Fitness with Finesse: Top 5 UF Group Fitness Classes

If you have trouble motivating yourself to go to the gym, or better yet, when you get to the gym and ask yourself “What do I do now?” then this article is for you. Like many college freshmen, I feared the “Freshman 15.” I told myself I would get an early start on exercising to avoid this dreaded rapid weight gain. However, when I did make it to the gym, I found myself bouncing around performing any exercises I could remember from high school P.E. class. When I did attend the gym with a group, we alternated between exercising and talking, but mostly talking. We decided that we needed to try something different if we were serious about getting fit for summer break. Someone suggested a Zumba class, and it was smooth sailing ever since then. UF group fitness classes give you the instruction and support that many college students need. Whether you go as a group or by yourself, you will come out of the class with a great workout under your belt. To sign up for group classes, you must sign into RecSports with your Gatorlink information, and register for your chosen class. What makes these classes amazing is that they are free and offered multiple times a week. Group fitness classes hold you accountable because you can be penalized for signing up for classes and not showing up. Although it may sound harsh, it puts more pressure for you to make classes you signed up for and helps you commit to your fitness goal. I’ve been to a variety of UF group fitness classes, and here is my review of the top five.

5. KickboxingIt’s an exciting and unique way to get your cardio in. Kickboxing class is a great class for overall fitness because it conditions and tones your body as well. This class is offered three times a week both at Student Recreation & Fitness Center and Southwest Recreation Center and runs for one hour. Since class times vary throughout the week at both locations, you are more likely to come across a time and location better suited for your schedule. This class is great for getting out frustrations in a safe and conducive environment. So if you need to get aggression out without physical contact with someone else, give the kickboxing group fitness class a try.

4. CycleOne word to accurately describe this class is intense. Cycling classes are described as cardiorespiratory exercise, so this class will leave you out of breath if you’re out of shape like I was. Cycling is one of the most frequent classes provided at both recreation centers. Cycle offers three variations of the class: there is a cycle class that runs for 45 minutes, one that runs for 60 minutes and one that includes bike resistant training. There are a whopping 24 cycle classes occurring every week at Student Rec with numerous classes taking place at the same time during different days. Enrolling in a cycle class guarantees that you will get your heart pumping and air flowing through your lungs.

3. Vinyasa YogaSometimes, the ultimate goal for a group fitness class isn’t to leave you sweaty and gross. Yoga is about relaxing and connecting your mind and body. The word vinyasa translates to “breath-synchronized movement.” This class is about exploring your body through slow movement and deep breathing. I love this class because it leaves you feeling relaxed and is good for stretching your body. Student Rec offers this class 10 times a week, and Southwest Rec offers it six times a week. My biggest suggestion for taking this class is to take one of the morning sessions or late night sessions. I feel you get the most out of this class when you start your day off relaxed or wrap up your day feeling relaxed.

2. BootcampDo you want to feel like a true warrior and a fitness champion? Test your strength with a bootcamp class. Bootcamp classes are offered at Maguire Field at 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, and there's an additional 6:00 a.m. class on Wednesday. RecSports accurately describes this class as “high intensity training, total body conditioning, core training and speed and agility training in a non-traditional format.” I couldn’t have explained it better myself! The perk of this class is location because it’s outside in a bootcamp-style setting, and the class carries a very different energy. Bootcamp is more competitive because of the nature of the activities that put team against team in a race to the finish. If you want something out of your comfort zone, consider taking this class.

1. ZumbaThe group fitness class that started it all for me. What I love about Zumba classes is that they are just a ton of fun. You get to let loose and dance to fun Latin and reggaeton beats while working up an impressive sweat. Zumba is offered seven times a week at Student Rec and five times a week at Southwest Rec. I highly suggest taking this class with a group of friends because whether or not you have rhythm, you are guaranteed to have a blast!

Remember all these classes are free to UF students and can be registered through UF RecSports

Photo credits: forum.bodybuilding.com