability level and are explicitly instructed to communicate how they feel during workouts. All workouts are closely monitored by the Transition teacher, classroom aides, and, of course, the trainers.” What rewards do you receive observing your students away from school and in a fitness gym setting?

LeMoine: “There are so many rewards. I love the relationships my students build with their trainers. It’s quite a heartwarming thing to see. My students talk about their trainers throughout the week and are genuinely excited to see them every Thursday. I’ve had several students join gyms and even hire personal trainers to train them outside of the school day. Just today, a student told me he lost 10 pounds and his smile said it all! I recently heard from a former student that he is taking a kinesiology class in the hopes that someday he will go through Mark’s program and become a personal trainer. Anything I can do to improve the lives of my students is the greatest reward and I couldn’t have done it without Mark. He has given my class five years of his time. He does it without pay or accolades. He does it out of the kindness of his heart and the insatiable desire to teach health and fitness to anyone who wants to learn.”

So, the global timeline of this relationship goes back to 2011. Mark Bransky is the personal trainer that has been working with the Transition students for the past five years. During the regular Monday through Thursday period, Mark teaches his students an integrative education platform that specializes in the fitness industry. Upon completion of the Diploma and Certification programs, the students leave with a foundation to help them succeed in different health and wellness environments. While NPTI is a nationwide organization, the only Bay Area branch is located in Dublin. What benefits do your own students receive by working with the Transition students?

Mark Bransky: “The National Personal Training Institute excels in fitness education because we offer 200 hours of hands-on application. This allows students to receive feedback from their decisions which, over time, develops their expertise. However, the student body does not represent the general population. Participating with the Transition group allows the students to work with untrained, sedentary individuals with better represent the general population.

“A challenging aspect to training someone is saying what you mean and meaning what you’re saying. Many of the students in the Transition group have cognitive impairments that make communication challenging. Many of the students have short attention spans, learning disabilities and poor control over their body. If a student can coach and cue someone from Transition, they can coach and cue anyone.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day. It often takes a long time for someone of normal cognitive abilities to learn appropriate technique. It’s common for trainers to become frustrated if a client is not performing an exercise as described. This frustration can escalate and impede the flow and positive outcome of the session. Working with the Transition group allows the students to adjust their expectations realize that it takes longer than anticipated for technique to improve.” How do you keep the fitness routines interesting? Does the focus change from week to week?

Bransky: “Successful training programs are equally varied and consistent. They need to be varied enough to prevent boredom yet consistent enough to be sure the participant is improving. We keep the Thursday fitness routines interesting by performing training sessions that increase in complexity as the semester goes on. The NPTI students accumulate knowledge and training styles over the course of the semester that integrate into the Thursday training sessions with the Transition group. By semesters end the NPTI and Transition students are engaging in more complex, circuit-style exercise sessions.” Why would you recommend personal training as a career?

Bransky: “Fitness professionals benefit from high job satisfaction, opportunity for mastery and autonomy. It’s a wonderful career for someone that values personal development, community, and support of a healthy lifestyle. As well, it’s very easy in today’s society to become sedentary and overweight. This can lead to a number of maladies that challenge quality of life. A personal trainer must stay marketable by being healthy, active and maintain a certain level of fitness. It’s a wonderful self-contract to be healthy and happy.” would like to thank both Bree LeMoine and Mark Bransky for sharing their thoughts on this unique partnership. It is a powerful example of how local businesses can support the school district’s students.

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