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Student Profile

Concepts Outside of the Classroom

HESF 107 - Run Conditioning student Jerick Garrett utilizes concepts he’s learned in class to promote healthy habits for teenagers at group home.

Jerick Garrett in a black NC State jacket and Adidas hat
Jerick Garrett

By Evan McNeill

NC State senior Jerick Garrett, who is currently enrolled in HESF 107 – Run Conditioning with lecturer Renee Harrington, has started taking valuable lessons he’s learned in class and incorporating them into life outside the classroom.

Garrett works full-time with teenage boys at a group home in Winston-Salem, N.C. When one of the boys took interest in the HESF 107 homework that he was working on, Jerick jumped at the opportunity to share some of the information he had learned in class.

“One of the kids saw me doing my homework and asked if I wanted to be a professional nutritionist,” Garrett said. “I told him ‘No, but maybe if we looked further into some of this information and are mindful of our portions and caloric intake, we won’t need a professional nutritionist one day.’ That’s what initially sparked the idea to help the kids come up with a cookbook so that they can have a say in how they eat healthy by making healthy versions of their favorite foods.”

Garrett said the first dish they tackled was homemade ramen, as opposed to instant ramen, which turned out much better than they originally expected. “We even shifted from sodas and juices to variations of healthy flavored water or just plain water, and surprisingly they didn’t push back.”

Along with the cookbook full of healthy alternatives, Garrett introduced the kids to several workouts that he believed would be fun and beneficial to their physical health. He stated that one of the biggest factors he considered when coming up with workouts for them was finding inclusive workouts that everyone could participate in, regardless of their physical condition.

“A couple of weeks ago, I did a hill sprint workout with them, eight times up and down,” Garrett said. “At first they weren’t feeling it, but they stuck with it and really enjoyed the final sprint.” 

Garrett also challenged the kids to create their own SMART goals, another concept that he learned about in HESF 107.

“When setting goals, usually people will tell you to aim for the stars and land on the moon. However, from a realistic perspective, I think it makes more sense that a goal is ‘specific’ and ‘attainable’ because it helps increase the probability of it actually being reached.”

Garrett stated that since he has introduced these healthy habits to the kids, he’s seen a noticeable change in their behavior. “To my surprise, when I am about to leave work, they always ask what we are going to do next time. Honestly, they are more on top of reminding my partner and I that it’s time to workout than we are,” Garrett said. “I’m just really proud of them for trusting what we are trying to do and helping to hold each other accountable on a daily basis.” 

Beyond being able to introduce a healthier lifestyle to the boys he works with, Garrett said that he, too, has benefited from the concepts he’s learned in HESF 107.

“To be honest, I dreaded the class at first. It’s been a decade since I last worked out consistently. After the first hot run, I wanted to drop the class completely, but didn’t have any options,” Garrett said. “But, professor Harrington told us the weather would cool off and our bodies would get more acclimated to running in due time. It’s safe to say that she was absolutely right. I can’t say that I love running now, but I am proud of my own growth and it feels great knowing that HESF 107 has positively impacted myself and those around me.”