Athletic Center continues to offer fitness classes for students

“I really like the fitness classes held at the gym,” said Shannon Batt, a junior biology major on the physician assistant track. “I think they’re a good opportunity to maintain good health while doing something fun and taking a break from classes and studying.”

Associate Athletics Director of Recreational Services Kathleen Matta said fitness classes have always been offered to students, but when the new University Fitness Center opened about 18 months ago two room spaces for fitness class programming were made available for the classes. Matta said there is a “spin studio” for RPM (Rotations per Minute) and a “general space” for the other fitness classes.

The Richie Regan Recreation Center offers six fitness classes, including RPM, Zumba, Body Pump, Body Combat, Yoga and Body Flow, with 25 classes total each week.

Matta said these fitness classes are free to students and staff, and are offered on a first come first serve basis. The spin classes can hold 20 people while the general spaces for the other fitness classes have a capacity of 30 people. She said that to set these classes up “we secured a national company to assist with the training of our student staff to ensure we were providing safe and quality programming.”

Seven student instructors on staff are all certified in Les Mills RPM spin class, an indoor cycling class set to music. Zumba offers a mixture of low and high intensity dance moves. Weights are used in Body Pump, pairing high energy music and techniques that burns calories. Body Combat is a martial arts-inspired workout that is non-contact. Yoga combines postures and breathing to achieve mental focus that is designed to bring balance. Similarly, Body Flow yoga is based on doing simple yoga moves to a playlist of motivational music.

Instructor Catarina Santos, junior nursing major, said that Les Mills taught her how to, “learn routine preparation and interchange cardio and then resistance to build an equilibrium between the two.” The goal of these fitness classes is to, “try to engage the whole body” in a workout, she said. She noted the RPM classes are full at the beginning of the semester but near empty during exam time.

Instructor Stephanie Koeller, junior psychology major, goes through her playlist before classes to plan what she is going to teach for RPM and Body Flow on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays. Her playlists consist of a mixture of new and old music, ranging from Britney Spears to Bruce Springsteen. Koeller said she gives her class a say in what music she puts on. She said she, “leaves it up to the class and they write down what songs they want to hear.”

RPM instructor Tanner Englehart, junior physician assistant major, checks to see what songs are trending and looks to incorporate those songs into her routine. Her favorite part about teaching these fitness classes is, “getting to help people and motivate them to reach their fitness goal.”

Students and faculty members take advantage of the morning fitness classes. Santos said that while these classes can be “rough in the winter” to wake up for, there are still a lot of people who come before work and class. She said her favorite part if teaching these fitness classes is she has the confidence to guide people through workouts. Often when “people have rough days they workout,” Santos said, she likes to “help people get through their day.”

Carly Muhlhahn, senior physical therapy major, regularly attends classes Thursday afternoons and nights. She said, she loves the classes “because you can always push yourself in individual workout and there’s the competitive aspect against the person sitting next to you.” Muhlhahn said you can go at your own pace and push yourself but, your instructor will help keep you motivated.  

Batt who regularly attends spin and body pump classes said, “The best parts of these classes are the enthusiastic instructors and the motivational music they pick to keep the classes fun and upbeat. I totally recommend the fitness classes offered at the Rec Center as a way to keep healthy, reduce stress and simply dedicate a fun hour to yourself.”

Samantha Todd can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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