March 4, 2015

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Rec Center offers cardio classes for beginners and experts

Hannah Cohen/Collegian File Photo

Sometimes, it is fun to mix up your exercise routine. After all, running on a treadmill by yourself can get old after a while. An easy way to add in a little variety is to partake in one free exercise classed offered at the University of Massachusetts Recreation Center every week.

The Rec Center offers over 20 fitness classes that fall under the categories of core and strength, dance, mind and body, spinning, and high impact cardio. High impact cardio classes can be intimidating to many students, as the promise of a pounding heartbeat and lots of sweat can be daunting. But a little known secret is that that Rec Center classes are offered at a range of difficulty levels.

So if you are looking to start exercising or looking for a more difficult class, here is a breakdown of the cardio classes that may best fit your needs.

The Beginner

“Boot camp” is, admittedly, a scary phrase. When people hear of “boot camp,” they tend to think about military training, strict discipline, pain, testing the limits of human strength and, of course, pushups.

While the class called Boot Camp is not as extreme as your average military movie, it does demand plenty of pushups. The class – which is offered Mondays and Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. – runs in intervals. For one minute, participants push themselves as hard as they can. It may sound short, but when you are doing as many pushups as you can for one minute, it will feel like a lifetime. These exercises include strength, calisthenics and weight training. Taught by Maria Burden, this class is fun and is a great way to introduce yourself to the intense fitness courses offered at the Rec Center.

Intermediate

For the dedicated students who want an incredible workout and a team member experience, try the Cardio Kickboxing class at 6:30 a.m., Mondays through Fridays. This class will not only get you in shape, but it will lift your spirits.

The class incorporates elements of kickboxing, martial arts and body conditioning.  It is choreographed to fast-paced, fun music and the steps are easy to catch on to. In addition to the workout, the instructor, Meghan Trowbridge, is always pushing you to be the best you can be. During the vigorous class, her pep talks will keep you in high spirits. At the end of each class, Trowbridge gives a short speech where she offers words of encouragement during a period of meditation.

Despite the early morning time, Trowbridge has a dedicated following. So be sure to get there on time if you want to snag a spot.

Not a morning person? There are several other instructors who teach cardio kickboxing at the gym as well.

People of every active level are recommended to try this class, because no matter whose class you choose it’s sure to be a knockout.

Advanced

A class for the truly active student is Tabata, instructed by Jenn Konjoian every Saturday at noon.  Tabata is new this semester and is sure to leave you with the best pain possible.

While Boot Camp has one minute of exercise with a short rest in between, Tabata has the “Tabata Sequence.” This means you do 20-second bursts of intense exercise with 10-second breaks in between. Each exercise interval lasts for around eight minutes, and the entire class is an hour long.

This is one of the toughest classes offered at the Rec Center. It’s perfect for someone who wants to take on an insane challenge in a fun group setting.

Kayla Marchetti can be reached kmarchet@student.umass.edu.

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