Whether bringing out the invaluable, freshly- laundered gym towels, resetting the equipment, or working in her office, Fitness Center Manager Emma Mitchell is a widely recognized Deerfield figure and a wonderful asset to the community.
Ms. Mitchell has already made a significant impact on sports teams and individuals alike by customizing workout plans for those interested in better meeting their fitness goals.
“Students come to me with a range of requests,” Ms. Mitchell explained. “Some want to improve on something as specific as hockey pivots, while others are simply looking for general fitness.”
Her programs offer something for everyone, which might explain why she has devised over 35 programs so far this year.
“Ms. Mitchell rocks. She has helped us focus on what our sport needs,” winter diver Marina Vranos ’12 explained. “She likes short, quick, repetitive workouts, and has definitely given us a challenging, but baseline program which we will build on.”
Patrick Koch ’13, who is training for hockey, noted, “I haven’t been working with Ms. Mitchell for very long, but already I’ve seen some major improvements.” Part of Ms. Mitchell’s success comes from her understanding of the hectic Deerfield lifestyle. She begins by finding out how much time each individual realistically has to devote to the gym-how many days a week and for how long-while requiring students to take time for rest.
Ms. Mitchell spoke of the importance of having time off, mentioning the adverse effects that too much exercise can have on the body while also acknowledging the importance of Deerfield weekends.
“Saturdays and Sundays are sacred,” she declared. “Students should be able to enjoy prep school life.” To this end, Ms. Mitchell keeps plans flexible, always happy to make adjustments with a student’s changing needs.
But Ms. Mitchell also recognized the limits of her role and opts to stick with what she knows best.
“I have talked about nutrition,” she acknowledged, “but I’m not a registered nutritionist. I simply discuss healthy choices, like good carbohydrates you’ll find on campus, and about protein and healthy fats.”
She steers clear of the topic of weight loss altogether, focusing instead on how to be healthy.
“I think the tendency here at school is for people to feel like they need to be losing weight and really that’s not the case.” Ms. Mitchell said.
She instead emphasizes the importance of food for energy “whether you’re just sitting in class or have practice at the end of the day.” She explained how she prefers “to educate people on what they should eat if they want to feel healthy and content.”
Ms. Mitchell concluded, “I want to help everyone feel good, whether that person is an athlete or just someone wanting to feel a bit healthier.” So far, her plans seem to be working out.