Dear Michelle Obama:
My name is Josh Lewis, co-founder of Fit Kids Fit Future. The fitness abilities within our student population are now at epidemic levels. From 2013-2015, our assessment process showed that 73% of 7th and 8th graders can no longer do one perfect pushup, and the large majority is unable to perform a basic air squat. As a result, these children are turning into adults who are contributing to the massive health care crisis we have within this country. Fit Kids Fit Future has designed a unique and powerful solution to this issue.
Over the past two years my business partner, Tammy Alcott, and I have collected data on over 400 7-12th grade students at a rural Central NY school. In addition we have assessed more than two hundred 50-60 year old adults. What we found has been eye opening. We discovered that the vast majority of middle-aged adults have some form of back pain, muscular imbalances, poor posture, and limited knowledge on the subjects of nutrition and healthy lifestyle. The sample population we tested at Waterville Central School showed that 81% of 7th and 8th graders are unable to perform 1 chin up, and over 50% have severe core imbalances.
Children who are lacking basic functional skills and knowledge at a young age, by default, grow into adults who, like those referenced above, have a poor quality of life from a movement standpoint, in many cases need hip, knee or shoulder replacements, are no longer able to keep up with their children. Some may even see early admittance to a long-term care facility. This has lead us to ask, at what age does our youth begin to lose their critical movement patterns? Have you ever watched a 2 year old squat down and play with his toys and get up and down off the floor with ease? At what age does that start to become difficult? Why, and what can we do to prevent the loss of these critical movement patterns?
To back up a little, I’d like to tell you more about myself and Tammy. I am the founder of a company called Garage Gym. We have 9 employees who work with over 150 private clients each week, with ages ranging from 12 to 77. I have witnessed what happens to children and adults who are unable to perform basic exercises and maintain a healthy bodyweight. Their confidence decreases, and they avoid activities that should be fun for children such as hiking and sports. They have poor sleep habits, low test scores and an overall negative outlook on life.
In addition to my experiences at Garage Gym, I have spent time as the Director of Recreation at a Boys and Girls club in Utica, NY, Physical Education Teaching Assistant at a NY BOCES program with troubled youth, and have been certified as a fitness coach by Optimum Performance Training. I also hold a Bachelor’s of Science in Pre-Law from Utica College.
Tammy Alcott has been a Health and PE teacher for 29 years at 3 different schools, Assistant Women’s Cross Country coach at Colgate, a Division 1 College, Assistant Women’s Soccer coach at Hamilton College, and Chairperson of the Health and Wellness Committee at Waterville Central School, where she currently teaches.
After analyzing our findings, we knew that we had to create a Health and PE curriculum that is solution oriented, providing the knowledge base and skill sets for students so that they are able to build strong bodies and minds, while avoiding the current patterns we are seeing in today’s adults.
Our PE curriculum is broken down into 5 components:
- Fit and Ready Assessment Pre-test
- Daily Warmups
- Adventure Games
- Leadership Component
- Fit and Ready Assessment Post-test
Our “Fit and Ready Assessment” is focused on 11 Universal Movements which directly correlate to building a body that will not suffer from back pain, poor posture, and muscular imbalances. This revolutionary approach has a scoring system which provides instant feedback on your functional abilities. We call it a “biomarker” for lifelong functionality.
The Fit and Ready Assessment is a scoring system that can be implemented in kindergarten, and tracked right through high school graduation. This same scoring system can be applied at ANY age throughout life to determine where you currently stand in regards to functional health. Imagine the long term effect on health care costs if we implemented a platform that gave individuals the framework to “manage the minimums” when it comes to exercise instead of the age-old approach of “more is better.”
For example, what if every student graduating high school could perform 1 perfect pushup, squat to a full depth with proper form and perform a standing toe touch with no pain or discomfort? Consider the potential if all adults, no matter their age, would strive for this simple “managing the minimums” approach. We would see a world that is light-years healthier than it is now. We have not found this approach anywhere else in today’s market.
After students are pre-tested and receive a Fit and Ready Score, they start their daily 5 minute warmups that are focused on progression and improving upon their assessment. We have designed a simple but effective method to build strength and get kids moving that is fun and exciting.
