Classes promote communal ways to work out

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Classes promote communal ways to work out

Courtesy of Chelsea Skinner

Courtesy of Chelsea Skinner

Courtesy of Chelsea Skinner

Courtesy of Chelsea Skinner

Kendal Aldridge, Contributing Writer

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On any given evening, 15 students will grab their equipment to prepare for the HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) class. Weights and mats ready, instructors begin on time and launch into the warmup with some basic aerobic movement.

Both the Student Recreation Center and the Robert E. Witt Center continue to offer a variety of group exercise classes. Classes are grouped in three major categories: cardio, mind-body, and strength. Under each of these categories is a variety of class offerings, including hip-hop, cycling, yoga and strength classes targeting various parts of the body.

“I think the group exercise classes provide a lot of workout opportunities and appeal to students because they are free,” said Liz Schlichting, a group exercise instructor.

Manager of Fitness Services Whitney Pape said other places in town have relatively high fees for group classes, whereas the University offers free group exercise classes year-round.

“I am a senior and did not know about the classes until last year,” said Jessica Finn, a senior majoring in human development and family studies. “With over 40,000 students that attend school here, I am surprised that more people don’t come to these classes because they are included in our tuition.”

Commonly known as “group-ex classes” by students, the University offers over 20 different types of classes. There are a variety of instructors for all types of classes so students can find the right fit, Schlichting said.

Schlichting said all of the instructors are welcoming and work hard to make sure the students have the best experience. About half of the instructors are faculty and community members, and the other half are UA students. Becoming an instructor is just another way students can participate in group-ex offerings.

“We do offer students the opportunity to get trained in-house to become an instructor over the course of a semester,” Pape said. “Students have the opportunity to get mentored by seasoned instructors in the business. Some have even been teaching for over 20 years.”

Finn described how exercising in a group makes her more comfortable.

“I love group exercise classes,” Finn said. “Personally I have trouble pushing myself to go exercise, so having a set time and a teacher telling me what to do helps motivate me.”

Not all students, however, agree with this sentiment.

“I have only been to a group exercise class once,” said Victoria Seese, a junior majoring in accounting. “I didn’t enjoy the class because I don’t like working out in a group. I prefer to work out by myself so you can go at your own pace.”

Classes are offered at different times throughout the day to accommodate varying student schedules. The earliest class offered starts at 6:30 a.m. and the latest starts at 9:30 p.m. The only exception is Saturdays during home football games, when all classes are cancelled, and on University-recognized holidays.

With 50 classes offered a week and 70 different instructors, students have plenty of options to find the right fit.

Students interested in attending group-ex classes can find the schedule listed online at the SRC website. Students must obtain a pass for the class at the front desk, which are given out around 30 minutes before the scheduled class time. A new schedule will be released for the upcoming spring semester.