Free classes, great workouts: nine exercise classes you should be takingExercise routines can become dull and predictable as we engage in the uniform two-mile treadmill run or 30 minutes on the elliptical. If you’re getting bored of your predictable workout routine, then it’s time to do something about it. Make exercise enjoyable and fun as you dance, kick, spin or crunch your way to a fit body. Last semester, the University of Massachusetts opened its $50-million Recreation Center, along with nine sweat-inducing fitness classes.
Instead of sitting on the floor and doing crunches to the point of weariness, stop in for a 30-minute ABS-olute class. Targeting your core area and lower back, ABS-olute will tone your tummy with abdomen circuits, isometric abdomen workouts, stability training and push-ups.
“The music is always upbeat tempo, usually a remix of pop songs,” said instructor Michael Russo. With popularity rising to an all time high, getting into this class requires students to “show up 30 minutes before and listen for an announcement to get a ticket.”
If you’re looking for a high-intensity class that will kick your gluts into gear, then Kickbox Boot Camp is the class for you. After recently receiving her third degree black belt in karate, instructor Meghan Trowbridge knows exactly how to teach her students martial arts basics. Although Trowbridge includes, “self defense maneuvers and personal protection awareness,” during her class, don’t be scared off by her martial arts experience – you don’t need to be a black belt to take this class.
Trowbridge said, “It does not matter if you are a beginner or advanced because I have been trained as an instructor to work with all ages and levels.” She also advised arriving 30 minutes before class to guarantee a spot.
With upbeat music and constant movement, instructor Jillian Isabelle invites all fitness levels to incorporate plyometrics, strength and core training into a one-hour fat-burning exercise.
“It’s a high-intensity class with lots of jumps, leaps and squats,” said Isabelle.
With 30-second intervals of quick bursts of energy, you’ll surely be breathing heavily as you walk out the door. This class is perfect for those who want to improve their athletic performance or simply want to experience an intense cardio workout.
Showcasing a variety of musical tastes, Cardio funk will have you dancing off your overindulgence at the dining commons with body-sculpting moves. This one-hour class includes interval training and aerobic fitness exercises. According to instructor Nicole Webb, “You can expect a lot of high-energy music, movement and fun from this class.” Although Cardio funk is based on dance moves, Webb says there is, “no dance experience necessary just be ready to get a work out.”
After a stressful exam or a bad week, it’s time to blow off some steam. Cardio kickboxing allows you to kick and punch your stress out the door as instructors Eliza Shirazi and Erika Starr keep your feet constantly moving. This class uses “forms of martial arts and the basic jabs, uppercuts, hooks and so on.
“I put together routines that makes you sweat, sweat, sweat,” Shirazi said. “Girls come in knowing they are getting a full work out, there is no need to run on the treadmill after.”
Starr said students can expect to leave dripping in sweat, feeling more energized and motivated for the rest of their day.
“With music loud and strong, this class fills up quickly. The line takes up the entire hallway. It kills me when I have to cut off people, but full capacity is always reached,” said Shirazi.
Don’t let the sedentary bikes fool you; within the first few minutes of cycling you’ll be breaking a major sweat. From the moment you mount the bike, your legs won’t stop moving for a full hour as the instructors motivate you to work your hardest. You are in charge of the resistance knob and can either ease off or increase the weight that is added to the wheel of the bicycle. As instructor Jill Isabelle says during class, “It’s as hard as you make it, but if you listen to me you can bank on burning 600-1,000 calories.” There are only 27 bikes available in this class, so if you want to get in, you need to get there early.
Down to the core incorporates a stability ball to improve your balance and work your core. Focusing on your abdomen and lower back muscles, this class will leave your abs burning.
“Day after day I sit on the floor mat at the gym and do the same abdomen routine yet see no results. After being referred to the class by a friend, I finally felt the burn in my abs and wasn’t bored after 10 minutes,” said sophomore Lauren Hill.
Although beginners can take this class, advanced athletes will also find this explosive workout is a challenge.
After spending the day slouching over your desk in class, its time to fix that posture. Pilates uses a series of positions that align your spine, increase strength, flexibility and movement, and can relieve muscle aches.
Instructor Brittany Cohen says her class “is a mind-body workout. It involves core strengthening, lengthening, flexibility and balance.” As for the music in this class you can expect to hear, “anything from Bob Dylan and Slightly Stoopid to U2 and Dave Matthews Band.” If a student has a specific body pain, Cohen will show them “different exercises and stretches they can do to improve their condition.”
With nine fitness classes to choose from, the time has come to retire your boring workout routine and exercise the fun way. No matter what level of fitness you are, there is a class targeted for you. With the increasing popularity of these classes it’s important to get there early; just go to the front desk of the Recreation Center to ask for a pink slip and you’ll have a spot in your desired class. Take advantage of the fact that these classes are free, and get over to the gym to kick, crunch and spin your way to that healthy body.
Kaitlyn Bigica can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.