Our “Adventure Games” focus on teamwork, leadership, and strategy, all while implementing the 11 Universal Movements. With our approach, students forget they are even exercising. Our games can be customized for all PE settings and modified to concentrate on the weaknesses of each individual class (as found in the Fit and Ready Assessment).
Our “Leadership Component” implements numerous 21st century skills and transcends the typical PE setting by allowing the students to become the coach. They design, implement and coach their very own unique game within their class. They follow the Fit Kids Fit Future “criteria sheet” to help them build the framework around their game. This has been a huge hit with the kids in our pilot program! Children who often exclude themselves from the group are finding new confidence and building self-esteem from teaching their classmates and seeing their creations come to life.
After students spend a portion of the year participating in the daily warmups, Adventure Games and the Leadership Component, they are post tested with the Fit and Ready Assessment. They will receive a new score demonstrating their improved functional health. This score can be tracked year-to-year, providing a mechanism and motivation for children to take responsibility for their own health.
Our Health Curriculum is extremely innovative, putting a modern twist on important topics. We teach students why it’s important to be healthy and strong, finding their true motivators and highest values, and linking those to a healthy body and mind. They are guided through a series of exercises to help them determine their highest values, leading them to create goals and an action plan that aligns with those values.
One of our lessons is called “Hidden Genius.” Students follow a framework to determine their special skill set in life, and what they can do to benefit people, the earth or animals. From there, they build simulated companies that support their mission. Students build 3-D models of healthy and unhealthy rural/city communities according to research, and present to the school’s administrators for grading. At the end of our 26 week curriculum, students are left with their own unique “Health Roadmap,” that stays with them for life. This serves as a health and fitness resource not only for themselves, but for their parents and families as well.
Both the PE and Health curriculums supplement teachers current curriculum, which means they do not have to throw away the great things they are currently doing. We understand the importance of team based sports and health lessons such as drugs and sexuality.
We have a global vision for Fit Kids Fit Future. Our goals are to have every student across the United States benefit from this curriculum and to create a paradigm shift within the Health and PE setting in our schools. We envision our program setting a new standard within our school districts by showing our students that each of them can make a difference and do meaningful things in life, but it all starts with building a healthy body and mind.
We just finished our 2nd year pilot program at Waterville Central School, and our results have shown the following:
- Out of 198 Middle school students tested between two school years 2013-2014, 2014-2015, we found that 88.9% improved on their overall Fit and Ready Score after participating within our program.
- In 2014-2015, we tested 284 7-12th graders and found that
- 90.2% improved upon their Fit and Ready score, with an average improvement of 17%.
- there was a 64% increase in students who were able to complete one perfect pushup.
- core imbalances improved by 22.5%.
- lower body flexibility improved by 52%.
Last week, I received a phone call from a student named Dustin, who is finishing up the Health and PE curriculum. He wanted to let me know that he received a 98% on his final project and he scored 100% on all but one of the 11 Universal Movements. He said he wanted to practice at home with his parents until he was able to master that one particular movement. He thanked me for showing him a path that not only made him healthier and stronger, but his parents also as they have been implementing what he has learned into their own life.
Feedback like that from Dustin, and from many others, has driven me to spread this message to the world, and we would love for you to be on our team.
Our vision is to create a global digital platform that encompasses:
-The full Fit Kids Fit Future curriculum
-Updated lesson plans each year
-An employee wellness program that gives teachers access to health and fitness resources (healthy teachers are happy teachers)
-Nationwide school fitness challenges
-Teacher submitted lesson plans that will allow for a large database of “tried and tested” lessons that follow the premise our platform is built on. We believe with our unique framework and professional development training methods that the cream will rise to the top.
Our current government initiatives in place are making great progress, and we feel that the progress can be accelerated with our curriculum. Teachers and students need a simple and concise method to implement. We are filling that void.
Both Tammy and I live 5 hours from the White House and would be honored to show you our solution. Our curriculum is only months off the press and we have been endorsed by the NYS BOCES system, contacted by several after school program 21st Century Grant winners, featured on Time Warner Cable, contacted by e-learning digital platforms regarding licensing of our product, and most recently, we visited an Intermediate Unit in Philadelphia to speak in front of the top administrators of over 26 school districts.
Thank you for your time and your commitment to our nation’s health, I look forward to speaking with you shortly.