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So You’re Afraid of The Gym? (It’s Ok, So Was I!)

Edited by Sophia Savva

You walk into Goldring, the sound of barbells smashing to the ground, guys grunting way louder than they should be. You stare at all the equipment, with literally no idea where you put your hands, or what that machine is supposed to do.

Yes! You’ve finally spotted the treadmills, and make your way over, to find that the last one has just been taken by the guy who is probably going to spend the next 15 minutes untangling his headphones (although we shouldn’t judge, let’s be real, we’ve all been there). So what do you do? Stare down at your phone and rush for the doors, hoping the cutie by the water fountain doesn’t notice that you’ve literally only been in the gym for all of two minutes.

But of course, it wouldn’t be an embarrassing nightmare of an attempted gym excursion if you didn’t pull the doors instead of pushing them, dropping your water bottle and your phone, while water fountain cutie pretends not to stare. Yikes.

The gym is probably one of the most intimidating places on campus, hands down. Especially if you are new to working out, and don’t know the first thing about reps or weights or how to get the elliptical to actually move in the right direction. It’s easy to get discouraged, and resign yourself to secret pushups from your knees on the floor of your apartment. But there are other options, people! U of T has a variety of awesome fitness classes to try. Here are some of my favorites!

Cardio Kickboxing

This was my very first fitness class at U of T that I tried, and I fell in love with it last year!

What it is: This class involves a variety of kickboxing moves like punches, hooks, upper cuts, and kicks, but combines them into different tracks that are set to awesome music! There are also different movements like jumping and shuffling to get your heart rate up. There is one track that focuses on the arms, and one track that really targets your legs (I’m lookin’ at you, 45 second squat hold). There is also core conditioning at the end, to really focus on strengthening your abs, and a cool down with stretches to relax after the class.

Why you should go: The instructor, Madelin, is also a student at U of T and she is so positive and encouraging! She offers different modifications for beginners, and those who want to push themselves a bit more. This class is perfect for those who may not be as motivated to work out, because the music and the energy in the room makes it feel like you aren’t even working that hard! Plus, who doesn’t want to feel like a bada** as you punch and kick your way through “Take Me to Church”?!


What it is: For those who haven’t tried Zumba before, you should go! This class incorporates a mix of different dance styles, with Latin music and energetic moves, to JT pop songs (depending on the class!)

Why you should go: This class is another class that makes you forget you’re even exercising! Plus, one of the classes I went to, the instructor gave out cool belts to wear that jingled when you shimmied (and yes I did shimmy!)

Fit Mix: Cardio Conditioning

What it is: This class incorporated a mix of aerobic exercises to get your heart rate up. We did things like lunges, squat jumps, and grapevines across the floor! I was definitely sweating after this class, but it was a great workout.

Why you should go: This class was probably the least intimidating. If you are not that confident in pushing yourself to work out in front of others, I would start here. There was only a handful of people, and a lot of them were older women, but they were squatting and lunging better than I was! The instructor was super friendly, and also provided beginner modifications for those who needed an easier version of the move.


Alright my friends! If the gym is not your scene, that is perfectly okay! You don’t need to try and hang with the buff dudes dropping dumbbells in Goldring to reach your fitness potential. There are plenty of great classes for beginners to ease their way into exercising, and they are an awesome way to take a break from class and do something fun (and might I add FREE!) with your friends. Take advantage of these awesome classes while you can, since you are technically paying for them through incidental fees and it feels pretty freeing to just swipe your T-card. So forget your embarrassing gym horror story, and get ready to bust a move in cardio kickboxing or Zumba! If you want to check out the rest of the classes offered on campus, here are the links to the fitness schedules!




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Tali Main

U Toronto

Tali is a second year psychology student at University of Toronto. She enjoys singing, reading cheesy teen romance novels, and cooking/eating delicious food!
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