BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ- After challenging their intellectual capabilities in the classroom, students are excited to exercise their athletic prowess in gym.

At Governor Livingston, there are three options for gym classes: weightlifting, team sports, and fitness. At the start of each marking period, students choose which class they want to join. If they do not like the class, however, they have the opportunity to switch into the other classes.

Weightlifting is often the most popular class. Physical Education teacher Mr. Chris Eckert described the goal of class: “To provide a program for all students to reach their potential. We test the three major lifts in weightlifting.” In the weightlifting room, there are various weights, benches, and bars. Students choose pre-planned workouts, and try to complete them each period. These workouts change every week. 

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Many students enthusiastically support the class. Juniors David Martinez and Christopher Rampaul-Pino remarked, “We love weightlifting because we love getting stronger!” The weightlifting class allows students to build up their strength, which is great for those who do not have a gym membership or the time to lift after school. If someone wants to get stronger, Governor Livingston’s weightlifting class is the perfect opportunity. However, some students do not like the grading method in the class. Sophomore Matthew Quinn stated, “I don’t like lifting for a grade. When you’re forced to lift, you don’t want to do it as much.” The grade that a student receives depends on his or her effort in weightlifting, and there are times when people are just tired and do not want to lift. As a result, the grading is very strict, and students often drop out to join team sports. In team sports and fitness, grades are likewise based on participation.

Team sports revolves around fun, competitive games that require teamwork. Gym teacher Ms. Moretti presented the goal of the class: “The overall goal of physical education is to develop physically literate individuals who have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthful physical activity. Specifically for team sports, I would say that the goal is to be able to learn the skills necessary to participate in a variety of physical activities and work cooperatively within a group of diverse learners to achieve a common goal.” Team captains make teams that play together in sports such as pickleball, volleyball, speedball, ultimate frisbee, and kickball. To keep the class competitive, scores are recorded and there are playoffs to decide the best team. If the teams are very unbalanced, the teacher scrambles them to make the game fairer. 

A lot of students enjoy the teamwork in team sports compared to weightlifting, which is an individual sport. Sophomore Emily Haines enthused, “[Team sports] can be fun with your friends!” Not surprisingly, students tend to choose their friends when making teams, and have a lot of fun playing together. At the same time, students receive the opportunity to make new friends with students from other grades, as they work together to win the game. However, team sports can still be improved. Freshman Frederick Huggins wants team sports to “do something more engaging and have higher stakes.” This could possibly mean including some extra incentive to increase the competitive spirit, so students are motivated to participate and to win. 

Finally, the fitness class tends to have the smallest participation and focuses on physical fitness. Students do yoga, meditation, and dances like Cotton-Eye Joe and other party dances. The class allows students to eliminate their stress and to relax their body. For students that do not like the heavy physical participation in weightlifting and the competition in team sports, fitness is the perfect class. 

Students really enjoyed the relaxing and chill nature of the class. Sophomore Sophia Barca commented, “I thought [fitness class] was a lot of fun. We got to dance and it was really relaxing.” There is less pressure from team members to perform well like in team sports or exercise hard like in weightlifting. However, some students think the class can be more rigorous. Senior Alexis Pugliese proclaimed, “I liked it, but we could have done more complicated stuff. We could’ve done circuit training.” If students were allowed to provide input, one change they would make is to increase the level of intensity of these routines.

Governor Livingston provides weightlifting, team sports, and fitness classes to their students. The diverse selection of classes lets students pursue their interests and gives them the flexibility to switch between different classes. Gym class is a great opportunity for students to escape the classroom and have fun with their friends!