Determined to offer effective programming for Spartans in Austin and abroad, Athletics staff Jay Patterson, Kathy Rainey and Liam Forstein have paved the way for a more active fall term for St. Stephen’s students.
While traditional sports offerings remain available for Upper School students, the school’s fitness coaches and sports medicine athletic trainers have expanded physical education choices for the fall term, including both asynchronous and synchronous class models. Most importantly, Patterson, Rainey and Forstein continue to model their healthy active lifestyles for students!
Exploration of Fitness
Assistant Athletic Trainer Liam Forstein offers Exploration of Fitness Development, an exercise science class that introduces students to exercise programming based on safe and attainable personal goals. Forstein introduces topics to students in an asynchronous format each week, and collaborative workouts, designed by students, are tied to each topic. “Exercise science isn’t just about if the body can make physiological changes, it is also about why and how the body makes physiological changes,” he noted.
Forstein is a firm believer in cultivating a healthy lifestyle. “I believe it's more important than ever for students to be active during virtual learning because it's very easy to get stuck on the computer for hours without ever leaving your seat,” he noted. “Research has shown that 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a day may improve hormonal equilibrium — so why not take care of your mind, body and spirit?”
Hiking, Walking and Jogging
Sports Medicine Director Kathy Rainey offers a class that encourages students to enjoy either natural beauty or cityscapes while logging their physical activities. By using Strava, a fitness app that records activity and fosters community, she has connected students with the outdoors and each other while they remain physically distant.
A nature-lover at heart, Rainey encourages students to get outside in order to stay healthy and happy throughout this period of physical distancing and remote learning. “Students know they need to escape the virtual world and find relaxation outside,” Rainey said. “Usually I promote exercise as a means to stay fit and healthy, but this year the most important reason to exercise outdoors is to maintain and improve mental health.”
Off-Season Athletic Training
Strength and Conditioning Coach Jay Patterson is all about making the minutes count, so he works with athletes during the off-season to help them reach their training goals. From higher vertical jumps to improved endurance, his synchronous workouts after school are designed to keep athletes motivated and prepared for their upcoming competitive seasons.
Patterson is no stranger to team training, and he emulates that model during his training sessions. “Classes are filled with encouragement, and positive reinforcement is rewarded for participation and effort,” he said. “Our school theme for the year is ‘Together,’ so I have and will continue to use the word ‘Together’ not only for cuing training exercises, but also as a theme in our training program. We’re all Spartans, working to become the best versions of ourselves.”
Coach Patterson also facilitates group fitness classes aimed at helping students foster a love for fitness through tried-and-true synchronous group classes. Whether it is a high-intensity interval session or a low-impact class like yoga, his group fitness classes enable students to train virtually at the level that best suits them.
— Chelsea Richards, assistant athletic director and sports information director