SAFETY DOC PODCAST #119 | Strength Trainer Drew Baye | Is Student Fitness Sapping School Safety? [Podcast]

[Podcast] Drew Baye has been teaching and writing about exercise for over twenty years, during which time he has personally instructed hundreds of clients, including elderly people and people with physical disabilities, one-on-one through tens of thousands of workouts. He maintains the number one blog on high intensity strength training and has been featured in several books about exercise including The New Bodybuilding for Old-School Results by Ellington Darden, PhD, Heart Strong by Ken Hutchins, and The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferris.

DIRECT LINK to MP3 of this Episode:


Antonia Noori Farzan of the Washington Post (February 7, 2020) wrote about pending state legislation in California that would drastically impact physical fitness instruction, assessment and guidance for students. “For generations of students, running a timed mile around the track as part of a mandatory fitness assessment has been a painful rite of passage. To some, it can be downright embarrassing and humiliating. But that could soon be changing in California, where officials have raised concerns that annual physical performance tests can lead to body-shaming and bullying, and that they discriminate against students who have disabilities or identify as non-binary.”


In the 1950s, President Dwight D. Eisenhower was horrified to learn that European schoolchildren were acing a fitness test designed by competitive rock climbers, while the majority of American kids failed. The fear that the United States was falling behind on the world stage led to the introduction of the Presidential Fitness Test, which rewarded the students who could do the most pull-ups and run the fastest miles. In 2012, the Presidential Fitness Test was quietly replaced by a program that focused on students’ overall health rather than arbitrary fitness goals.


Drew defines fitness as, “Your ability to perform various physical tasks without fatigue and without injury.” He notes that strength training benefits muscles and also the heart – explaining the misconception that the heart is solely responsible for circulating blood throughout the body as many muscles are involved.


Per Drew, most people are unable to accurately define exercise. He defines it as, “A process by which the body performs work of a demanding nature in accordance with muscle and joint function for the purpose of creating tension and fatigue in the targeted muscles to stimulate improvement in muscular strength and size and through the stress in the muscles to place a demand on and to stimulate improvements in all those supporting systems.”


Ultimately, nutrition is a significant component of student fitness. Drew debunks the popular argument that kids of previous generations had similar diets as kids today – and they were more active decades ago. In fact, he notes that the higher level of activity kids had in the 1950s and 1960s decreased opportunities for them to consume extra calories – as they were out doing things and not sitting in front of a screen.


Drew identified 4 benefits of physical fitness specific to student safety (1) Students able to quickly get themselves to a safe location during a crisis: (2) Students being able to better recover from a physical injury; (3) If you’re stronger, you are better able to aid other people (which is also part of the FEMA Teen CERT program); and (4) Students maintain sharpened thinking skills and decision-making during a crisis due to the connections between physical fitness and improved cognitive functioning.


Dr. Perrodin asserts that California’s draconian measures to limit physical education are based on inaccurate perceptions that students with disabilities don’t enjoy, or don’t benefit, from physical education – an assumption he argues discriminates against students with disabilities and violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (Chapter 7, Addendum 2).


Looking for Dr. Timothy Ludwig, PhD?

Dr. Perrodin’s “Safety Doc Podcast” negotiates school and community safety. To be informed about industrial safety, please contact Appalachian State University Professor Dr. Timothy Ludwig, PhD, at

Learn more about this episode’s guest:

Purchase Dr. Perrodin’s Book: Schools of Errors – Rethinking School Safety in America