Eversole stressing healthy habits at PBL High School

PAXTON — For first-year Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School physical education teacher Pat Eversole, the road to a life of fitness began with trip to the doctor’s office.

Considered overweight at 225 pounds, Eversole had to undergo a surgical procedure to get a mole removed from his chest. Due to the procedure, a nurse told him something he would never forget.

“The long story short, the nurse said, ‘Make sure you don’t exercise for two or three days,’” Eversole said. “Then she looked at me and laughed and said, ‘But I know I don’t have to worry about that with you.’”

Nowadays, that would be a major concern. Since that moment, he has dedicated himself to getting in shape the right way.

“Everyone has a moment where they’re like, ‘Oh man. Maybe I should get into shape,’” Eversole said. “That was that moment for me. I was like, ‘OK, that’s it. I’m going to start eating better, eating higher quality foods. I’m going to start moving more. I’m not just going to go running. I’m going to figure out the best way to exercise, the best way to improve my fitness.’”

Due to his newfound passion for fitness, he got himself into a healthy shape.

Now, he hopes to spread his knowledge of fitness to PBL.

With fellow fitness trainer Elsie Riddle on hand for the job interview, Eversole was hired to teach fitness as a physical education teacher, specializing in fitness training, at the high school.

“I think one of the reasons they hired me is because I’m pretty passionate about fitness,” Eversole said. “I wanted to spread my message ... I want to spread it not only to the school, but the community. I’ve been out talking to the (PBL) booster club president. I was at Swedish Heritage Day (last) weekend. People are asking me nutrition advice, exercise advice. One small change anyone can make is perfect.”

In regards to the high school, Eversole is getting help from Riddle, who is in her sixth year as a physical education teacher, and Brock Niebuhr, who is an assistant coach for the varsity football team.

“I teach fitness training,” Eversole said. “Elsie and Brock teach P.E., but we’re all doing fitness days on Tuesdays.”

The fitness days, Eversole said, are going to be crucial, at least in terms of teaching kids how to lift weights.

“A lot of the kids have bad form when it comes to weightlifting and fitness, and so we want to take care of that,” Eversole said. “I think by incorporating fitness with Brock and Elsie on Tuesday, they get a fitness day. They’ll be in here, and then maybe we’ll switch and we’ll go out to the track, so we’re all on the same page in regards to fitness.

“‘Sound body, sound mind’ could be a mantra for the program we’re trying to build.”  

The classes attempt to eliminate any unhealthy habits among the students.

For instance, the mere act of sitting is all but forbidden.

“I don’t let any of my kids sit ever in class unless I’m taking attendance,” Eversole said. “If they want to sit down maybe to write down what they’re benching or something, that’s fine. (Other than that), I have them stand up the whole time.”

Eversole said sitting down for too long is, indeed, very unhealthy.

“Sitting is the new smoking,” Eversole said. “When we’re sitting all day, we get contractures not only in our upper body, but our lower body.”
The fitness class teaches the kids not only proper exercise, but lessons regarding eating healthy. As part of the fitness  sessions, Eversole is instructing his students to track their calories, proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

“I want them to get the best results they possibly can while they’re working out in here,” Eversole said. “That comes with a change in the culture. A lot of them get a school lunch, and that’s fine, but I want them to write down what they’re doing, eating-wise, on the weekend, when they go home, because how many times have you sat down and just ate a bag of chips while watching your favorite TV show. It’s just that mindless eating I want them take care of.”

Contrary to some students’ inquiries, the attention to the details is crucial, Eversole said.

“A lot of these kids are saying, ‘Why do we have to write down every single thing I eat,?’” Eversole said. “I said, ‘Guys and gals, you’ll realize that certain foods make you feel a certain way, and maybe you won’t want to eat them all the time.’”

Eversole’s teachings go beyond the class sessions. Eversole said he is hoping to start an after-school weight-training program.

“It’s going to be more of a fitness free lift,” Eversole said.

In the meantime, Eversole has a website available for students who want advice beyond the fitness class.

On the site https://sites.google.com/site/pblfitness/, Eversole has links to video demonstrations of exercises and subjects such as how to find time to exercise, among others.

The site also has a feature called Word of the Week.

Eversole said, overall, the kids are starting to buy into what he is teaching.

“I have kids journaling about what they’re doing in the weight room or what their goals are,” Eversole said. “They’re doing a great job. The kids here are great, and a lot of them want to get in better shape for whatever that is. It could be vanity or for sports. It could just be because they want to feel better. When you feel better, you’re going to look better. When you look better, you’re going to feel better. That’s our program in a nutshell. We know it’s going to take some time, but we’re taking small steps right now.”

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