Health and Fitness Training of Trainers

tot1An idea which was fighting to become a reality since April 2016, this Health and Fitness Training of Trainers finally came to fruition the weekend of November 12 and 13. With a total of five Peace Corps volunteers, one Corps Africa volunteer, and nine local counterparts from various PC communities, the weekend was one where each participant had many things to give and many things to learn. The two-day workshop vacillated between active sessions and informational sessions, all of which came together to promote a healthier lifestyle, sharing one’s knowledge, and leading others on this health and fitness journey.

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We opened the workshop by discussing potential motivations for fitness and how one’s mindset towards exercise can sometimes stem from a negative self-image. We were happy to find that many of the young women were already rocking body-positive perspectives! This allowed us to take the discussion a step further and explore ways to inspire others in the community who may struggle with body-negative mentalities. This session was a wonderful way to kick off the weekend by ensuring that everything we did was framed with the mindset of body-positive rhetoric.

tot3Seeing nutrition as a primary component of health, we made certain to incorporate nutrition sessions throughout both days. Ranging from the importance of hydration, to understanding the food pyramid, to the evils of excessive sugar, to interactive cooking lessons, all of the participants were exposed to something new and provided with the tools to take action regarding their diet. Understanding that big changes don’t happen overnight, we made an effort to present many options and provide little ways they can make a difference every day.

We also provided fitness sessions focusing on either yoga or aerobics. These sessions were the backbone of the training, as we focused on empowering the young women to feel confident leading others in fitness sessions. This workshop ensured that the girls were able to learn new moves as well as understand the components of an effective workout plan and how to lead others. By the end of the workshop, each participant was able to lead their peers in a number of newly learned moves and demonstrated an increase in leadership ability. A major aim of the workshop was to empower local counterparts to either begin their own fitness class or to help make a Peace Corps Volunteers’s class more sustainable. We closed the workshop by having the participants meet with their volunteer to plan either a transition of leadership or how to start a fitness class in their community.

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By the end of the weekend, the participants, who already came with a wealth of knowledge, seemed energized, confident, and ready to lead their communities on the health and fitness journey. Reports of newly implemented yoga classes have already come in! We have every faith that the effects of this workshop will continue to unfold as the girls become more comfortable with using their new skills in leadership roles and sharing their body-positive perspective with others.

For more information on specific sessions, please check out my blog: http://passportandpack.tumblr.com/search/tot

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