The wellness center is home to traditional workouts as well as fun, innovative exercises.
Think “workout” and these images come to mind: a room full of weights and muscular body-builders; people on exercise machines, dripping with sweat; and skinny aerobic dancers wearing leg warmers, kicking their legs to loud music.
Although these might have been the only options 10 years ago, the latest trends in workouts focus on the mind-body experience to help people of all ability levels. Classes like yoga and Pilates are now the norm instead of the exception. In these classes, participants vary widely in age, fitness level and body type. These classes improve flexibility and strength while helping to relieve stress and promote relaxation – something that all students need. “I like the yoga classes. They really help to relax you and, trust me, as a UM student, we need it,” said Natalia Rickards, a junior majoring in health science.
Guts-n-Butts, Cardiofunk and Super Sculpt are just three of the many enjoyable and exclusive workout classes offered at the University of Miami’s Wellness Center. Students shouldn’t be afraid to try something new because the wide variety of classes caters to their needs.
Nikki Reifschneider is the assistant director of group exercise and community classes at the University of Miami’s Wellness Center. As part of her job, she is in charge of deciding which workout classes UM should offer. Reifschneider said she picks classes by keeping track of the top trends at the moment and determining what is most popular. She refers to the American College of Sports Medicine, which lists the top 10 trends in fitness each year. She also looks back at data from previous semesters. She finds out which classes had the highest number of participants in the past and then determines whether to keep offering them in subsequent semesters. She said she likes to try adding a variety of classes on the schedule to see what members enjoy the most and then works from there to arrange the schedules in upcoming semesters. Instructors even come to Reifschneider with ideas for workout classes.
The most popular classes at UM’s Wellness Center so far have been Zumba, TRX, and studio cycling. The studio cycle room has been popular because it has a projector screen that videos can be watched on, Reifschneider commented. “Since the start of the fall semester, we have added an additional TRX, Zumba, and Super Sculpt class to the weekly group exercise schedule due to the high demand to get into these classes…,” she said. “I would say it’s going fantastic.”
New classes in the mix for this semester include the Cardiofunk class, a power dance flow class and a turbo training class. Reifschneider said dance fitness is very popular right now. “When one of my instructors pitched the power dance flow class to me, I thought it would be an instant hit with the members,” she said. “The same goes for Turbo Training. It’s fast-paced, fun and a huge calorie-burner.”
Everyone knows about yoga and Pilates at the Wellness Center, which has its own Pilates reformer studio. But what kind of classes are Cardiofunk and Guts-n-Butts? Cardiofunk helps participants to “break it down and sweat it out with easy to learn dance moves and your favorite hip hop music,” according to the Wellness Center website. “If you love to dance and have fun, this high energy class will get your heart pumping and keep you coming back,” the website also describes.“What a workout!” said junior Lynsey Ward, who broke a sweat at the Cardiofunk class.
Guts-n-Butts is an hour long workout class devoted to strengthening and toning the lower body. The Wellness Center even offers belly-dancing classes. These classes are examples of ways to target certain parts of the body. “I’m in Miami. This body needs to be on point at all times, and Guts-n-Butts is what will make sure that happens,” junior Amanyea Stines said.
Each semester UM takes fitness up a notch, continuing to keep up with the latest trends by offering new classes at the Wellness Center.However, some students feel as though they have a voice to be heard. “I kind of wish there were self-defense classes here at UM,” sophomore Justin Tong said. “I know there are clubs but I feel like they are way more advanced than I am.”
The wide variety of classes at UM’s Wellness Center really help to keep students fit – emotionally, mentally and physically. But for those students who don’t think a workout class is their cup of tea, there is always the good old reliable gym. Weights and machines, such as the elliptical, treadmill and stair-master, only seems to be improving; in February 2011, UM completely remodeled the gym at the Wellness Center.
With so many benefits to exercising, students are encouraged to enjoy to UM’s Wellness Center. Even the Courtside Eatery offers a snack and food selection that is not only delicious but also healthy. From the pool and the basketball courts to the multipurpose rooms and the gym itself, the Wellness Center’s limits are endless. Free access is included in tuition so why not work out in style? Whatever is hot and trending, the Wellness Center will find a way to bring the workout class to the U. Sounds like it’s time to get fitspired!
words_tiffany k. ford. photo_university of miami.