The high school’s fitness training area for athletes and physical education students has undergone a major upgrade, rebranding the space as a true fitness center and not just a weight room.
“When I came here three years ago, we already had the rack system, dumbbells and pin loader machines, but the one thing the fitness center lacked was cardio equipment,” said John Sparacio, Islip’s director of health, physical education and athletics. “It was really just a weight room, not a real fitness center.”
Over the past two years, Sparacio and his team started transitioning in cardio equipment such as treadmills, recumbent bikes, advanced motion trainers, ellipticals and rowing machines. They also painted the room, brightening it and branding it with Islip’s purple and gold. Access to the room is available throughout the day as part of the curriculum for PE classes.
“We are trying to meet all the needs of the district’s high school children, providing kids of all abilities with more opportunities and options,” Sparacio said. “It is not just for athletes. We want students of all body types and abilities to find something in here that would appeal to and benefit them. They can learn different kinds of athletic plans through our physical education classes and athletic programs, whether its sports-specific or just living a healthy lifestyle.”
Enhancing the center with cardio and classes is just the beginning, as Sparacio envisions even more intensive use of the space.
“Our future goal is to create classes where students spend more time in the fitness center learning about different training methodologies, health and nutrition,” he said. “Down the road, we hope to create programs where freshmen and sophomores can do a 10-week wellness unit during their phys ed classes. Instead of a traditional sports skills class for the first marking period, they could utilize the fitness center as well as our track and turf field, and learn the different aspects of living a healthy lifestyle through fitness and nutrition. That’s the long-range plan. Adding all the cardio equipment really ties it all together in providing a true fitness room.”