Building Movements: The FIT Program at Andover

If you stroll into Borden Gym anytime between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., odds are that you will see a group of students exercising under the tutelage of Chris Collins, the Instructor for Fundamentals in Training (FIT).

With impeccable posture and a muscular six-foot frame, Collins came to Andover after working as a coach at Groton and Belmont Hill. He holds a degree in Exercise Science Physiology from Bridgewater State University.

The afternoon class Collins teaches at Andover, FIT, is a group workout that he designed for students to improve their fitness over the course of a term.

“It doesn’t matter to me whether they are Varsity athletes or beginners. What matters to me is that they are willing and want to learn, improve and do things. You see improvements if people genuinely want to do things,” said Collins.

Collins stressed that each student’s progress is completely in his or her own hands. “There has to be an effort from both sides. It’s the idea that maybe you can’t do a certain exercise right now, but hopefully if we work together, they can get there,” said Collins.

“I look at a training and I want it to be purposeful, thoughtful and, most importantly, adaptable. I only have a certain amount of space, a certain amount of time, and a certain amount of equipment to design something that meets all those criteria,” he continued.

When he first started working at Andover, Collins separated each new FIT class into three groups based on ability. “I used a quick test, a movement screen of sorts. And each group would work on what pertained to them based on what I saw,” said Collins.

The program functions differently now, however.

“Now things are a lot more generic, so [there is] no separation into groups. I think this is due to the fact that there are similar dysfunctions. I’m looking for improvements in more basic movement patterns now,” said Collins.

Collins said this shift in organization is not necessarily due to a decrease in student fitness.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a decline in ability, but there are less efficient movements now. I think it’s because people don’t do it as often, we are more sedentary in general now. There isn’t nearly as much of a need to run, lift or walk as much as we used to. At the end of each session, I want people to be able to perform a movement, and I want to see that it is efficient,” he said.